UAB's tech future is bright in 2020, with plans for TechConnect to become an official Apple store, the new MyUAB portal to launch for employees and faculty, and the official debut of AskBlaze.

  • UAB IT has been working with Apple to allow TechConnect, UAB’s on-campus technology store, to become an official vendor for Apple products and repairs. Look for further announcements later this year.
  • University Relations has partnered with UAB IT to launch a new employee portal, with single sign-on for most UAB systems, personalized information about your vacation and pay and helpful links. Look for Phase 1 in the next few weeks.
  • After a successful pilot late last year, the AskBlaze chatbot is available for students in the UAB app. More information will be incorporated as more students use the chatbot for 24/7 answers to their questions.
  • UAB IT’s TechTools program is launching to all Desktop customers, with the possibility for further expansion later in the year. The program allows campus customers to get a new computer in a day.
  • UAB IT continues to work on the IT Strategic Plan for the next three years, collaborating with campus partners to develop a plan based on digital moments — moments in your academic or work journey at UAB where technology can help boost success.

Scammers are after you, and they use “phish” to try to trick you. Don’t get hooked!

Phishing101 DS

A phish (pronounced “fish”) is a malicious email trying to steal your information. UAB IT has security protocols in place to protect us all of us, but you are an additional access point in which scammers will try to trick you into giving them access.

If you fall for one of these attacks, by clicking on a link and/or submitting your information, the scammer can not only potentially gain access to UAB’s network but also gain access to your personal information. They can attempt to take your paycheck, steal your identity, steal your latest research, infect your device with malware, etc. 

Here are some tips to help you spot a fake and avoid major security damage:

  1. Don’t trust the sender’s display name

Check it: Hover or rollover the email address and make sure that the email address matches the senders name (ie. Email looks to be from Ray Watts, upon hoover you see: mparry@other-ca.edu)

  1. Don’t trust or click links

Check it: Hover links before clicking and make sure the true URL matches the site showed on the text.

  1. Urgent or attention-grabbing subject lines or requests.
  2. Impersonal or generic greetings
  3. Bad spelling
  4. Money-related messages
  5. Unidentified attachments
  6. When in doubt, report it: phishing@uab.edu

Rules to post by

It’s a new year and a great time to shape (or reshape) habits, including your online presence. Everything you post online becomes part of your overall brand and communicates what you represent to current and potential employers, professors, friends and even romantic interests, etc.

Keep the following in mind before you post online, and you’ll be on your way to building a digital brand that truly represents you!

Personal information

You wouldn’t share your Social Security number online but what about other identifying information? Is your full birthdate listed on your profile? Phone number? Address? Hometown, etc.? Be mindful about what you share and consider what you might be revealing in your posts.

For example, posting “I’m SO excited to hit the slopes next weekend” will automatically communicate that you won’t be at your home in Birmingham the next weekend. This could make you a target for someone to rob your home. Not only could sharing these personal details signal to future employers that you might be a security risk, it also puts you personally in a vulnerable state.

Pictures and videos

Imagine an image or video you want to post ends up in a presentation in front of your entire future company, a family gathering, reporter’s search results, etc. What would the content say about you? Are you comfortable with this idea and image following you?

Background content

Look at the background of images and videos and notice any distractions or inappropriate items that don’t match what you are wanting to communicate. Edit the photo or pick another one that’s a better fit.

Questionable or even illegal or immoral? Be smart.

What activities are you documenting with this photo or video you want to post? Even if it might seem innocent or funny in the moment, ask yourself “will it still be in another context or time?” Across the country and world, people have lost credibility, damaged their reputation or even been fired for images and content they post. Don’t risk it; be safe.

Remember the golden rule

If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, you really shouldn’t say it behind a screen. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Even private messages can be shared and disclosed, so choose your words wisely and say only what you are comfortable with anyone, and everyone seeing.  

Be positive

The tone of your posts can infer a lot about you. Are you always happy, positive and uplifting or complaining, critical and cynical online? What will the tone of your online brand convey about you now and in the future?

Be authentic

Post things that represent you. “Like” and share things you are proud of and want to be associated with. Keep in mind that your profile, including pages or people you like, can be seen by others. Double check what information you have out there; be sure that it accurately represents you and set your security settings to a level you are comfortable with.

If in doubt, toss it out

If you ever aren’t comfortable with something, don’t post it. Delete your draft or alter it to better reflect what you intend to communicate. If you come across something from your past that you don’t like, delete it. While the information may live on forever online, it will be harder to find.

Kick off the new semester by prepping for your next step with Adobe.

On Oct. 1, UAB launched free Adobe Creative Cloud suite of software for all UAB students. Staff and faculty received Adobe DC and may be eligible for Creative Cloud as well.

How can Adobe help you? Employers today are looking for candidates with digital literacy and the ability to communicate their ideas — from research to patient care — in multiple ways. Adobe helps bring your ideas to life. Leveraging this software will put you in a better position to tackle your projects and “wow” your professors and future employers.

Want to try it out with a useful project? Why not make your resume shine with Adobe InDesign?

Adobe offers Education Exchange with loads of projects and tutorials on how to use their projects. Get started today with this tech tutorial that will teach you how to quickly create a high-impact resume from a sample file and make it pop with color themes and professional-looking assets.

Microsoft Teams is a great tool for collaborating with colleagues — and starting this month, you can request access for individuals outside of UAB. Teams is a chat-based solution that is integrated with Office365 and provides live and historical chat, online meetings and file sharing.

You can request access for individuals outside UAB in the IT Service Catalog. After a guest is provisioned, you can interact with them on Teams and invite them to join your teams. Teams also integrates with other Office 365 services such as Planner and OneNote, as well as third-party applications such as Asana. If you'd like to know more, see information on requesting guest access in Teams.

Desktop Services employee

A service that streamlines computer purchasing so that new systems are delivered in a day will be expanded to more customers this year.

UAB IT’s TechTools program, launched last year as a pilot, will expand to include all Desktop Services customers beginning in January 2020.

UAB IT maintains a stock of Dell computers and accessories to streamline the process of purchasing a new computer bundled with keyboard, mouse, monitor and other accessories.

“TechTools allows customers to place a single request for a standard computer bundle, which our team can deliver within a working day once payment is approved,” said Jamie Witter, director of IT Client Services.

Currently, customers must request a quote from UAB IT Desktop Services, then order and receive the equipment, then create another request to have the equipment prepared and installed — a process which can take upwards of three weeks.

TechTools streamlines the process: Customers make one request, choosing from a set of stock computer models, with the option to bundle accessories as needed. Once payment is approved, Desktop Services can install the new computer, which is already configured for UAB needs.

The pilot has been successful, with 55 new computer systems installed in 24 hours or less.

“With TechTools’ quick delivery of a computer system, our new employees can hit the ground running, and current employees see fewer interruptions in their work,” said John Markle, director of facilities for the UAB School of Nursing. “We appreciate how the program bundles the accessories needed so our requests are streamlined.”

As part of the program, UAB IT negotiated with Dell for reduced pricing for standard models.

The ONE Card system will be offline for maintenance Dec. 30-31, rendering certain functions unavailable during those days.

You can still use your ONE Card for building and parking deck access on those days, but new ONE Cards will not be available, and you will not be able to use your ONE Card for BlazerBucks or DragonCash at participating merchants on or off campus during those two days.

UAB is planning to implement changes on Dec. 14 that will make it possible to launch Oracle forms in most web browsers, rather than just Internet Explorer.

Java Web Start will allow UAB employees to launch Oracle forms in browsers including Chrome, Edge and Firefox, in addition to Internet Explorer.

When the changes are available, you will be able to follow these instructions to use other browsers.

UAB’s two-factor authentication partner, Duo Security, implemented a new feature called Instant Restore to seamlessly transfer Duo account information to new iOS devices. As long as you have your iCloud Keychain enabled, there is no additional work required to get Duo up and running on your new iPhone or iPad.

Duo Instant Restore for iOS will allow users receiving new devices to get their Duo accounts back up and running seamlessly, this holiday season and beyond.

Duo Instant Restore leverages the iCloud Keychain, which encrypts your sensitive Duo account information at rest using industry best practices. When you sign in with your Apple ID and restore your iPhone from an iCloud backup, the Duo Mobile app seamlessly ports your account information, allowing you to receive Duo Push notifications and generate Duo Mobile passcodes.

Instant Restore is currently only available for iOS devices. Our partner, Duo Security, is working to implement Instant Restore for Android at a later date.

To ensure that you will be able to instantly restore your Duo Mobile account on your new phone, check these three things:

  1. Update iOS. In the Settings app on your device, go to General > Software Update, then download and install any required updates.
  2. Update Duo Mobile. In the App Store app on your device, tap the profile icon at the top of the screen, then click Purchased. Search for “Duo Mobile” and install any available updates.
  3. Turn on iCloud Keychain and Backup. In the Settings app on your device, go to Passwords & Accounts > iCloud > iCloud, then ensure Keychain and Backup are both set to On.

Please report any issues with Duo Instant Restore to AskIT at 205-996-5555 or via the Tech Help Portal.

SmartDevice DS

Smart/Internet of Things (IoT) devices are tremendously convenient. They also collect hefty amounts of personal data, which could potentially be aggregated with data coming from other smart devices, painting a fairly robust and accurate profile of an individual. Using Smart/IoT devices smartly and safely is key.

Devices geared toward consumers will continue to push convenience over privacy, and consumers will continue to call for greater connectivity and convenience. That means more connected devices and ongoing evolution for more information, interaction, integration, and automation. It's no longer a question of whether your home devices should be connected. Instead, we need to proactively assess the risks of such connectivity. When those risks are greater than our threshold risk tolerance, we need to take steps to minimize those risks.

Take the following steps to protect yourself when you start using a new device:

  • When you bring home a new consumer device, check to see if it's transmitting. Ask whether you need that device to be connected. What are the advantages of having your fridge broadcast the whereabouts of your cheese? Is the potential to activate remote maintenance with the device provider important to you? Do you want to interact with that device remotely? Then by all means, keep that connection. If you don't need the maintenance options or to monitor or interact with the device remotely, turn off the device's connectivity.
  • Periodically scan your networks to make sure you know and manage what's online. If you want devices to be connected, be proactive. Find out how they connect; how devices are patched; what the default security settings are; and what data are collected and how/when/where the data are transmitted. Protect your home wireless network(s) with strong password management, active maintenance practices, and vigilance.
  • Use the same cybersecurity hygiene on your smart devices that you use on your computer. While it may be revolutionary that your car is now essentially a computer on wheels, it's still just a computer. You don't have to become a cybersecurity expert, but you may want to find a few trusted sources of security advice for consumers.

The UAB Conflict of Interest form within the UAB Electronic Forms system at uab.edu/uabforms will be redesigned as of Friday, Nov. 29, to provide enhanced features.

The new form is part of a project to move a number of UAB forms into a more user-friendly interface. The Faculty Data Form and International Travel Registration form have already migrated to the new forms interface.

Though questions and required fields remain largely the same on the Conflict of Interest form, submitters will notice a new look and easier-to-follow instructions. Automated emails stating that the status of the COI form is “complete” will still contain the recommended links for helpful information (e.g., international travel advisories, travel assistance and insurance).

Automated workflows also remain the same, and reviewers will be able to click on the link in the email notification to go straight to the submitted form. Conflict of interest forms submitted after Nov. 29 will appear in a newly designed dashboard with enhanced features, including graphical workflow display, streamlined approval page and search-and-sort within the display grids.

Please note: Any forms submitted prior to Nov. 29 will need to be reviewed and acted upon before Dec. 20 in the legacy dashboard, or else be re-entered using the new form. The legacy dashboard can be accessed through a button on the left-hand side of the new dashboard.

If you experience problems with the form or dashboard, please enter at ticket at uab.edu/techhelp.

The UAB Faculty Data Form within the UAB Electronic Forms system at uab.edu/uabforms has been redesigned as of Friday, Nov. 22, to provide enhanced features and a more user-friendly interface.

While the fields, requirements and automated approval workflows remain largely the same, users will notice a new look and feel, easier navigation, and a more user-friendly form. Reviewers will be able to click on a link in the email notification to go directly to the submitted form.

Automated workflows also remain the same, and reviewers will be able to click on the link in the email notification to go straight to the submitted form. Faculty Data Forms submitted after Nov. 22 will appear in a newly designed dashboard with enhanced features, including graphical workflow display, streamlined approval page and search-and-sort within the display grids.

Please note: Any forms submitted prior to Nov. 23 will need to be reviewed and acted upon before Dec. 15 in the legacy dashboard, or else be re-entered using the new form. The legacy dashboard can be accessed through a button on the left-hand side of the new dashboard (see image below).

faculty data screenshot
View of the new faculty data forms dashboard

Questions about the Faculty Data Form may be directed to Faculty Affairs at facultyaffairs@uab.edu or 205-934-0513.

If you experience problems with the form or dashboard, please enter at ticket at uab.edu/techhelp.

The UAB-Related International Travel Registration form within the UAB Electronic Forms system at uab.edu/uabforms has been redesigned as of Friday, Nov. 15, to provide enhanced features and a more user-friendly interface.

Though questions and required fields remain largely the same, submitters will notice a new look and easier-to-follow instructions. Automated emails stating that the status of the ITR is “complete” will still contain the recommended links for helpful information (e.g., international travel advisories, travel assistance and insurance).

Automated workflows also remain the same, and reviewers will be able to click on the link in the email notification to go straight to the submitted form. Travel registrations submitted after Nov. 15 will appear in a newly designed dashboard with enhanced features, including graphical workflow display, streamlined approval page and search-and-sort within the display grids.

Please note: Any forms submitted prior to Nov. 15 will need to be reviewed and acted upon before Dec. 20 in the legacy dashboard, or else be re-entered using the new form. The legacy dashboard can be accessed through a button on the left-hand side of the new dashboard (see image below).

ElectronicForms

Questions about employee travel may be directed to the Office of Sponsored International Programs at whiteside@uab.edu or 205-975-2438. Questions about student travel may be directed to the Office of Education Abroad at educationaborad@uab.edu or 205-975-6611.

If you experience problems with the form or dashboard, please enter at ticket at uab.edu/techhelp.

UAB IT is offering new resources to help customers better navigate the technology-related contract review process.

UAB IT is responsible for reviewing any University contract that includes an IT or technology-related component prior to contract execution. A new contracts web site helps walk customers through the process and resources, and UAB IT will also be hosting virtual meetings to help answer questions about approvals for IT-related contracts.

UAB IT will host virtual Zoom meetings every Wednesday from 8:30 to 9 a.m., beginning Dec. 4 and lasting through March 2020.

Simply call 1-646-558-8656, with conference ID 616-023-862, to take part in the meetings.

UAB IT Research Computing supports Alabama’s fastest supercomputer, which is named Cheaha in honor of Mount Cheaha, the highest peak in the state of Alabama.

The summit of the mountain offers clear vistas of the surrounding landscape. While many trails surrounding the mountain are quite difficult, it is still a highly accessible mountain, with road access close to the peak, making this natural resource available to many who would otherwise be intimidated by traditional backpacking trails.

Similarly, UAB IT Research Computing collaborates with researchers and continually improves the interface to the Cheaha supercomputer, ensuring that it is accessible to all, including researchers not familiar with traditional command-line techniques for interfacing with high-performance computing systems.

UAB IT Communication has created new artwork to express this heritage of making world-class resources accessible in visual form. Please feel free to use it for research posters, or any work utilizing the Cheaha resource.

Supercomputer logo

UAB IT has implemented standardized patching for Windows computers to strengthen security measures and reduce the impact of lengthy updates.

Patch management is a proactive security measure designed to prevent the exploitation of technology vulnerabilities that exist within UAB systems.

UAB leadership — including the President’s Cabinet and Faculty Senate — endorsed the standardized patching plan, which has been adopted by academic and business units across campus.

UAB IT is now patching 99 percent of campus computers.

“Windows patching had previously been an inconsistent process dependent on the individualized processes of different academic and business units,” said Vice President and Chief Information Officer Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D. “Some units patched quickly, while in other units, computers and servers could be vulnerable to known attacks for months. UAB IT devised a solution to mitigate the risk by implementing Windows patches through a single patching platform during a weekend maintenance window.”

Standard Windows patching also benefits UAB faculty and staff by ensuring their computers are in compliance and performing at an optimum level. UAB IT’s weekend maintenance windows also reduce the number of reboots you will be required to make, causing fewer interruptions to your work.

Exceptions can be requested for those whose systems or research activities cannot be interrupted during maintenance windows.

Learn more about standardized patching.

Duo Survey 2019

UAB launched mandatory two-factor authentication this year to better protect your information and UAB data, and now UAB IT wants to know how you really feel about Duo so we can improve your experience.

Take the brief Duo survey at go.uab.edu/duosurvey to voice your opinion. The survey will be open from Oct. 28-Nov. 4.

UAB IT will also be setting up focus groups to discuss Duo and get more feedback on the tool.

Two-factor is an important method to help protect your information, particularly from phishing attacks.



UAB's two-factor authentication requirement helps you protect your BlazerID password — but we've got tips for further protecting your UAB password and all of your other accounts.


  • Use a password manager like Keeper, which is free for campus staff, faculty and students.
  • Never re-use passwords for different accounts.
  • Never share your passwords with anyone — or write them on a sticky note taped to your computer.
  • Make them long and strong, with a combination of letters, symbols and numbers. Use the tips in the video above to help create a passphrase you can remember.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and we’re sharing tips and tricks to keep you and your data safe.

Because information security is a team sport, and when you protect yourself, you protect all of us.



Most of us can’t imagine life without our mobile devices — but if you don’t keep it safe, your information is likely to be stolen.

Here are some tips for keeping your phone or tablet secure:

  • Use a strong password, pattern or fingerprint to secure access, and set your phone to lock automatically when not in use.
  • Install anti-malware and appropriate backup software, and always update your devices as soon as updates are available — updates are often tied to security issues.
  • Review your apps regularly, and be cautious about allowing them to access your information, including location data.
  • Keep your phone in your hand when you are using it in public, and keep it out of sight when you aren’t.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and we’re sharing tips and tricks to keep you and your data safe.

Because information security is a team sport, and when you protect yourself, you protect all of us.



You can — and should — take steps to protect yourself and your information whenever you’re online.

Lock down your login:

  • Don’t reuse the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Use a long, strong password or passphrase.
  • Use a password manager. Did you know Keeper is free for UAB students, faculty and staff?

Keep a clean machine:

  • Make sure you enable automatic updates.
  • Use anti-virus software to scan your devices.

Guard your personal information:

  • Be thoughtful about what you share on apps and web sites.
  • Pay attention to privacy settings.

When in doubt, throw it out:

  • If a link looks suspicious, delete it.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and UAB IT will be sharing a number of tips and tricks to keep you and your data safe.

Because information security is a team sport, when you protect yourself, you protect all of us.