Wondering if your photos, data and other information are securely stored in the cloud after the leak of celebrity photos over the Labor Day weekend?

UAB IT security professionals say the incident is a good reminder to the rest of us to take precautions with our own data.

Since most of us aren’t celebrities, our photos probably won’t be worth hackers’ time — but personal information can be.

So what can you do to keep your personal cloud accounts safe?

• Enable two-factor authentication on your cloud accounts. That way, if you — or someone else — tries to log into your account from a device that is not registered, you’ll have to log in using a verification code sent to one of your devices. It’s an extra step that helps secure your information.

Microsoft’s OneDrive — a cloud storage application available free for UAB students — uses two-factor identification and allows users to add security information to their account. Learn more here.

• Make sure you have a strong password. Ideally, you should use a passphrase you can remember. For example, choose “goblazers,” but replace some of the letters with numbers or symbols and include capital letters. The example, then, could become g0b!azers — easy to remember, harder to hack.

Change your password often to keep your data secure. That’s why UAB requires employees and students to change their BlazerID passwords frequently, and to make sure they contain the kind of character combinations that make them much less vulnerable to attacks.

• Consider using a password manager or password vault such as LastPass or KeePass. Such tools — which vary in price — can help manage your different logins while keeping them secure.

UAB employees should also be very cautious about cloud storage in regards to University information.

“UAB employees should not use cloud products for UAB business data without approval,” said Scott Fendley, information security operations manager for UAB IT. “UAB IT reviews the contracts and ensures that the cloud products meet our requirements.”

This month’s Tech Talk on Sept. 25 will feature a discussion of cloud computing at UAB. 

Would you like to know more about plans for cloud computing at UAB and the overall direction UAB IT is taking?techtalk
Then join us Thursday, Sept. 25, for the next Tech Talk.  Planned topics include:

·         IT strategy (key components of UAB IT’s Strategic Direction)

·         Risk profile project (update on the project which is taking an inventory of all of the servers on campus)

·         Cloud computing (guidance to campus and upcoming plans)

Tech Talk is open to all in the UAB community involved in information technology. This will be a great opportunity for discussion, not just a presentation.

Tech Talk will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at Cudworth Hall, room 140.

No registration is required.

Forgot your BlazerID password? You don’t have to contact AskIT.

Did you know there is a quick and easy way to reset it through BlazerID Central?

If you have a phone number registered for B-Alert/e-Notify, you can use the automated password reset. Just register a new or existing phone number for “Identity” in the e-Notify signup here. You’ll get a text or voice message with a code to reset your password.

And if your password has expired, you can still log in to BlazerID Central with your old password to reset to a new password.

UAB’s password/passphrase policy, effective Jan. 1, 2014, requires faculty and staff to change their passwords every 90 days, and students to change their passwords every 180 days.

UAB IT has changed its notification schedule for changing your BlazerID password. Users now receive notices 15 days before their passwords expire, as well as seven days, three days, two days and one day prior to expiration.

Remember: E-mailed password change notices from UAB IT will NOT include clickable links, due to ongoing phishing attempts. All updates to your BlazerID password should be managed through BlazerID Central.

You’re shopping for dorm room decorations, signing up for classes and buying books.

But don’t forget to get your computer ready for UAB’s campus, too.

UAB IT has a handy guide to preparing your computer for use on our network, including instructions for installing antivirus applications for both Windows and Mac operating systems, downloading software and accessing the network.

Click here for all the instructions. 

The Campaign for UAB has reached its halfCampUAB Tag 4c-700way mark less than a year after its launch – and fundraisers will soon have a new tool to help reach their ultimate goal, thanks to UAB IT employees.

The Advancement Performance tool will help fundraisers with detailed reports about donors and potential donors, said Marylyn Crane, senior director of advancement information services and analytics for the University’s Advancement Services.

For the past year, UAB IT employees from the Enterprise Applications and Solutions department have been verifying the data in the Advancement Performance tool from vendor Ellucian to make sure the data is accurate for the use in fundraising.

“The main benefit to Advancement Performance is our ability to put data in the hands of our leadership, advancement staff and development officers,” Crane said. “Our goal is for them to be more accurately and actively guided through the decision-making process for our initiatives, key measures and fundraising efforts.”

UAB IT already runs data reports on a regular basis for the Advancement Services team, but the new tool will give fundraisers the opportunity to create their own reports. But creating and verifying the database has been a detailed, painstaking process for the UAB IT team, said Ramsey Scott, assistant director of administrative computing services and leader of the technical team responsible for this project.

In fact, UAB IT employee Ryan Teel created a validation tool – a Web application – that Ellucian will include in its next version of the software, Scott said.

“We have been validating the data for the better part of a year,” Scott said, making sure that the data for Advancement Performance matches what is already in the Banner system.

The new tool will go live in August.

“We want our data to tell a story so we can reach the right people for the right reasons during our current campaign and into the future,” Crane said.

“This project is an example of how UAB IT partners with units across campus to support the mission of the university,” said Phillip Borden, assistant vice president of information technology. “Our employees are proud of the role they play in important strategic initiatives such as The Campaign for UAB.”




A strong password, changed at regular intervals, is one of the best ways to safeguard your information – and everyone else’s.

That’s why UAB requires employees to change their BlazerID passwords every 90 days, and students every 180 days.

Changing passwords often – and making sure they are both strong and secure – will help keep hackers out of your data and out of UAB’s systems.

Beginning Aug. 1, UAB IT will send the first reminder that you need to change your BlazerID password 15 days before the expiration date, a change from the previous 30-day advance notice. Reminders are also e-mailed one week before expiration, as well as sent at three days, two days and one day prior to expiration.

Password expiration notices tell you the exact date your password will expire so you can keep track of when you need to change it.

Remember: E-mailed password change notices from UAB IT will NOT include clickable links, due to ongoing phishing attempts. All updates to your BlazerID password should be managed through BlazerID Central.
Benevolent Fund award winners pose with plaques.UAB IT has been honored with the 2014 Best Overall Campaign Award from the UAB Benevolent Fund, recognizing the department’s achievement in exceeding its financial goal. 

David Yother, who directed the campaign with former UAB IT employee Lauren Ritchie, was on hand at the 2014 Campaign Celebration July 15 to receive a plaque recognizing the department.

“IT was honored to be selected for the Best Overall Campaign Award,” said Yother, director of enterprise technology services for UAB IT. “We could not have done this without the efforts and financial contributions from IT employees. This shows that we can always count on IT employees to get involved and step up when there is a need.”

UAB IT exceeded its goal by 125 percent in 2014, and also increased its percentage of continuous givers.

Identifying a specific goal and communicating it to all employees helped the department exceed its expectations, said Yother, who also thanked Ritchie for her work on the campaign.

Overall, the UAB Benevolent Fund raised more than $1.91 million in pledges this year. Those funds support programs that offer health care screenings, safe harbor for victims of domestic violence, meals for the hungry, medical research and assistance for UAB employees in times of need.

Other award winners included Viva Health, for Campaign Consistency; Callahan Eye Hospital, for Campaign Growth; UAB Human Resources, for Most Innovative Campaign; Critical Care Transport, for UAB Hospital Outstanding Campaign; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, for School of Medicine Outstanding Campaign; and the School of Nursing and School of Engineering for the UAB Dean’s Award.

UAB IT is also planning to recruit a team to help with construction of the UAB Habitat house, set for construction this fall.
UAB IT will introduce a faster, stronger and more secure WiFi network for the campus community on July 31.

The new network will offer more convenience and security for campus users with BlazerIDs and will greatly streamline the WiFi access for guest users.

UABStartHere and UABSecure will replace the current networks named uabwifi, uabwifi-nac and uabvisitor.

Campus users who have had devices connected to UAB’s WiFi networks will need to reconfigure those devices beginning July 31. Uabwifi and uabvisitor will be available only until Aug. 15, and uabwifi-nac will be available until Nov. 15.

For users with a BlazerID and password, UABSecure is the preferred network because it provides encryption for sensitive data. UABStartHere is a completely open network, which means it provides no encryption and users will not need to enter a WEP key as they have in the past.

WiFi users who want to connect to UAB’s WiFi network will begin by choosing the UABStartHere network from their device. Upon opening a web browser, users will be automatically directed to a Web site where they can choose whether to configure their device for the UABSecure network, log on to the UABStartHere network or to register as a guest user.

Guests on campus will no longer be required to get sponsor access to use the campus WiFi network. They can simply log on to UABStartHere using a valid e-mail address to get 24 hours of access to the WiFi network.

Unencrypted sensitive data should NOT be transmitted through the UABStartHere network unless protected by other means, such as a virtual private network (VPN) session.

If your WiFi device can support the UABSecure network, we highly suggest taking the time to walk through configuring your device using QuickConnect. Click here for instructions. 

Warning: Several units at UAB have received harassing calls from telephone scammers, known as “cyber extortionists.” This is a known issue documented by the FBI and AT&T.

If you receive persistent calls from one of these scammers, it will probably be under the pretense of “payday loan collections.” The scammer may know a lot of information about your identity, including your work number, which they actually obtained from a third party. They will attempt to harass you into making a payment to them just to leave you alone. Otherwise, they will continue to call and harass you at work.

UAB IT and HSIS recommend this activity be reported to the following numbers: AskIT at 996-5555 or HSIS Helpdesk at 934-8888, depending on which group supports the affected phone. To help fix the problem, we also recommend directing the calls to a phone number where they can be screened before sending the call to the department or unit. If necessary, the phone number under attack can be blocked from outside callers.

This allows normal internal operations to continue, until the scammer understands they are wasting their time, and they move on.

 

 

 

tech talkUAB IT's “Tech Talk”  series continues in June with Adobe. On June 27th,  Adobe will be on site to discuss the new Creative Cloud enterprise agreement and what all is included.  This will be a great opportunity to ask questions of Adobe and learn all of the features/functions available with UAB's Creative Cloud agreement.  Please plan to attend, and feel free to pass the invitation along to others on campus that you feel may benefit...the session is open to all faculty and staff and no registration is required.  Friday June 27th, 2pm-4pm at the Center for Teaching and Learning (2nd floor of the Education Bldg; CTL entrance across courtyard from Sterne Library).