•Upgrade to Windows 7
A large-scale project is underway to upgrade all university-owned computers on the UAB campus to Windows 7 by April 8, 2014. At that time, Microsoft will cease its support for Windows XP, which has been the operating system primarily used by UAB computers in recent years. As a result of Microsoft no longer supporting this operating system, XP computers will no longer receive security updates. This creates a greater chance of XP computers being infected by viruses or compromised by malware.
This leaves one budget cycle to accomplish funding of this project. Upgrading to Windows 7 for any system needing network connectivity should be completed by April 2014.
• Install IE 9 and the most recently released version of JAVA
We are updating our minimum recommendations for versions of Internet Explorer and Java as UAB systems have improved functionality to support newer browsers and the currently secure version of Java. Internet Explorer 9 and Java (latest release) are recommended for installation on Windows 7 systems.
• Windows 8 not currently recommended for use
As XP fades away, Microsoft has rolled out its newest operating system, Windows 8. The transition from XP has prompted some users to ask why IT doesn’t upgrade to Windows 8 instead of Windows 7. The answer is that Windows 8 is currently not recommended for widespread use in the UAB environment due to the following reasons:
- Currently, not all of UAB’s business systems support Internet Explorer 10, the minimum version of IE used by Windows 8.
- Windows 8 introduces management changes that IT is not yet ready to address.
- Windows 8 is best used on hardware that is specifically made for Windows 8, such as touchscreen displays or touchpads. Other than the touchscreen/touchpad functionality, Windows 8 possesses similar functionality to Windows 7 from an end user’s point of view.
- PGP (UAB’s approved laptop encryption tool) is not supported on Windows 8 laptops. A recommended alternative is Microsoft’s Bitlocker product. (See Bitlocker with windows 8 for more information)
Based on the availability of new operating system versions and browser versions, UAB IT has updated its recommendations for both Windows and Mac versions/systems. In addition, with the release of Windows 8, PGP (UAB’s encryption tool for portable/laptop devices) is not currently supported. UAB IT is recommending Microsoft’s BitLocker product for encrypting Windows 8 devices.
For details see:Tweet
Monthly Training Newsletters
UAB IT is now providing information security training materials to inform university faculty, staff and students about computer threats. Each month a newsletter will be released focusing on new and different cyber security threats. Contact the UAB IT Information Security office for more specific training options that can increase the protection of your information systems.
August 2013 - Protecting Your Passwords
September 2013 - Encryption - Protecting Sensitive Information
October 2013 - see links below for National Cyber Security Month publications
November 2013 - Data Protection
December 2013 - Permanently Erasing Data
January 2014 - Wifi Security
Link to Week 1 Article
Link to Week 2 Article
Link to Week 3 Article
Link to Week 4 Article
UAB IT Provides Critical Guidance to Campus on Appropriate Versions of Internet Explorer, Mac OS, and Java to Mitigate Risks of Exploitation; updates Java recommendation to 1.7.0_55
A significant security vulnerability was discovered in the Internet Explorer web browser over the weekend of April 26th and is being shared in mass media. This vulnerability could allow an attacker to compromise a Windows based computer should the end-user visit a website with appropriate content.
On May 1st, Microsoft released a fix to the IE vulnerability. Users should install this fix immediately. UAB IT will begin pushing this update Thursday afternoon May 1st. If IE is open, you will be required to perform a system reboot in order for the fix to take effect. If IE is closed, no reboot should be necessary. Once the fix has been applied to your system (and IE is open) you will have 24 hours to perform a reboot or your system will automatically reboot.
UAB IT continues to recommend that end-users use a two web browser methodology to limit the risks to the campus.
1. Use an up-to-date version of Internet Explorer for conducting UAB business on university supported web sites.
2. Use a second web browser (such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome) with the Java plug-in disabled for any general web surfing and accessing off-campus resources.
• On Windows 7 Install IE 10 and Java 1.7.0_55
UAB IT has updated the minimum recommendations for versions of Internet Explorer and Java as UAB systems have improved functionality to support newer browsers and the currently secure version of Java. Internet Explorer 10 and Java 1.7.0_55 are recommended for installation on Windows 7/8. UAB IT also recommends using a separate browser with JAVA disabled for Internet use. Use IE for on campus with Java enabled and your choice of Firefox or Chrome for Internet browsing with JAVA disabled (for information on disabling Java click here).
• Install OSX 10.9 and Java 1.7.0_55
UAB IT has updated the minimum recommendations for versions of Mac Operating systems and Java as UAB systems have improved functionality that are compatible with the current version of Java. The recommended operating systems for use on Campus are Apple OSX 10.7x and 10.8x. While Apple OSX 10.6x is still supported by Apple, vendors are no longer testing against it for compatibility. Apple operating systems will not run any version lower than Java 1.7.0_51.
UAB IT also recommends using two different browsers — one for surfing the Web and one just for accessing UAB systems. For Internet Web browsing, use one of the following: Firefox Safari, or Chrome, with Java disabled (for information on disabling Java click here). For working with just UAB systems, choose a different browser and enable Java to work in it. If you run into compatibility issues with the local browser and UAB IT systems, use the IT terminal servers to access UAB resources via RDP client (for information on using IT terminal servers on Mac click here).
For more information, contact AskIT (www.uab.edu/askit).
Microsoft Dreamspark Premium is now available to all UAB STEM programs at no cost. The Dreamspark program supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes for faculty & students engaged in a STEM program (science, technology, engineering, math).Tweet
On November 28th, the UAB Campus, Hospital and Pediatrics email directories will be synchronized. This will greatly enhance individual Email address lookup, and sharing of Calendar Free/Busy information.
The directories of the three UAB email systems:
* UAB Campus (addresses ending with @uab.edu)
* Hospital (addresses ending with @uabmc.edu)
* Pediatrics (addresses ending with @peds.uab.edu)
will be exchanging information so that users of any of these systems can more easily email everyone in the UAB community regardless of which system they use. Additionally, users should be able to see free-busy calendar information for everyone in the UAB community in their calendar program.
Supported systems include Microsoft Outlook (Windows, OS X), smartphones using ActiveSync (including iPhone, iPad, and Android devices), Mail and Calendar programs on OS X, and the Microsoft Outlook Web Access web client hosted by each mail system (the UAB version is at https://mail.ad.uab.edu).
Users having a mailbox in only one of the above systems will not need to make any changes. Users having mailboxes in multiple systems will be asked to consolidate into one mailbox or work through an exception process. Consolidation is underway and users needing to consolidate are being contacted. One exception case is those Hospital or Pediatrics employees who are also students wishing to separate their work and student emails.
Those using the UAB Campus mail system will notice that phone numbers will now show standardized 10-digit telephone numbers making it easier to call campus telephone numbers from off-campus and when using supported smart phones.