Equifax Security Breach

On September 7th, Equifax announced a massive data breach that resulted in the loss of personally identifiable information for approximately 143 million customers. As one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the country, Equifax holds personal information for nearly half of all Americans, including: name, address, social security number, and birthdate. The unauthorized access of this information occurred between mid-May 2017 and July 2017.

The SJU Office of Information Technology (OIT) urges anyone who may have been affected by this breach to take steps to protect their online accounts. Steps to take include:

  • Request records from the credit-reporting companies. Check with Experian and TransUnion, as well as Equifax.
  • Change your passwords.
  • Use two-factor authentication wherever possible to prevent hackers from accessing your personal accounts.
  • Check all your online accounts for suspicious activity. This includes email, bank accounts, credit cards and any other sites that contain personal information.
  • For additional information, check the Federal Trade Commission web site: https://identitytheft.gov/

As a note, please continue to be especially wary of links in emails. Hackers may try and use this incident as an opportunity to attempt to get your information through phishing. Equifax will send direct postal mail to consumers that have been affected.  You will not be notified by email or telephone if you are impacted by the breach.

Since the announcement, Equifax has made a site available where you can check to see if you may have been impacted by this data breach.  For full information, please visit https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.

As a reminder, OIT will never ask for your password.  If you are ever in doubt about an email that you’ve received, please contact the Technology Service Center at 610-660-2920 and we can help you determine its validity. If you’ve received an email that you are certain is spam, please forward it to reportspam@sju.edu. This email address is used by our email system administrators to help strengthen our anti-spam servers.

IT News: Windows 10 Release

In August, Microsoft will be releasing its newest Operating System (OS), Windows 10, to Volume License users running Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1.

 

What to Expect:

 

New computers will begin shipping with Windows 10 in August.  However,  SJU will not be distributing new computers with Windows 10 or upgrading SJU-owned computers.  Upon release of Windows 10,  the Office of Information Technology (OIT) will begin extensively testing all SJU related software and applications to ensure their compatibility with the new OS and its new features.

 

Some new features of Windows 10 include:

  • Microsoft Edge – Internet Explorer’s replacement
  • Office 2013 suite – Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will be built-in
  • Windows Hello – A new, more secure user login option that utilizes face, iris, or fingerprint recognition

 

OIT Support of Windows 10:

 

At this time, OIT is unable to provide any resources or support to faculty and staff running Windows 10.  Windows 7 continues to be the supported Windows OS at the university.  Since our desktops and laptops are part of the university SJU domain, you will not be prompted to automatically update your computer. With any major OS update such as this, existing systems, if updated, may experience hardware and software compatibility issues, performance instability and possibly data loss.  That being said, please do not upgrade your SJU-owned computer without authorization from OIT.  If your computer is upgraded to Windows 10 without OIT approval, we will need to revert to Windows 7, which could take several days.

 

We will make campus aware of our deployment plan once it has been fully tested and finalized.
If you have any questions, please contact the TSC.

Heartbleed Bug Update

You may have seen recent news about the Heartbleed bug that can access your passwords and personal information on websites that use OpenSSL.  The Office of Information Technology wanted to make you aware of security that we have in place in order to protect your information.  Upon learning of the vulnerability, our systems were immediately patched and are now protected.

As a good security practice, if you choose to, you can reset your password by going to nest.sju.edu and clicking the link under the login boxes that reads “Forgot/Reset Password”.

It is important to also regularly reset passwords for other sites that you log into such as your bank, Gmail, credit card sites, etc and we encourage you to do so.

To see which sites have and have not been infected by Heartbleed, click here.

If you have any questions, please contact the TSC.

End of support for Windows XP

Microsoft has determined that support for its Windows XP operating system will end on April 8, 2014.  This means that there will no longer be security updates or technical support for computers running Windows XP. This also means that the TSC will not be able to provide support for Windows XP computers in our BYOD program.

There are still a number of computers on campus that are using Windows XP.  If you currently have an SJU owned computer running Windows XP, the Office of Information Technology or your IT Liaison will be reaching out to you to have your operating system updated.

If you are unsure what operating system your computer is running, please go to this http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/which-operating-system.

Full information about the implications of this update can be found on Microsoft’s website.

If you have any questions about this upcoming change, please contact the Technology Service Center.

Street Team: Tablet or iPad – Worth the Expense?

With ads and news about the release of the latest tablet constantly bombarding the consumer market, you may be wondering if a small piece of technology is really all it is hyped up to be.

This past summer, I purchased an iPad 4 so I had a portable system for studying in China. 218415_10151521358298302_363919494_o

While abroad, it replaced my usual computer and was perfect for travel. I hadn’t thought about tablets too much before then though. My brother had gotten one as a gift and raved about it, but I did not really understand the allure until I got one myself. It was a blessing in disguise while abroad, as I could carry it around wherever I went. However, I did not realize just how much it would affect my study experience here back at Saint Joe’s. As the semester progressed, I began to compile a list in my head of good and bad things about having a tablet, which I’d like to share.

Pros

Lightweight, small, and portable

    I never carried around my laptop for classes because it was cumbersome and took up a lot of space in my bag. My iPad on the other hand conveniently fits into any school bag so I bring it to class almost every day.

Apple product compatibility

    I know many people believe this to be just a stupid gimmick to buy Apple products, but it really does come in handy. My iPad automatically syncs to my other Apple products and backs up to my iCloud.

Apps

    There are some really cool apps you can download that make your life ten times easier. Some examples are notetaking apps, comprehensive calendar apps, news apps, and social networking apps. I previously wrote an article on some cool apps which you can check out here (http://sites.sju.edu/oit/index.php/2013/09/25/top-apps-for-college-students/)

Entertainment

    I love watching Netflix on my iPad in bed. It is probably one of my favorite ways to take a study break. The tablet is great because I can hold it any which way and it’s not as heavy or cumbersome to have in bed as a laptop. There are also some really fun gaming apps to pass the time. I generally check out what’s popular in the app store and download hours of fun.

EBooks

    One of the biggest draws for people who purchase tablets is EBooks. I downloaded an app (OverDrive Media Console – Library eBooks and Audiobooks) that gives me access to my local library and its large digital collection of books.

KindleFireB

I love being able to read at night, especially because I do not have a bedside lamp at school. I can freely download and read books for fun or I can also catch up on that last minute bit of reading for tomorrow’s class. Many users claim that they don’t like not being able to feel and physically turn the pages of a book. But for me, the iPad is often lighter than some of the books I read, I don’t fiddle with a physical bookmark, it’s easier to read at night in bed.

e-books1-1024x772

Textbooks

    This is probably the best part about having a tablet and one of the main reasons why I bought mine in the first place. I was required to bring a 500 page textbook to China. When I found out my weight limit for luggage was 45lbs, I looked into alternative ways to bring such a large textbook. I didn’t think I would use my iPad for textbooks other than that; I liked physically highlighting my texts and writing notes in the margins. The iPad allows you to do all this and more. You can highlight and make notations in any books and then search for them later. The ability to scroll through everything you’ve marked is wonderful for papers and studying for tests. You also can search for key terms. I especially like this feature because I tend to get books that are different from my professors. So if they are lecturing in class and start quoting a passage, I can immediately look it up and find it within seconds. I downloaded the Kindle app and got the majority of my textbooks for less than half the price of what they would’ve been at the bookstore. Some of my smaller books were even free! I love the fact that I have access to almost all of my books in one place and I can carry them all to class without having a 50+lb bag. It very convenient to have all my books with me at all times especially if I have a few minutes to read in the library, say if a class got cancelled or I have a meeting.

Cons

Silverlight/QuickTime software compatibility

    One thing I’ve noticed is that my iPad is not compatible with QuickTime or Silverlight, so I can’t watch things online like Hawkvision. You often have to download the apps for things like Hulu and Xfinity, and they don’t always offer the same content as on their website.

Netflix Facebook US Integration Screenshot

Excel/Word

I did not purchase the Office suite for the iPad because it was a few hundred dollars and it got poor reviews. There are similar apps available such as Pages, but they’re also expensive and it is hard to share papers and projects with non-iPad users. I generally end up converting something or sending it to myself to fix later.

Typing

    One of the little things that always seems to get me is typing. I found it hard to type on such a small screen at first and I’ve always liked having something physical to push on a keyboard. I constantly make typos which then autocorrects the word to something entirely different. It has definitely been an adjustment.  One upside to a touch screen keyboard is that you can undock and split it so you can type using your thumbs as you would with your phone.

Wireless

    This is probably the bit that annoys me the most. I did not purchase a data plan with my iPad. So while I can have access to wireless almost everywhere I go, when it gets spotty half my apps don’t work. I went on a road trip and brought my iPad in the car with me. I didn’t realize that almost all games require the wireless to play. Also, if I’m in a spot where there is wireless access, but not a very good signal, apps won’t work. For example, the Google Drive app often won’t allow me to make changes on my documents if the wireless signal isn’t strong enough.

 

Our GA Claire also uses an iPad for her classes- “I use an app called Note taker HD (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/note-taker-hd/id366572045), it has a wrist guard for taking notes which is super helpful because I’m left handed. I like using it to draw on the slides the teachers post.  You definitely have to invest in good stylus for note-taking, I use one from Belkin. The bad ones don’t write as well so they’re much harder to take notes with. But even with a good stylus you have to practice to be able to write good notes. One bad thing about taking notes on an iPad is that some teachers don’t like you to have technology out while their teaching. They just haven’t fully accepted it. Also, not all apps are integrated, so file sharing with group mates is sometimes difficult. You end up having to convert a lot of files. The iPad is a lot less to carry and I like it for textbooks because I can easily search for a word. It has been much more convenient to find all the textual resources especially at end of semester for papers. I don’t really like using it for EBooks as much, but it’s nice that I can read in bed at night without a light.”

IMG_0022-642x481

“If you’re willing to spend the money, it’s amazing”  and I totally agree. Despite the few flaws a tablet might have, it is the best purchase I’ve made in a while.

You may be looking for a gift for the upcoming holiday season, or simply interested for the latest innovation. Either way, tablets are increasing in popularity. If you are interested in starting a search for a new tablet, I would suggest checking out http://reviews.cnet.com/best-tablets/ and other reviews carefully before making your decision.

Street Team: Motorola’s Project Ara

In case you missed the technology news this past week, Motorola teamed up with Dutch designer Dave Hakkens to create a new kind of phone. The following video came out earlier this summer, and it caused quite a commotion among technology lovers and phone manufacturers alike.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDAw7vW7H0c&w=320&h=240]

The concept “Lego” phone was just a figment of imagination for many, a Utopian phone that would never be mass-produced. That changed when Motorola, a Google-owned company, picked up the Phonebloks design for Project Ara.

“We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software – create a vibrant, third-party developer ecosystem,” the firm posted in a blog.

“To give you the power to decide what your phone does, how it looks, where and what it’s made of, how much it costs and how long you’ll keep it.”Through Project Ara, users will be able to customize a phone based on their wants and needs. Unlike phones on the market today, if you break your screen, wear out your battery or just decide you want an upgrade, you can keep your existing phone and update it with a new part.

There has still been a lot of negative feedback about the phone’s practicality and durability. (you can take a look at one of the main reddit thread about Phonebloks here: http://www.reddit.com/r/electronics/comments/1m4m0f/this_is_currently_on_the_front_page_a_good/). Some of the most common complaints have been that the phone will not have all of the features of a regular smartphone because there will be limited space for the blocks. For a regular smartphone, designers cram in all of the pieces and find the best way they fit together. Without this process, consumers would have to solve the jigsaw of compiling their technological needs onto a small space, not an easy feat! Users may have to sacrifice things in order to have the things they want. So while it may be practical to ditch your storage for more battery if you only use the cloud, you could not get more storage and more battery at the same time without sacrificing something else. The end-result may turn out to be a bulky, unstable, and unattractive.

Nevertheless, Motorola is launching a pilot-phone to gain feedback and create a Project Ara community. It will certainly be interesting to see just how the Google company executes this project. Experts predict they will be launching a developers kit sometime this winter, so be sure to keep an eye out for this environmentally conscious phone in the future!

OS X Mavericks Upgrade Policy

*This message is intended for employees and faculty members who have a Mac issued to them by Saint Joseph’s University.  If you have a computer running Windows, this email will not apply to you.*

 

On Tuesday, Apple released the new version of their operating system, OS X Mavericks.  What’s different about this release is that they’ve now offered Mavericks as a free upgrade within the App Store on all Macs running their previous OS, Mountain Lion.  As in the past, users are reminded that they should not perform an upgrade on their Mac such as this.  Operating system upgrades have many unforeseen issues, which result in hardware and software incompatibilities, application and data loss, and significant disruption to the configurations and customizations implemented by the Office of Information Technology.  An upgraded Mac may have to be wiped and redelivered with a supported version of the Mac OS X when incompatibilities arise.

 

If you have already performed the upgrade, you should contact your I.T. Liaison, or our Technology Service Center, so they can determine the next steps that should be taken.  Attached below is a picture of what the upgrade option will look like within your App Store updates.  If you are presented with this as an available update, please ignore it.  Any other updates that are available can be installed yourself or by contacting the Technology Service Center.  IT will continue to test new operating systems and work with the different departmental liaisons so that we can properly support the community and provide the best computing environment possible.

image001

 

If you have any questions, please contact the TSC!

 

 

 

Street Team: Initial Feedback on iOS7

iPhone Home Screen (iOS 6 v iOS7)

After hearing many passionate reviews on the new iOS7 on blogs and twitter, the TSC decided to find out how our SJU students feel about the new upgrade.  Katie went on a mission to get reviews around campus.

 

Here’s what SJU students had to say:

“I like that it’s new and refreshing. The new notification center is very informative and convenient and the new ringtones and sounds are more fun. The new camera is more high tech and the upgraded navigation system is better for walking. I think certain people don’t like the extreme change of colors and style.”

Jess Russo, Food Marketing ‘15

 

“I don’t like the new text messages. I think the iOS7 looks ‘juvenile.’ I feel like the software makes the phone look older and not as cutting edge as the software before.”

Kylie Smeraglio, Education ‘14

 

“I think it’s weird, it’s trying to copy the Samsung Galaxy and doesn’t feel very ‘Apple’ and all around not very manly.”

Ryan Masserano, Sports Marketing ‘15

 

“I’m iffy about it. I don’t like setup but I do like the navigation system. It also seems to make my phone slower.”

Lauren Brands, Political Science ‘15

 

“I like it. The design is fresh and new. I love the colors and the new background but it’s slow and takes up more battery.”

Hannah Tomkovicz, Food Marketing ‘16

 

“The update is way more efficient but it was weird at first. I think people are afraid cause it’s new.”

Andrew Kolpack, Finance-Management double major ‘15

 

“It’s ok… I’m just used to the other one. It’s very bright and I don’t like chat bubbles in the new iMessage.”

Tori Evans, Early Childhood Development and Special Ed ‘16

 

Many students with the update were not as passionate as what has been circulating the internet, but the consensus was that it was definitely a change they would have to get used to but seemed to be alright so far.

As of those who did update their phones, some cited they were told by websites to wait about two months, other didn’t have enough room on their phone or just hadn’t gotten around to it yet; however not many were refusing to eventually upgrade like some tweeters are.

 

What are your initial thoughts?

Adobe Emergency Flash Player Upgrade

In order to address a vulnerability, Adobe has released an emergency upgrade to Flash. To install the upgrade, go to http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/.

More information on this topic can be found at http://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/emergency-adobe-flash-player-patched-fix-pair-zero-days-02081