In some cases when using a VPN over a network connection with a Windows XP computer, the VPN Session will disconnect after a period of inactivity (typically 10 to 20 minutes). This problem is caused by the Windows Service Pack 2 Firewall settings.

To fix the problem, the Windows Firewall needs to have the Cisco VPN Client program specified as an Exception:

Click on the START tab, and select:

Control Panel -> Windows Firewall

The following screen will be displayed. Click On (recommended) if not already on.

Windows Firewall

Click the Exceptions Tab which will bring up the following screen:

Exceptions Tab

Click Add Programs which will bring up the following screen:

Add a Program

Click Browse and set the directory to look in to C:\Program Files\Cisco Systems\VPN Client.

Browse

Highlight the cvpnd program (single click), and then click Open .

cvpnd

Click OK as necessary.

Exceptions Tab OK

At this stage the cvpnd program should have an entry as above. Click on OK to finish.

These settings for the Windows Firewall will stop the VPN session being terminated after 10 to 20 minutes of inactivity.

You need to update the forwarding email account for your UAB email address.

  • go to www.uab.edu/blazerid
  • click on the Change E-mail Preferences in the left-hand navigation
  • enter your BlazerID & password, if not already logged in
  • under the section, Real host-based mailbox, follow the link that says "Click here to forward to a different mailbox."
  • enter your forwarding email account in the box and click Submit




There are many wall jacks with data (network) ports installed throughout UAB buildings. Usually, the only ports that are active are those in use; other ports are de-activated. How can you tell?

What if suspect your network port has developed a problem of some sort?

SOLUTION:

To check whether the port has been activated and is working:

    Send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. containing the
    • Building
    • Room Number
    • Jack Number (it is written on the face plate)
    • Port position number (If there are two DATA ports, the one on the left is D1 and the one on the right is D2. If there are four DATA ports, D1 is the upper left, D2 is upper right, D3 is lower left, D4 is lower right).

AskIT will check to determine if the port is activated and whether it appears to be working correctly. If the port shows as active but does not work correctly, either AskIT (or you) can dispatch a technician to fix it by calling 4-7777.

Every unit at UAB with devices connected to the UAB campus network should have a "network contact" person, even if there is no department server or local area network. At least one person within your department should be designated to be responsible for communicating your requests to DC/NS, and for assisting network users with basic configuration, software installation, computer training, and problem solving.


 

 

Designate an official "network contact" person for your department.

  • Each department or unit at UAB should have an officially designated "network contact" person.

     

  • The dean, chairman or director designates who is to serve as "network contact" for your unit. The dean, chairman or director should send either a written memo or an e-mail message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. indicating who is to be considered the official contact person.

     

  • Data Communications / Network Services (DC/NS) recommends that the contact person be a trained computer professional.

     

  • If the "network contact" person is not a UAB employee, the department should additionally designate a contact person who is a UAB employee.

     

  • The "network contact" person should have access to a UAB e-mail account (hostname ends in uab.edu). All requests to DC/NS must be submitted via e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), and for security reasons these must originate from a server registered through DC/NS.

     

Notify DC/NS when there is a new "network contact" person, or other changes in responsibilities.

  • When there is a change in personnel or responsibilities within your department, DC/NS should be notified. The previous "network contact" may send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. introducing the new person. If no replacement arrives before the old person departs, the last "network contact" should hand this function to their supervisor or other person in the department, who will then hand the job to the replacement person when they arrive. IP records, and any other records, should be turned in to the department for safekeeping.

     

  • If the "network contact" left UAB without notifying DC/NS, the dean, director or department head should contact DC/NS with the name of the replacement contact person.

 

Some typical duties of a department "network contact" include:

Because your BlazerID password is used to open the door to many services and features on the UAB network, it is vital that it be strong enough to resist guessing by casual means. Someone breaking into your UAB records can be the first step toward identity theft which is being well-publicized now. To be sure you have a strong password, make sure it follows these rules:

  • Must be at least eight (8), no more than sixteen (16) characters in length
  • Must be a mix of letters, numbers, and optionally punctuation characters [except equal sign (=) comma (,) or quotation marks (') or (") or spaces/blanks]
  • Should not include any part of your own name, or the names of any family members, pets, or friends
  • Should not include your BlazerID, or any personal identification number, phone number, or your birth date
  • Should not be a single word, in any common language
The BlazerID registration and password screens try to ensure these rules are followed to the best extent possible. Note that strong passwords do not have to be difficult to remember; combining a couple of familiar words and either replacing one letter with a number, or separating the words with a number or acceptable punctuation, is a common way of creating a password that is both easy to recall by you and hard to guess by others.

"Strange network problems" can be caused by DUPLICATE IP ADDRESSES. If the workstation can send traffic off its segment to another subnet in our 138.26 class B address range but can not get to a location off campus, it is very possible that the workstation IP address has been incorrectly set to use the campus gateway (138.26.1.1) instead of its own address. Problems within your building network that affect only one or two machines can be caused by duplicate addresses, also.

SOLUTION:

One way to check for duplicate IP addresses is to look in the arp cache of the machine having problems. In Win 95/98 or NT, at the DOS prompt type the command "arp -a". For entry of 138.26.1.1 you should see a MAC address starting like 00-00-a2....

You can report the MAC address you find to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and we will help you track down the "offending" machine.

A domain name such as the one described above is called a third-level domain name. There is a $500 one-time fee for creating new third-level domains. There is no additional charge for registering names within the domain once it is set up. Third-level domain names should be requested by the department network contact.

Please send requests for third-level domain names to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include an FAS account number to bill. register the name.

Faculty, staff and students who are involved in professional, academic, or student-social organizations are sometimes interested in hosting a web site for their group and want to use a domain name that does not end in uab.edu.

SOLUTION:

UAB cannot provide DNS (Domain Name) service for domains other than uab.edu. However, what we can do is register an on-campus server with a uab.edu name, and then you can arrange for an outside Internet Service Provider (ISP) to provide the name www.alabama_engineers.org and point it to your UAB server. The end result is that someone who types the URL www.alabama_engineers.org into their web browser will be taken to the organization's home page, which may happen to be sitting on a computer housed at UAB. Most ISP's charge a small fee for providing you with this service.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further details about this type of arrangement.

The first step in keeping your password secure is to create a good one. After you've created a strong password, continue with the suggestions below to keep it safe:

  • Never share your password with anyone.

    This includes family, friends, significant others, computer support people, and bosses. If you need someone to read your email, you can have that person do so without using your password by using the delegates feature in MS Outlook.

  • Never save your password when prompted by your web browser or any other programs.

    You can turn this option off in Internet Explorer (Tools -> Internet Options -> Content -> AutoComplete) & Mozilla (Tools -> Options -> Security).

  • Change your password regularly.

    To change your BlazerID's password, click here.

  • Make your password easy to remember, but hard to guess.

    Use a lyric to a favorite song, for example:

    "How much is that doggie in the window":

    hmitditw

    For more security, add a capital letter & convert an 'i' to a '1':

    hM1tditw

  • Never send your password via email - even if the request looks official.

    Any request to send your password via email is most likely a phishing attempt.

Computer viruses implant instructions in other programs or storage devices and can attack, scramble, or erase computer data. The danger of computer viruses lies in their ability to replicate themselves and spread from system to system. Few computing systems are immune to infection.

High-risk Behaviors

The following activities are among the most common ways of getting computer viruses. Minimizing the frequency of these activities will reduce your risk of getting a computer virus:

  • Freely sharing computer program and system disks, or downloading files and software through file-sharing applications such as BitTorrent, eDonkey, and KaZaA
  • Clicking links in instant messages (IM) that have no context or have only general text (even from someone you think that you know)
  • Downloading executable software from public access bulletin boards or websites
  • Using your personal disk space with public computers that are used by more than one person
  • Opening email attachments from people you don't know or without first scanning them for viruses
  • Opening any email attachment that ends in .exe, .vbs, or .lnk
  • Continually running your machine without the appropriate patches

Signs of a Virus Infection

If your computer begins to act strangely, or if it stops being able to do things it has always done in the past, it may be infected with a virus.

Symptoms such as longer-than-normal program load times, unpredictable program behavior, inexplicable changes in file sizes, inability to boot, strange graphics appearing on your screen, or unusual sound may indicate that a virus is on your system.

However, it is important to distinguish between virus symptoms and those that come from corrupted system files, which can look very similar. Rule out more standard causes before suspecting a virus.

How to Avoid Computer Viruses

The following are some recommendations for safe computing:

  • The most important thing you can do to keep your computer safe is to install virus detection software and keep the virus patterns up to date. Antivirus programs perform two general functions: scanning for and removing viruses in files on disks, and monitoring the operation of your computer for virus-like activity (either known actions of specific viruses or general suspicious activity). Most antivirus packages contain routines that can perform each kind of task.
  • Keep your operating system current with the latest patches and updates. The writers or viruses and worms often exploit bugs and security holes in operating systems and other computer software. Software manufacturers frequently release patches for such holes.
  • Backup your files. Viruses are one more very good reason to back up your files. UAB employees can use UABFILE to store their data. UABFILE is kept in a secure location and backed up regularly.
  • NOTE: If you back up a file that is already infected with a virus, you can re-infect your system by restoring files from backup copies. Check your backup files with virus scanning software before using them.
  • Obtain public-domain software from reputable sources. Check newly downloaded software thoroughly using reputable virus detection software for any signs of infection before running the install programs (.exe, etc). This can also help protect you from Trojan horse programs.
  • Quarantine infected systems. If you discover that a system is infected with a virus, immediately isolate it from other systems and report the incident. In other words, disconnect the system from any network and do not allow any of the machine's files to be moved to another system. Once the system has been disinfected you can copy or move the files.
  • If you use a desktop version of MS Outlook, minimize use of the preview & reading pane options.