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Computer Help Desk Email Computer HelpDesk
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Faculty / Staff Issue
Published by Computer and
Information Systems
E-Mail the Computer HelpDesk
Webpage: http://www.spu.edu/help/
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Contents
   Computer Lifecycle Replacement Program: Annual Update
   Windows XP Service Pack 2
   Installing Software on Your Office Computer
   Wireless Networking at SPU
   Spam Filtering and Hoax Updates
   Procedures for Notification and Off-Hours Support
   Did You Know?...

CONTENTS

Computer Lifecycle Replacement Program: Annual Update
Over the summer, the CIS Micro team upgraded faculty, staff, and classroom desktop computers that were older than three years – approximately 250 of them! A similar project to upgrade laptops is also nearly complete. If you have any questions about the new technology, please contact your Micro team support representative.


Windows XP Service Pack 2
You may have heard about the new enhancements to Microsoft's Windows XP operating system: “Service Pack 2." SP2 provides a number of important security improvements that no Internet-connected computer should be without. For personal (home) computers, we encourage you to download this Microsoft-recommended upgrade; you may also pick up a SP2 CD from CIS.

Please be advised that installing SP2 on your home computer does carry some risk, particularly on computers that originally had Windows ྞ, or another older (non-XP Professional) operating system installed. When you upgrade to SP2, remember to follow Microsoft's recommendations in detail – including the steps to back up all your important data to disk. Some computers have had to be rebuilt following fatal errors in the upgrade process. This being said, the security benefits of SP2 make this a highly recommended upgrade regardless of what it takes to get there.

Service Pack 2 on your office machine is a different story. Until CIS has fully tested how SP2 will impact the ability to centrally manage university-owned devices, we ask that you not attempt to upgrade your office computer. In fact, the ability to download SP2 to your desktop computer is disabled while we complete testing.

Over the coming weeks, CIS will commence deployment of SP2 to faculty, staff and classroom computers. Leaving your computer on at night will ensure that you receive this and other important updates. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the service pack or the upgrade process, please contact your Micro team support representative.


Installing Software on Your Office Computer
Have you noticed your computer is slower than it used to be? There's a good chance you've downloaded software that has in turn loaded “spyware" or other “malware" on your computer. This not only negatively impacts the performance of your computer, but it can also degrade the functioning of the campus network. If you suspect your computer is running such software, please have your Micro team representative scan it. To prevent getting infections and avoid software conflicts, you are asked to always check with your Micro team representative before installing any software on your university-owned machine (whether it be from a CD or from the Internet). Screensavers and toolbars appear to be harmless but are the most common vectors for spreading spyware.


Wireless Networking at SPU
SPU's wireless network currently includes a limited number of “hotspots" (geographic areas where wireless signals are available) in some of the campus' major commons areas. These include Otto Miller Hall, the SUB, the science building, Weter Hall and the University Library. Over the coming year, wireless technologies will expand to cover many of the major academic buildings on campus. We will also be working on a pricing/support strategy to provide wireless – by request – in individual departments and conference rooms. As CIS works to deploy enterprise-level wireless networking at the department level, we shall seek your input on locations and usage requirements to afford reliable and secure wireless access. More details will be provided in a future tech update.

Wireless access points throughout campus are currently configured to support 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g Ethernet cards. If you have yet to purchased wireless hardware, we recommend either A or G cards. Better yet, a combo card (A/B/G) will give you the greatest connection flexibility, though at a higher initial hardware cost. We do not recommend 802.11b-only cards, as this standard provides markedly slower throughput than it's A or G counterparts. Our plan is to provide wireless connectivity for A, B and G standards through the 2004-5 academic year, but to eliminate (or greatly limit) B radios by 2005-6.

SPU wireless is an extension of the university's wired network. It is authorized for use only by persons affiliated with the university. A proprietary encryption client (called the Perfigo wireless client) is required for establishing a secure PPTP or IPSec connection. To access the SPU wireless network you will need to log in with your university network credentials (your email username) through the secure Perfigo encryption client. The client works well for connecting to any wireless network, although Perfigo encrypted security is only available through SPU. We have not found the Perfigo client to conflict with personal wireless access points that you may have at home.

If you have a wireless card, gaining access to the campus network is relatively straightforward: go to a campus hotspot, connect to the SSID “SPU-Wireless," and launch a web browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox are preferred.) You will be redirected to the wireless login page. Log in using your email username and credentials, and you'll be redirected to the Perfigo client download page. Download and install the client, and configure its access settings according to the detailed instructions provided on the redirected page. Once the Perfigo wireless client is installed, connecting to the network is simple: launch the Perfigo client, connect to the SPU-Wireless SSID, login in with your credentials, and bingo – you have an encrypted session.

For more information about wireless networking at SPU, please see our Help page at http://www.spu.edu/CISHelpDesk/wireless .


Spam Filtering and Hoax Updates
The “fight" continues. Persons who are gainfully employed in finding ways to sneak past anti-spam devices are constantly innovating, shifting, and reaching new depths in their despicable antics. CIS initially deployed a spam filtering device a year ago this fall. We continue to seek new technologies, and to refine our existing methods. Please be assured that while stopping spam is a moving target, we are diligently working to reliably deploy tools to remove annoying, often offensive, emails before they reach your Inbox.

Watch for deceptive and fraudulent email solicitations and warnings. Many spammers and malicious users attempt to collect personal information (name, SSN, credit card information, phone numbers, etc...) by making some alarming claim that something bad is going to happen to your account if you don't provide personal information. Such messages have been circulating the Internet in increasing frequency: ignore them like the plague.

Be secure, be safe, be legal - computer/network use and security is everyone's responsibility.

DON'T share usernames and passwords.
Be CAREFUL what you install and run on your computer.
Make sure your system is configured to automatically download and install critical patches and virus updates.
NEVER provide personal, confidential information via email unless you are POSITIVE you are interacting with a real person on the other end.
Don't share or download copyrighted music, movies, or software.
Use common sense!


Procedures for Notification and Off-Hours Support
There are a number of communication channels we use to send out notification of planned disruptions, known troubles, and promising solutions. First and foremost is the Outages link on the CIS Help Pages, http://www.spu.edu/CIShelpdesk/outages . You may also report any outages or problems to the Help Desk at help@spu.edu .

During off-hours, please report service problems to Campus Security at 206-281-2922.


Did You Know?...
SPU publishes campus directory information for all faculty, staff and students via the SPU White Pages? Some of this information is available to viewers over the Internet. For information on the SPU White Pages, and details on how you can customize what is shown about you, please check out: http://www.spu.edu/CISHelpDesk/banner/whitepages.asp .

SPU has an Acceptable Use Policy that governs all forms of university computer and network usage? The Acceptable Use Policy is available for download as an Adobe Acrobat file at: http://www.spu.edu/CISHelpDesk/computerpolicies/index.asp .

Faculty, staff and students are each assigned 25 Mb of network storage space called “NetStore." See http://www.spu.edu/CISHelpDesk/netstore/index.asp for details.

Current faculty, staff and students may also publish personal web pages on an SPU server. For more information about “WebSpace", please see http://www.spu.edu/CISHelpDesk/webtools/access.asp .

Faculty and staff are eligible to purchase some of the latest and greatest Microsoft and McAfee (anti-virus) software through our campus license agreement's “Work-at-Home" provisions. See http://www.spu.edu/CISHelpDesk/software/index.asp for details.


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