Thursday, 10 September 2015 15:32

Encryption guidance

Data that are supported by federal funding must be protected by encryption that meets the federal encryption standard: FIPS 140-2.

If users are unsure about the sharing of UAB data, they can contact UAB IT's Enterprise Information Security unit for help determining the right protection to use.

7-Zip is open source software used to compress or zip files secured with encryption. When you send or transfer files that contain Personal Identifiable Information (PII) or other confidential and sensitive data the files must be encrypted to ensure they are protected from unauthorized disclosure.

7-Zip, like WinZip, creates a container called an archive that holds the files to be protected. That archive can be encrypted and protected with a password. 7-Zip is free software that can create Zip files that can be opened with WinZip or other similar programs.

To obtain a copy of 7-Zip please see and select the Download link.

Once the software is installed please follow these steps to encrypt a file or folder.

Step 1: Right click on the file / folder to be encrypted.

Step 2: Select “7-Zip” then “Add to archive…”

Step 3: In the Add to Archive window change the name of the archive you wish to create.

Step 4: Change the Archive format to “Zip."

Step 5: Change the Encryption Method to “AES-256."

There is a trade-off between using AES-256 and ZipCrypto. AES-256 is proven much more secure than ZipCrypto, but if you select AES-256 the recipient of the zip file may have to install 7-zip or another zip program to read the file contents. Selecting ZipCrypto may allow users to open the zip file in Windows without a zip program, but it does not provide adequate protection against attackers with modern cracking tools.

It is strongly recommended to use AES-256 to protect sensitive and confidential data.

Step 6: Enter a Password. Use a strong password with at least 8 characters and containing upper and lower letters and a minimum of one number.

Step 7: Select “OK” to create the encrypted archive file. The new archive file will be located in the same folder as the original.

Best security practices recommend that you do not email the password with the Zip file as it could be intercepted in transit. It is better to call the recipient of the Zip file and convey the password over the phone.

The UAB Enterprise Information Security Department (EISD) is sponsoring a National CyberSecurity Awareness Month Video Contest for currently enrolled undergraduate students.

The top three winning submissions will be announced via email and signage

There is no entry fee. The deadline for submission is noon, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015.

ELIGIBILITY: Prizes in this contest will be awarded to the best video submitted by an individual or group of currently enrolled undergraduate students. Participating students must be at least 19 years of age by September 5, 2015.

TO ENTER: During the contest period, sign up for a free YouTube account and follow the online instructions for registration.  The video’s format and size must follow YouTube’s video upload guidelines.

YouTube is not a sponsor of this contest.  Lastly the Contest Entry form must be read, completely filled out and submitted before the submission deadline.  Uploaded entries without a submitted entry form will be disqualified.  Groups cannot have more than four total members.

Your submission must:

  • Creatively demonstrate your perceived understanding of one of the following topic areas
    • Keep a Clean Machine
    • Protect Your Personal Information
    • Connect with Care
    • Be Web Wise
    • Be a Good Online Citizen
  • Be 1 minute or less in duration without credits
  • Must be an original and unique recording created by the submitters entered on the submitter form
  • Must be recorded during the submission period (September 5 – October 9).
  • Must comply with all of these submission guidelines and rules as stated in this document

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Submissions cannot misrepresent, defame, or have disparaging remarks about the University of Alabama at Birmingham its administration, staff, employees, faculty, students, services or products.  The EISD reserves the right to and will monitor or screen submissions prior to posting them.  By providing a submission, the submitter grants EISD an exclusive, perpetual, transferable license to copy, publish, broadcast, display, distribute, use, edit, translate, alter, combine with other material, reuse and adapt any or all portions of the submissions in any way and for any purpose whatsoever, at any time now or in the future.  Submissions that are not in accordance with the guidelines as stated herein or are not received by the contest submission deadline will be disqualified.  Submissions cannot (1) be sexually explicit or suggestive, violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group, profane or pornographic, contain nudity or any materially dangerous activity; (2) promote alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing), any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous, or any particular political agenda or message; (3) promote illegal behavior; (4) promote violence; (5) contain trademarks, logos or trade dress owned by others or advertise or promote any brand or product of any kind (other than the UAB trademarks, logos, trade dress, brands or products); (6) contain any personal identification, such as license plate numbers, personal names, email addresses or street addresses without permission; (7) cannot be in violation of any of the local and national laws in the country of origin.

By submitting a submission you warrant and represent that it: (a) is your or your teams original work, (b) has not been previously published, (c) has not received previous awards, (d) does not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity; (e) that you/your team have obtained permission from a person who is used in the submission whose name, likeness or voice is used in the submission.

CONTEST JUDGING: During the contest judging period, submissions will be judged on the following criteria (1) 60 percent – delivery of topic; (2) 40 percent – originality & creativity.  The top three finalists will be determined by the highest cumulative scores awarded by the judges.  Tied submissions will be broken by the highest score awarded in the first topic criteria.  If the tie continues, then it will be broken by the highest score awarded in the second criteria.

PRIZE DETAILS: The first place prize of $250 will be awarded to the individual entry that receives the most votes.  Additional prizes may be awarded to the second and third place entries.

Thursday, 30 July 2015 15:18

Digital signage

SignageScreens copy
UAB IT offers an inclusive digital signage solution to campus departments and schools.

Digital signage offers dynamic, vibrant messaging with easily adaptable, branded content. With proper hardware, signs can even be interactive.

  • Multiple layouts to choose from
  • Automatic emergency notification integration (coming soon)
  • Branded content with department name
  • Media flexibility: Videos, slideshows, live TV (with proper hardware), flash content, HTML 5, RSS feeds, weather, news and Web pages
  • Touch functionality (with proper hardware)
  • Easily managed and maintained media via a simple web interface
  • Role assignment for multiple layers of approval

  • A one-time fee includes the TV, PC, mounting, installation, initial configuration, network and power installation. Cost will vary depending on the type and amount of equipment.
  • A small monthly fee per sign will be assessed to cover the cost of server maintenance, player licensing and local PC support.
  • We will assist with setting up new features as they are requested. Any custom requests may be charged an hourly rate.

  • Submit a request to AskIT.
  • Determine the location for your signs (high-traffic areas, indoors and outdoors).
  • Choose the personnel in your department who will manage content.
  • UAB IT will handle the rest with your approval of the cost: purchasing equipment, network, scheduling installation, training your staff on how to manage content.
Thursday, 16 July 2015 12:53

Cyber Security Initiative

Protecting UAB's digital assets is one of our core responsibilities. As part of an initiative to protect UAB's assets and inventory servers and workstations, UAB IT is making Microsoft SCCM available at no cost to all areas of campus. 

Having all of the asset information in and managed by a single system is critical to maintaining a secure computing environment.

Thursday, 28 May 2015 12:35

ChemOffice Professional

ChemOffice Professional is a scientifically intelligent, integrated suite of personal productivity tools that enables scientists and researchers to capture, store, retrieve and share data and information on compounds, reactions, materials and their properties. ChemOffice Professional helps chemists and biologists to efficiently keep track of their work, visualize and gain a deeper understanding of their results and correlate biological activity with chemical structures. ChemOffice Professional is available to UAB students, faculty and staff through a site license arranged by the College of Arts & Sciences. 


Account Verification Enter valid institution email address.

    • Only emails with valid domain(s) have access to site subscription

Account Verification Click "Continue" on account verification screen.

PerkinElmer Informatics User Account

    • Sign up for a new PerkinElmer Informatics User Account or login to an existing account.
    • If you have an existing CS User Account, email confirmations will be sent to the email@[institution domain] and not the address of the existing account
    • Account registration is required to access online databases

Download Software

    • Download the software and manual after registration is complete
    • Access to included databases is automatic after registration is complete. To manage database subscriptions, login to your CS User Account and click "Manage Database Subscriptions
    • An email will be sent with instructions to access software and/or database

Activate your software

    • When you start installing your PerkinElmer Informatics software, you will be asked to Activate. If you wish to activate at a later time, you can choose to "Activate Later." Detailed Activation Instructions

PerkinElmer Informatics User Account

For technical questions and support, click here.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015 09:27

reThink Project newsletters

UAB IT publishes a monthly newsletter to update campus users and IT professionals about the reThink Project, an organization-wide project in which UAB IT is rethinking how we serve our customers and how we approach our work.

July 2015 reThink Update

May 2015 reThink Update

April 2015 reThink Update

March 2015 reThink Update

January 2015 reThink Update

December 2014 reThink Update
Friday, 20 February 2015 10:40

Microsoft Outlook mobile app

The Microsoft Outlook mobile app will be blocked from accessing UAB mailboxes as of noon Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, because of security concerns. Individual users of the app will be notified.
UAB IT’s Enterprise Information Security team has determined that the Microsoft Outlook mobile app violates UAB’s Password/Passphrase Standard because it caches BlazerID passwords in a cloud service — posing a serious security risk.
UAB IT will be blocking the Microsoft Outlook mobile app from accessing UAB mailboxes, so you won’t be able to receive email through the app. The Outlook mobile app is essentially a rebranded app from a company called Acompli, which Microsoft purchased recently. Many universities and other entities are also taking the step to block the Outlook mobile app.
Native mail applications on iOS and Android are still safe for use.
  • Discontinue using the Outlook Mobile App and uninstall it from your device.
  • Change your BlazerID Password
  • Configure the standard mobile app for use with Exchange (employees) or Office 365 (students). 
{slide=What does "caching in the cloud" mean?}The Outlook mobile app captures each user’s BlazerID and password and stores them in a cloud service. UAB has no contract with — nor a security assessment from —the service, so UAB IT has no way of guaranteeing the safety of those BlazerIDs and passwords.
An official copy of this standard can be found in the UAB Policies and Procedures Library and on the UAB IT Information Security website in the IT Related Policies and Guidelines pageUAB’s password/passphrase standard states that applications should not cache BlazerID passwords/passphrases without an approved exception.
If you need help setting up a new mail app on your phone or mobile device, please contact or phone 205-996-5555.
Friday, 19 December 2014 09:12


Mathematica is a software package used for communicating scientific ideas in a variety of ways, whether this is visualization of a concept in an intro-level course, or creating a simulation of a new idea related to research. Mathematica is available for free to UAB faculty, staff and students, thanks to funding from the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering.

Campus machines

Follow the directions below to download software from Wolfram and request the appropriate activation key. If you do not have administrator access to your machine, please contact your IT support for assistance.
    1. Create an account (New users only):
      1. Go to and click "Create Account"
      2. Fill out form using a email, and click "Create Wolfram ID"
      3. Check your email and click the link to validate your Wolfram ID
    2. Request the download and key:
      1. Fill out this form to request an Activation Key
      2. Click the "Product Summary page" link to access your license
      3. Click "Get Downloads" and select "Download" next to your platform
      4. Run the installer on your machine, and enter Activation Key at prompt

Computer labs

  • Please contact your College IT representatives for specific installation information.
  • UAB College of Arts & Sciences, contact IT at: 205-975-4500,,

Faculty and staff personally-owned machines

Fill out this form to request a home-use license from Wolfram.

Student personally-owned machines

Follow the directions below to download from the Wolfram User Portal.
    1. Create an account (New users only):
      1. Go to and click "Create Account"
      2. Fill out form using a email, and click "Create Wolfram ID"
      3. Check your email and click the link to validate your Wolfram ID
    2. Request the download and key:
      1. Fill out this form to request an Activation Key
      2. Click the "Product Summary page" link to access your license
      3. Click "Get Downloads" and select "Download" next to your platform
      4. Run the installer on your machine, and enter Activation Key at prompt
Are you interested in putting Mathematica elsewhere? Please let IT or Troy Schaudt at Wolfram Research know.

The first two tutorials are excellent for new users, and can be assigned to students as homework to learn Mathematica outside of class time. Follow along in Mathematica as you watch this multi-part screencast that teaches you the basics—how to create your first notebook, calculations, visualizations, interactive examples, and more. Provides examples to help you get started with new functionality in Mathematica 10, including machine learning, computational geometry, geographic computation, and device connectivity. Access step-by-step instructions ranging from how to create animations to basic syntax information. Search Wolfram's large collection of materials for example calculations or tutorials in your field of interest.

Mathematica offers an interactive classroom experience that helps students explore and grasp concepts, plus gives faculty the tools they need to easily create supporting course materials, assignments, and presentations.

Resources for Educators

Learn how to make your classroom dynamic with interactive models, explore computation and visualization capabilities in Mathematica that make it useful for teaching practically any subject at any level, and get best-practice suggestions for course integration. Learn how to create a slideshow for class that shows a mixture of graphics, calculations, and nicely formatted text, with live calculations or animations. Download pre-built, open-code examples from a daily-growing collection of interactive visualizations, spanning a remarkable range of topics. Access on-demand and live courses on Mathematica, SystemModeler, and other Wolfram technologies.

Rather than requiring different toolkits for different jobs, Mathematica integrates the world's largest collection of algorithms, high-performance computing capabilities, and a powerful visualization engine in one coherent system, making it ideal for academic research in just about any discipline.

Resources for researchers

Explore Mathematica's high-level and multi-paradigm programming language, support for parallel computing and GPU architectures, built-in functionality for specialized application areas, and multiple publishing and deployment options for sharing your work. Learn how to create programs that take advantage of multicore machines or available clusters. Learn what areas of Mathematica are useful for specific fields.

In general, Mathematica is a high-level complete system, while MatLab is a low-level core with specialist toolboxes. Most engineering colleges at research universities maintain both products, including UAB. Because MatLab has separate toolboxes, each toolbox can only assume the functionality of the basic, core system; Mathematica is an all-in-one software which is interconnected nicely. For example, in Mathematica, purely numeric commands can perform symbolic pre-processing for richer and more accurate results, which is not possible in MatLab because of the design. This overall concept applies to the vast majority of Mathematica’s commands when compared to MatLab. Engineers and other groups on campus value the following functionality, which is unique to Mathematica:
  • Very sophisticated symbolic algorithms for closed-form solutions to problems
  • Much easier to create mouse-driven interfaces to visualize variations in equations or simulations,
  • The highest quality and most accurate graphics engine available for symbolic and numeric graphics,
  • Support for both machine precision and arbitrary precision,
  • Automatic switching between algorithms for best results,
  • Solves any order ODE (rather than only first-order in MatLab),
  • Integration for any n-dimensions (rather than only 3 in MatLab),
  • Wolfram Language included to program in procedural, functional, object-oriented, or rule-based style makes language easier to learn (rather than procedural only in MatLab),
  • Mathematica’s  high-level language requires less code to develop algorithms or ideas than MatLab
  • Text and equation typesetting document interface with slideshow mode (not available in MatLab),
  • Load-on-demand data sets to use in addition to importing a wide variety of types of data
  • IDE based on Eclipse, which researchers more commonly know and work with (rather than MatLab’s home-grown IDE).
  • Import of MatLab data sets supported for high-quality rendering of MatLab results in Mathematica

To learn more about Matlab and access it, click here.

Windows installation instructions
Mac OS X installation instructions
Linux installation instructions

For assistance with using the Mathematica software:

  • College of Arts and Sciences users can contact the CAS IT help desk by phone at 205-975-4500, by e-mail at or online at
  • School of Engineering users can contact Tommy Foley at 205-934-8477 or by e-mail at
  • All other schools/departments should contact Tony Schaudt, Wolfram Research Inc., at 800-965-3726, ext. 5588, or by e-mail at Find support for Wolfram here

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 09:33

Terminal server for Macs

To use Internet Explorer on a Mac, you will need to have Microsoft Remote Desktop application installed.

Instructions for installing Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0.25189 (Downloaded via Mac App Store)
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 13:31

IT Risk Bulletins

Each month, the chief information security officers for UA, UAB, UAB Medicine and UAHuntsville publish a monthly electronic newsletter to help users avoid IT errors.

Summer 2015 | Issue No. 8

March 2015 | Issue No. 6

February 2015 | Issue No. 5

January 2015 | Issue No. 4

December 2014 | Issue No. 3

November 2014 | Issue No. 2

October 2014 | Issue No. 1