ToyDriveToysforTots2017
For the 24th year, UAB students and employees will be coming together to make the holidays brighter for area children in need.

UAB IT is kicking off UAB’s 23rd annual Toy Drive on Wednesday, Nov. 8. UAB IT has organized the Toy Drive for more than 10 years.

AllToysToys collected in the drive will be donated to Toys for Tots. UAB is among the largest contributors to the Birmingham area Toys for Tots effort.

"We are grateful for the support of UAB employees and students to this campaign year after year,” said Eric Thompson, who organizes the Toy Drive for UAB IT each year.

Boxes to collect toy donations will be located in buildings across campus, including the Administration Building, Bartow Arena, Cudworth Hall, Heritage Hall, Medical Towers, Worrell Building, UAB Police Department, Mervyn Stern Library, Facilities, Hoehn Engineering building, Hill Student Center (at TechConnect), Lister Hill Library, Optometry, RSB and School of Nursing. Anyone interested in participating can email Eric Thompson.

New, unwrapped toys are needed for the toy drive. UAB IT and UAB Police Department volunteers will pick up the toys the morning of Monday, Dec. 11, and collect them in the lobby of the Administration Building, where Santa Claus and his elf will greet those with last-minute donations at the third annual Drive-Thru Santa event.
UAB Employee Sale 02
Looking for a good deal on a new computer as the holidays approach?

For UAB faculty and staff, TechConnect will be offering $100 off any Dell laptop through Nov. 30 — just in time for holiday shopping. Computers must be purchased in-store (online sales are not eligible).

TechConnect, located online and at the Hill Student Center, offers educational pricing on computers, tablets and accessories, as well as service for your devices.


Keeping confidential information on local servers or computers poses a risk for UAB students, faculty and staff — and UAB IT needs everyone's help to keep that data safe.

UAB IT needs the help of everyone on campus to reduce the amount of data, such as Social Security numbers or personal health information, that is stored on local computers or servers.

Remember this rule: If you don't need it, delete it. And if you do need it, store restricted and sensitive information according to the Data Classification and Data Protection rules.

The video above has more tips on reducing data, and you can click on our new data reduction page to learn more.
PGP grayscreen

When you log in to your computer, do you see a gray Symantec login page?

If so, you will soon need to have PGP removed from your computer.

The Symantec PGP encryption software is going end of life on Dec. 29, 2017 — which means it will no longer be supported.

According to the UAB – Minimum Security For Computing Devices Rule, July 2017, all laptop computers used for UAB business must be encrypted to protect data from unauthorized disclosure. 

To meet this requirement, systems that require disk encryption and currently use PGP to meet that requirement should remove PGP by Dec. 29, 2017, and use Microsoft’s BitLocker or Apple’s FileVault disk encryption solution.

Desktop Services customers should contact AskIT if they have questions.

If you are not a Desktop Services customer, contact your departmental IT professionals for assistance.
For your security and convenience, UAB IT recommends that anyone using Adobe Acrobat XI and Adobe Reader XI update their software, as Adobe’s support for the products ended Oct. 15, 2017.

End of support means that Adobe no longer provides technical support, including product and/or security updates, for those software products.

You can order Adobe products in the IT Service Portal here.


After two years of successful expansion of the Cheaha supercomputer, UAB is not resting in the quest to continue building a faster high-performance computer to power groundbreaking research.

Future plans include growing the team of IT experts who assist research; introducing stronger shared governance to prioritize needs; and adding even more speed and capacity to Cheaha.

Vice President and CIO Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D., spoke to researchers last month at the annual UAB Research Computing Day to share the vision for the future.

“We’ve created a space for tremendous success over the last few years, but we need your partnership,” Carver told researchers.

Cheaha began its exponential growth in June 2015, when UAB IT secured additional funding through grants and university partnerships for more storage for the high performance computer.

After growing to 110 teraflops and 6.6 petabytes of storage by fall 2016, UAB added new graphics processing units in 2017 to grow speed to 450 teraflops.

The plan, Carver said, is to grow Cheaha to 1,000 teraflops in 2018 — and perhaps even crack the top 100 list of most powerful supercomputers in the world.

The team that supports Cheaha will also be growing, adding up to 12 new employees in the coming year to assist researchers with using the supercomputer for their work. Eventually, Carver said, research computing could become a stand-alone entity, a research center to serve campus.

At Research Computing Day, Carver sought feedback from researchers who use Cheaha, and noted that UAB will be introducing a shared governance structure to better prioritize research computing needs and allocate resources.
Sending PII

Sending credit card or Social Security numbers via email can make you or others more vulnerable to identity theft — and is against UAB policy.

Beginning Dec. 1, UAB IT will begin blocking the sending of emails from @uab.edu addresses if the email appears to contain a Social Security number or credit card number.

The sender will receive an email from UAB IT’s information security team if the email is blocked.

For the past several months, individuals sending emails containing such information have been given pop-up policy tips in the Outlook email client.

The warnings are intended to alert email senders of the potential danger of sending such information.

“Sending credit card information or Social Security numbers is extremely dangerous and could leave you vulnerable to identity theft,” said Brian Rivers, assistant vice president and chief information security officer. “Our goal is to help protect our students, faculty and staff.”
For your security and convenience, UAB IT recommends that anyone using Adobe Acrobat XI and Adobe Reader XI update their software, as Adobe’s support for the products ended Oct. 15, 2017.

End of support means that Adobe no longer provides technical support, including product and/or security updates, for those software products.

Adobe recommends that you update to the latest versions of Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. By updating to the latest versions, you will benefit from the latest functional enhancements and improved security measures.

UAB offers an Acrobat DC subscription plan of $15 annually to its employees for use on UAB-owned computers. There is no charge for Acrobat Reader.

If you have questions about upgrading Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader, please contact AskIT.

Learn more from Adobe here.
Devices that use WiFi are vulnerable to a newly discovered and serious flaw, dubbed KRACK, in a commonly used wireless security protocol, WPA2.

Even on correctly configured wireless networks, attackers can potentially use KRACK — short for Key Reinstallation Attack — to read information that was previously assumed to be safely secured. WiFi access points as well as devices are impacted by this significant weakening of these wireless security protections.

How it works 
Devices can be tricked into installing an encryption key that allows for some or all wirelessly transmitted data to be read.

What to do 

  • Limit any potentially sensitive activities performed on wireless networks, or utilize the UAB VPN as a way to protect communications when on wireless at UAB or at home. 
  • Use wired networks if possible.
  • Update all wireless devices to address the vulnerability. This will depend on vendors creating and releasing the updates for various devices, including routers and access points as well as phones, tablets and laptops.
  • Ensure any activities on that must be performed on wireless networks are done via secure channels (HTTPS websites, SSH, S-FTP). Avoid unencrypted channels such as HTTP websites, Telnet, FTP.
  • Watch for suspicious individuals in a close proximity to your wireless network.
After a successful engagement that brought major improvements to the AskIT help desk, UAB IT is partnering again with HDI to make changes to the Desktop Services unit.

After working over the past year with HDI — an industry-leading customer service consultant — AskIT improved its customer service rating to a 2.6. HDI has now evaluated Desktop Services and is developing an improvement plan for the unit, whose technicians are responsible for tech help for departments and units across campus. The goal is to improve to a 2.5 rating in nine months.

"Our challenge is to evolve into a trusted partner who consistently provides the level of IT support services needed for an innovative, world-class academic, medical and research institution," said Jamie Witter, associate director for Desktop Services.

Vice President and Chief Information Officer Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. will be working with Desktop Services during this time to see for himself the needs of Desktop customers, so don't be surprised if Carver shows up to help install a new computer or move a printer for you.

"As I did when we were working to improve AskIT, I want to hear first-hand about the challenges our customers face and how we can improve our services to empower you to quickly get back to work when you have technical issues," Carver said.

Among the improvements Desktop would like to make are putting more structure around the processes the technicians use to respond to customer incidents and requests; reducing the resolution time for incidents and requests; and resolving more issues remotely, so you can more quickly get back to work. 

Carver will also be checking in with customers periodically over the next few months to get feedback about how Desktop can improve.