Howard RobertRobert Howard has joined UAB IT as associate vice president and deputy chief information officer.

Howard has 19 years of experience in information technology at higher education institutions, most recently as chief information officer at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga. He has also served as assistant vice president of academic and institutional technology support at Miami University of Ohio and director of IT partnerships at the University of Georgia.

In his IT career, Howard has focused on developing high-performing teams and partnerships to solve institutional challenges with technology, including modernizing infrastructure. He has also worked to increase staff development, improve IT budgeting strategies, enhance business procedures around enrollment services and cultivate relationships with faculty, staff and students.

"Robert brings experience and energy to the position of deputy CIO," said Dr. Curt Carver, vice president and CIO. "He will help us develop a world-class IT organization for UAB."

Howard received a bachelor's degree in cell biology and microbiology from the University of Georgia; a master's degree in executive leadership and organizational change from Northern Kentucky University; and an MBA with a concentration in healthcare administration from Georgia Southern University.

"My wife and I and our three children are looking forward to making Birmingham home and becoming an active part of this vibrant community," Howard said.

Members of the search committee included Chairman Dr. Harold Jones, dean of the School of Health Professions; Dr. Suzanne Austin, senior vice provost; W. John Daniel, University counsel; Dr. Lauretta Gerrity, senior associate vice president for research administration; Alesia Jones, chief human resources officer; Robert McMains, senior facilities officer; Dr. Robert Palazzo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Michelle Robinson, assistant dean in the School of Dentistry; Heather Maddox White, director of administrative and fiscal affairs for UAB IT; and David Yother, director of enterprise technology solutions for UAB IT.

"I would like to thank the members of the deputy CIO search committee, led by Dean Jones, for their work in identifying three excellent candidates, allowing us to fill this key position," Carver said.
UAB IT has debuted a cloud storage service for campus faculty and staff. OneDrive

Each UAB faculty and staff member can now sign up for a Microsoft OneDrive account, which provides 1TB of cloud storage and allow file sharing. Individual file size limits are 2GB. Microsoft plans to add unlimited storage and increase file size limits to 10GB in early 2016.

Faculty and staff can also use the Microsoft Office programs including Word, Excel and PowerPoint in the cloud, as well as download those programs to their computers. The Office products are primarily made available for installation on the user’s personal/home system, and faculty/staff should consult with their department or school's IT support before installing any Office 365 products on their UAB system. Office products for installation on UAB systems should be downloaded from UAB IT’s software library.

Photos, videos, spreadsheets and other work documents can be stored in OneDrive accounts, and users can also create, edit and share Microsoft documents within their accounts. Users can access files on any device, including PCs, Macs, tablets and mobile phones.

UAB does not permit storage of sensitive data in the cloud. For guidance, refer to:

UAB users have been hit in the past day with emails containing malicious attachments that could encrypt users' files, enabling attackers to hold the files for ransom.

The recent emails contain unzipped Word document attachments that pretend to be a job applicant's resume or CV. The image below is similar to what users have received:

cryptolocker

When the user opens the attachment, a particularly nasty malware called CryptoLocker is released onto the user's computer.

CryptoLMalocker malware holds the user's machine hostage by encrypting all of the user's files, making them inaccessible without the required passkey.

The attacker offers the victim the passkey for a fee of a few hundred dollars, often paid by entering a prepaid credit card number the victim must purchase.

There is no way to simply remove the malware. The user must either pay the ransom (which does not always work) OR if they keep consistent backups, rebuild the machine and load the backup onto it.

Anyone who receives such an email is urged to report it to AskIT.

Follow these tips to avoid phishing and other scam emails:

  • Don't open attachments from strangers or even friends if you aren't expecting them. The attachment could contain a virus that can infect your computer.
  • Do NOT click links in messages. Type a trusted web address in your browser or Google for the web site if you don't know the address.
  • When there is a link in an email, do the "hover test" and hover your mouse over the link to see where it is actually redirecting you.
  • Never type personal, sensitive information (such as passwords or account numbers) on web sites without verifying the web site's authenticity and security — look for an "https" in the address bar.
  • Verify the address. Malicious web sites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the address may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (.com vs. .edu).
  • Misspellings and grammatical errors can be a dead giveaway in phishing emails and subject lines.
  • If you are unsure whether a request is legitimate, contact the company directly. Do NOT use contact information provided in the request.
  • Protect your password. Information security and IT officials at both the university and UAB Hospital will never ask users for passwords or any other sensitive information.
  • Always report suspicious activity. If you have any questions or you receive a suspicious email that you want to report, university employees and students can call the AskIT Help Desk at 205-996-5555. Hospital employees can call the HSIS Help Desk at 205-934-8888.
A critical security vulnerability has been identified in versions of Adobe Flash Player, and UAB users are urged to update it on their computer systems. flash player

Adobe has released an emergency update to address the issue. The vulnerabilities could allow a hacker to take control of a system.

Users can verify that they have the latest version of Flash Player by visiting the website: https://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/.
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