October is Cyber Security Awareness Month and Information Services is sponsoring several activities and events to help everyone in the DePauw community understand cyber security issues and how to protect themselves.
|Oct. 5 – Oct. 31|
|Oct. 7 – Oct. 24|
|Oct. 11 – Oct. 29|
|Oct. 25 – Oct. 29
Visit the Cyber Security Awareness Website for more details and information about how you can prevent cyber crime and data loss.
Contributed by Emily Riggs ’11, ITAP Communication Consultant
October is National Cyber Security Awareness month. In past years, DePauw University chose to spend the last week in October to educate students and faculty about cyber security. This year, the Student Technology Support team at DePauw decided to start the fun a little earlier and offered many opportunities and activities to raise awareness of the issues throughout the month. Cyber Security Awareness Month is a great opportunity to educate students, faculty and staff on many topics related to cyber security, including virus scanning, protection of digital data, prevention of stolen identities through the internet, and education about simple computer maintenance. The increase in awareness and education of these issues is not only of great benefit to individuals; it also helps create a safer technological environment for everyone on campus.
Contributed by Courtney Hime, ITAP Communicatin Consultant
In the weeks leading up to the end of the semester, midterms, papers, projects and deadlines can all stand in the way of a well-deserved rest. In the process of sifting through notes and research material, you are likely using your computer – and often for great lengths of time. If you find yourself glued to your laptop, you may be increasing your chances of suffering from information overload, which can cause stress, confusion and mental exhaustion.
Fortunately, there are some quick ways to prevent information overload and simplify your life.
First, learn to plan ahead and prioritize. To truly break away from your computer, a personal agenda or planner can help keep your life in order. If you do find that you prefer to keep everything digitally organized, online planners can also be very helpful. If you’re not already using your GroupWise Calendar to keep yourself organized, I suggest picking it up. Not only is it helpful for planning, but most faculty and staff use it to keep track of their days – making finding a time to meet as simple as opening up their calendar.
Second, do your best to eliminate distractions. The easiest way to stay focused on the task at hand is to disconnect from the Internet. If, however, you require the Internet for your work, all is not lost. For Firefox users, if you keep distracting tabs in your internet browser, delete them to avoid the temptation to surf the net.
Another easy way to free your mind and your computer of clutter is to organize your files. Back up any files you need to save but do not need to use, onto an external hard drive or jump disk. Do your best to minimize the number of files you view on a daily basis by storing them in folders organized by year, course or project. When naming files, use meaningful names or abbreviations that can easily be recognized later to avoid sifting through documents.
Purging your computer and e-mail inbox of unnecessary files is another simple way to destress. Delete and clean out any unnecessary files you may be saving on your computer, and empty your recycle bin frequently. If you find your inbox overflowing, sort through your e-mails and discard what you can. If you’re keeping attachments in your inbox, save them onto your computer. Organize your e-mail account much like your computer by creating folders and filing messages to keep track of your email by topic.
While I can’t guarantee the next few weeks will be devoid of stress, I can assure you that keeping your computer free of clutter will keep you more organized and less stressed than you would be otherwise.
edited by Courtney Hime, ITAP Communication Consultant
and Angie Smock, LIS Communication Specialist/Assistant Coordinator of ITAP
With everyone returning to campus, the hustle and bustle of DePauw is once again at full swing. Everyone is on the go and most likely glued to their computers. This means there are more chances they could be adding unnecessary physical stress to an already hectic life. Here are some suggestions that can help you lessen the strain on all areas of the body.
- Eyes. Position your monitor or laptop screen to avoid glare or reflections from overhead lighting, outside sources of light or even reflections off your own clothing. Consider turning off some overhead lights. Keep your display screen clean and set the contrast and brightness to levels that allow you to see it clearly.
- Arms. Keep your forearms, wrists and hands in a relaxed, neutral position. Keep your elbows close to your body as you type. Try an adjustable chair to help with height of the work surface. Though it’s not always possible, using an external mouse and keyboard will allow your arms to sit comfortably.
- Neck. Do your best to avoid straining your neck. Angle the screen so that it may be viewed without having to bend or rotate the neck. Maintain a comfortable viewing distance from the screen. Ideally, try to be 20 to 30 inches away from the screen. If you are using a desktop computer or external monitor with your laptop, adjust your chair or the monitor so the screen is at or slightly below eye level.
- Back. Use a chair that provides good lower back support. Use a pillow, rolled-up towel or other soft object against the back of your chair to assist in the support of the lower back. Not only will sitting up straight keep your posture in check, but it can also help keep you awake.
- Legs. As tempting as it is to curl up in a chair and work, it’s much healthier to keep your thighs parallel to the floor. Make this easier, by putting your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest. It’s also important to get up and and move around periodically. A short walk around or stretch can help keep you awake and comfortable.
There are also other ways to reduce the amount of strain put on your body during a typical work week. If carrying your laptop across campus, try to minimize the weight. Do not carry extra peripheral devices; think about how you intend to use the laptop before you leave and then only carry the necessary items. And, if you take your laptop around often, consider investing in a backpack rather than a large purse or briefcase, to put an equal amount of weight on both shoulders. Being aware of your physical comfort and safety will help keep you healthier, happier and more productive.
contributed by Gary Barcus, Director of Development Services
Last fall Gary Barcus, Director of Development Services, sent an email to his department to help his staff deal with a problem many of us have run into at some point or another — a computer becomes infected by a virus or spyware. His explanation of the problem and his instructions for dealing with the problem were so helpful, we asked Gary for permission to publish it in our newsletter. It follows below:
One of our computers may be infected with a malicious program. Heavier than normal network traffic from our area may point to an infected machine. To safeguard against this infection, we all need to check our Symantec virus scanning and run a spyware detection program on our individual work stations. The IT Help Desk website:
has links to these services. Each of us should make sure we have Symantec installed and, just as important, configured to receive automatic updates and to run regularly. Please go to the link shown if you do not have Symantec installed. It can be downloaded from a link on that site. You should call the help desk if you have any problems with the installation.
Once it is installed, you should configure Symantec to run automatic virus definition updates and perform a daily scan of your system. Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Symantec Client Security, then Symantec Antivirus to start the program. OR, click on the Shield on the notification area of the Task Bar in Windows. This is the area to the right of the Task Bar that contains the time and date. The attached word document shows how to configure Symantec after you’ve opened it. Also available on the IT Help Desk site are Spyware detection programs. These find and disable spyware that is loaded on your computer as you browse the internet. This spyware reports your activity to other sites that you visit. In this way, it attempts to exert some level of control over your browser. Wikipedia defines spyware as follows: Spyware is computer software that is installed surreptitiously on a personal computer to intercept or take partial control over the user’s interaction with the computer, without the user’s informed consent.
While the term spyware suggests software that secretly monitors the user’s behavior, the functions of spyware extend well beyond simple monitoring. Spyware programs can collect various types of personal information, but can also interfere with user control of the computer in other ways, such as installing additional software, redirecting Web browser activity, accessing websites blindly that will cause more harmful viruses, or diverting advertising revenue to a third party. Spyware can even change computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and loss of Internet or other programs. In an attempt to increase the understanding of spyware, a more formal classification of its included software types is captured under the term privacy-invasive software:
Please be aware that sites like WeatherBug, Coupon Sites, Grokster, and Kazaa often offer free download programs that come with hidden spyware embedded. If you visit a site and download a “free” utility, you may have infected your machine. Run Ad-Aware or Spybot-Search & Destroy on a regular basis to clean this from your system. Better yet, don’t download random software from sites you visit! You should call the help desk if you have serious problems or if you think your machine might be infected.
Contributed by Courtney Hime, ITAP Communications Consultant
and Michael Gough, Instructional Technologist and Coordinator of START
Last week, Oct 29 – Nov. 2, was Cybersecurity Awareness Week. Although the week has passed, the importance of the message remains. Healthy computing is an important aspect of keeping your laptop in working order during your four years at DePauw. There are five simple ways to make sure that your computer stays safe at all levels.
- Prevent Theft. A simple glance at the blotter can tell you that laptop theft is a problem on DePauw’s campus. When on the move, keep your belongings in sight and never leave your laptop unattended. If you can, lock up your computer with a cable lock when you are not using it and do not leave it in your car. If you must keep it in your car, lock it in the trunk or keep it hidden. Laptop theft can occur anywhere on campus, and you chances of recovering your computer are slim. You can increase the chance of recovery by writing down your computers model and serial number and keep it in a safe place.
- Protect your identity by keeping your personal information safe. With social networking sites as a prominent part of our lives, the possibility of someone acquiring personal information is high. Be careful of what you post on Facebook, MySpace or social networking sites. Reduce the risk of utilizing social networking sites by not posting a physical address, being careful of what pictures you post, and restricting your information to just your friends. A good way to find out if you’re comfortable with the information the world can see about you is to Google your name.
- Change your password regularly. It may seem like a hassle, but by changing your password often you can prevent people from guessing your password and stealing or using valuable information. Make your passwords unobvious and hard to guess. Be sure to use both letters and numbers. Avoid sharing your password with your friends. Though you trust them, there should always only be one person who has access to your information.
- Back up your data frequently to a network drive, CD or DVD. After having my computer crash last year, backing up information has become a habit. To make this task less time consuming, use a backup strategy that fits your lifestyle. If you write a lot of papers or generate a lot of data every day, consider backing up daily using backup software such as Norton Ghost. If you do not generate a lot of new data every day, consider backing up your files manually on a weekly or monthly schedule.
- Install antivirus software and keep it up to date. DePauw offers Symantec Antivirus for all faculty, staff and students and it can be downloaded from the helpdesk page at http://www.depauw.edu/it/helpdesk/. Be sure you update it frequently and scan often. Don’t wait for a problem to occur before you install or update your antivirus software, as it could be too late. Also, refrain from downloading illegal movies, music or software. Not only is this breaking copyright laws, but these files may contain viruses.
If you take each of these steps, you will find that not only will your computer run more efficiently, but you will have peace of mind knowing that your data and your identity is more secure. For more tips on how you can prevent data loss, theft, or identity theft go to http://www.depauw.edu/it/healthycomputing/.
Contributed by David Diedriech, Technical Training Coordinator
Backing up your data is the best way to protect yourself against viruses, accidental deletions and overwrites, and other scary computer troubles. The minutes you spend in backing up your files once a day or once a week can save you from hours of frustrating labor reconstructing lost databases, expense records, papers, and research notes.
Backing up is Easy to Do!
Don’t avoid backing up your data regularly because of the mistaken idea that backups are difficult. Some surprising truths about backups include:
• It’s as easy as saving or copying files to a folder. If you don’t know how to save a file to a folder, ask!
• It’s fast. Backups do not take hours to do since you only copy the unique data you’ve created.
• You don’t need special software to do it. All you need is an external drive or storage device (see the list below.)
What Files to Back Up
You should back up any data that you do not wish to lose, or is critical to your job or class. You do not need to back up program files, as they can be re-installed from original CD’s. A few examples of types of files to back up:
• Reports, term papers, letters, or other important documents
• Excel spreadsheets
• Databases, such as Access or FileMaker
• PowerPoint presentation files
• Music files
To make backing up your data easier, you may want to organize your files into one or more discreet folders.
Backup Drives or Devices
The best way to keep your personal data safe is to keep a backup copy of your files in another location. If the document is really important, you may want more than one backup!
Important note: if you are in a DePauw Computer Lab, remember, once you restart a lab system, EVERYTHING IS ERASED! Always save your working copy somewhere else.
Below is a list of some locations for you to back up your critical data:
• Network drives – automatically backed up by IS staff
• I drive: for a specific class (group projects, websites, etc.
• P drive: your own personal storage area (50MB provided)
• Optical (CD-RW, DVD-R) drives
• Large capacity (680MB/CD, 4GB/DVD!)
• Almost all systems have them
• Other “new” methods: USB(flash drives), FireWire drives
• Small, portable, fast!
For more information on backing up your data, visit Microsoft’s website at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/update/backup.mspx
Contributed by Courtney Hime
At DePauw, your username is the same across systems, but there are multiple passwords for the various systems:
1. eServices (www.depauw.edu/e)
2. Blackboard (blackboard.depauw.edu)
3. Groupwise & Tigermail (email and calendaring), Novell (network folders P, I, etc.), and Moodle (an alternative Course Management System to Blackboard). Each of the three systems (or groups of systems) has a password unique to that system. For example, if you change the password in either eServices or Blackboard, your password will not change in any of the other systems. However, the systems in #3 share a synchronized password (e.g., if you change your Groupwise/Tigermail password, it automatically changes for Novell and Moodle; or, when you change your Moodle password, it will automatically changes the password for TigerMail and Novell. It will not change your password in Blackboard or eServices).
Maintaining Passwords at DePauw
It is critical to protect your personal information. To ensure the security of your information, regular maintenance is necessary on your password-protected accounts. Reset each of the passwords mentioned above at least once each semester and maintain separate passwords for each type of account.
Tips for creating more secure passwords:
1. Make sure your password is at least six characters long.
2. Use a combination of special characters, letters and numbers.
3. Be original; don’t use real words that can be found in the dictionary.
4. Avoid using public information, such as your birth date, address or phone number.
5. Don’t relate the password to your interests in a way that makes it easily guessed.
6. Once you’ve changed your password, keep it to yourself! Don’t write it down and never share it with your friends.