Partnerships within UAB and throughout the Birmingham community can help UAB IT "enable others to greatness," UAB Vice President and Chief Information Officer Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. told members of the UAB community and the Birmingham Business Alliance Tuesday, Feb. 23.

"My job within IT is to partner with our business units to make their lives easier, to take all of those things that get in the way of being great and try to fix those problems," Carver said. "Where we focus is to enable others to greatness."

Carver spoke at a reception sponsored by the BBA and Alabama Media Group. The event, held in the new Hill University Center ballroom, was attended by UAB executives and leaders from key companies from Birmingham and throughout the region. In addition to Carver, honorees included Allen Bolton, vice president for financial affairs and administration; Dr. John Jones, vice president for student affairs; and Dr. Paulette Dilworth, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Technology improvements such as unlimited email, unlimited storage, a faster network and greater research computing capacity will help UAB IT empower UAB students, faculty and staff in their educational and research endeavors, Carver said.

Leveraging the talents of both the campus and the surrounding community is important, said Carver, who noted he was drawn to UAB and Birmingham despite an initial reluctance because the region is "on a trajectory" to fulfill UAB's motto, "Knowledge that will change your world."

"That's why I'm here," Carver said. "The opportunity to participate in a world-class team and to go about the simple business of working hard every day, trying to change the world."

Ryan Murphy, a sophomore chemistry and biology major, used his artistic and video skills to create a palatable message about how to “connect with care.”

Murphy’s effort not only won UAB IT’s first student cyber security video contest but also offers good advice about avoiding spam emails, choosing secure web sites and using safe WiFi.

Murphy used tips from the Stop, Think, Connect web site to come up with his video idea, which compares food safety to safe internet use.

Video Check PresentationCIO Dr. Curt Carver presents a check to UAB sophomore Ryan Murphy.“I was trying to put a creative spin on (the cyber security tips),” he said, noting he has seen the trend of “draw my life” videos.

That’s Murphy’s own hand drawing the whiteboard artwork for his winning video.

Murphy, a graduate of Randolph High School in Huntsville, is also a member of UAB's Science and Technology Honors Program and has been using his video skills to help produce videos for that program, including a “This Month in Science” online newscast.

Murphy plans to go to medical school in the future, but said he also hopes to keep using and improving on his video hobby.
CloudStorageOptionsGraphicUAB IT has launched two new services to give faculty and staff options for storing their documents and data in the cloud.

OneDrive and UABbox have similar features, but determining which one is best for you often comes down to preference — and to the size of the files you need to store, UAB IT experts said.

The two services have many things in common, including:

  • Collaboration features, such as concurrent access and editing and the capability to share via a link. Students, who use Office 365 for email, also have access to OneDrive accounts, so collaboration 
  • Mobile applications, which allow you to access your files among different devices.
  • Both are offered at no charge to UAB faculty and staff. The services are not currently available to hospital staff.

The biggest difference between the two services is the size of files you can upload.

With OneDrive, you can upload files up to 10GB. On Box, you can upload file sizes up to 15GB.

Box’s storage capacity is unlimited, while OneDrive’s storage capacity is currently 1TB, which will be upgraded to 5TB by the end of March.

Because the file size capacity is greater in UABbox, it is more typically used by researchers. In fact, of the 58 TB currently in use on UAB’s service, most of that is used by two researchers.

UAB IT currently recommends that users not store sensitive data in the cloud. Refer to the Data Classification Rule for more information.

Users who need to store documents on campus servers can get a UABFile account. 

Resources for users:
Log in to OneDrive (use BlazerID and password)
OneDrive help
Log in to UABbox (use BlazerID and password)
Box help
UAB IT presentation about cloud storage services
Emergency Digital Sign
Emergency notifications are now live on all of UAB Digital Signage, allowing more widespread communication of imminent threats to campus.

The notifications are tied to the Blackboard Connect system currently used for deployment of B-Alerts. Any situation that poses imminent danger to campus will take over the entire digital signage screen, with the message scrolling across a red screen under an "Emergency" banner.

UAB IT also plans to include in its digital signage the emergency management alerts that do not pose an imminent threat, such as campus closures. Those messages will not take over the entire screen but will be broadcast in the scrolling feed at the bottom of the signs.

UAB Digital Signage is deployed across campus, including at the new Hill Student Center. Departments interested in learning more about digital signage should contact AskIT.
UAB IT's latest unlimited storage option for campus faculty and staff is UABbox, a free, cloud-based storage option provided by UAB IT in partnership with Box. UABbox

The service, which has been used mainly by researchers during its beta trial, has now been expanded to campus faculty and staff. Hospital staff are not included in this expansion. 

UABbox allows unlimited storage of non-sensitive data, in file sizes up to 15GB. 

UABbox includes web-based access, a Box sync desktop application and a free mobile app, and it also allows easy data sharing with other Box users.

When users log into UABbox with a BlazerID and password, they will find a folder titled "Welcome to UAB Box" that includes FAQs, Box support files, a Box user guide and Box user video tutorial library.

Storage of sensitive data in UABbox is not recommended at this time. 
PortalScreenshot
UAB IT has launched a new self-service portal that allows customers to search a service catalog and order services; search for knowledge articles; and report problems with services.

The self-service portal is located at askit.uab.edu and can also be accessed from the green “Need help? AskIT” button on the upper righthand side of any page of the UAB IT web site

The portal replaces the old AskIT page, the A to Z list of IT solutions and the FAQs.

In the new portal, IT service listings can be accessed through the service catalog (searchable by category or constituent group and through an A to Z list), and the FAQs are located within an expanded knowledge base that also has new articles about a variety of software and hardware items.

Users need to log in with a BlazerID and password to access the service catalog and knowledge base and to report problems with services. Users will be able to check the status of their requests and problem tickets within the new portal.

As UAB IT transitions to the new service portal, tickets that had been previously entered in the old system will be moved to the new system. Users may receive emails as those tickets are transitioned. UAB IT hopes to have all old tickets transitioned by Feb. 8.

The interface is intuitive, but a list of frequently asked questions can be found here in the new portal (BlazerID login required). The new self-service site is a work in progress, and enhancements and changes are anticipated post go-live.
DoorsOpenTechConnect opened its doors at the Hill Student Center Wednesday, Jan. 20.Anthony TechConnectTechConnect manager Anthony Truss, center, talks with students at the grand opening of the store.
TechConnect, a new space at the Hill Student Center where students, faculty and staff can connect with UAB IT staff, held its grand opening Wednesday.

The new tech store gives UAB students, faculty and staff a chance to try out computers, tablets and other devices from vendors Apple, Dell, CDW-G and Microsoft, as well as get advice from UAB IT experts. Vendors are also planning on-site visits to demonstrate new technology.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to make personal technology purchases through the TechConnect web site, where they have access to special UAB pricing and discounts on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, gaming systems and other accessories sold by UAB IT's vendor partners.

In coming weeks, TechConnect will add repair services for personal devices. 

Through Jan. 29, UAB students, faculty and staff who visit TechConnect can register to win a new Surface Pro 3, provided by CDW-G, and a Dell Inspiron 11 Series 3000, provided by Dell.

TechConnect is located on the first floor of the Hill Student Center, next to Simply to Go and near the dining area. TechConnect is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

UAB IT reminds the university community to be aware of malicious phishing emails. 


To report suspected spam to AskIT, please follow the instructions here

Follow these additional tips to avoid being a phishing victim:


  • Do NOT click links in messages that ask you to log in. Type a trusted Web address in your browser or Google for the Web site if you don’t know the address.
  • 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.
  • Don’t open attachments. They may contain viruses or malware that can infect your computer.
  • 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.
  • 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.

UAB students should continue to be aware of malicious callers who aim to scam them out of money.


Students at universities across the country have been targets of similar scams, in which malicious callers, purporting to be law enforcement officers or IRS representatives, make threats about alleged debt. Although the phone scammers often know personal details about students -- such as their majors -- students should know there has been NO breach of protected information at UAB. Such information is often publicly available in student directories or social media. UAB has password-protected its electronic phonebook to keep such information more secure.


 According to UAB IT’s Information Security division, students need to know:

  • No law enforcement body will call them and threaten to arrest them over the phone.
  • The attackers can spoof a police station phone number or a government number so the call will look like it is coming from such an office.
  • UAB has not suffered a breach that resulted in this scam.

Tips:

  • Do NOT provide Social Security numbers, birth dates or any other personal information.
  • Ask to call the “officer” or "IRS representative" back, take down their number and call the number back.
  • Ask them to meet you at the police station in question, if they claim to be from a police department.
  • When in doubt, hang up and call the UAB Police Department at 205-934-4434.
Users logging into UAB's software download site will see a slight change in the login method.

Rather than a popup login screen in which to enter their BlazerID and password, users will see the standard Central Authentication System screen (below).

CASAuthentication

If a user has already logged into the Central Authentication System, he or she will simply be directed to the software download site.

Login screens for certificate ordering and desktop administration access rights will also undergo the same change.


StarWars

To celebrate a year of accomplishments and look forward to new challenges, staff members attended a special advance showing of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" as a team Thursday night, with some special guests in attendance.

Sensing that a department filled with technology experts was the perfect audience for the latest "Star Wars" installment, UAB IT rented a theater for the event and invited not only employees but their family and friends as well as UAB leadership and mascot Blaze, who wore his Jedi robes for the occasion.

"You are indeed a force awakened," Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. told staff members and their guests. "What you have done this year is remarkable. UAB IT does not exist in a vacuum, and everything that we do is in support of UAB's mission. We're here to empower students, faculty and staff. This is an opportunity to thank our constituents, our staff and the family members who support our staff members who work long hours to help make UAB great." 

UAB IT has had a year filled with accomplishments to help better the UAB community, from a small technology tweak that helped increase donations for the university's Annual Giving campaign to new cloud storage options. In addition, UAB IT is building a stronger research computer network that is 10 times faster and has introduced more robust password security with a longer lifespan for passwords.

For details on some of UAB IT's projects over the past several months, look at our monthly IT Update newsletters and Carver's 100-day letter to campus. And for a more lighthearted look at the department's accomplishments, our holiday greeting video showcases the "12 Days of the Holidays with UAB IT."

Spoiler alert: The movie is great.
An email upgrade being rolled out for UAB faculty and staff this week will support much larger mailbox sizes.

Faculty and staff members will be transitioned to the new email system gradually over the coming weeks.

In addition to the larger email storage space, users will see a new interface when logging into email accounts through a web browser. The look and feel will be closely aligned to what students see in their Office 365 email accounts.

In the new interface, users should note that the Calendar, People (previously called “Contacts”) and Tasks will be in the upper right-hand side of the interface, rather than the lower left-hand side.

OWA2013 mailboxClick image for larger view.
Users will also see a new login page for the Outlook Web App.

OWA2013 loginClick image for larger view.

It will take several weeks to transition all faculty and staff email accounts to the new system. Users should not see any changes to their email when using the Outlook application, other than the increased storage space.

Among the new features of the Outlook Web App:

·      Inline composing, which allows users to quickly compose and reply to emails without popping out a new window

·      Forgotten attachment reminder, which tries to detect whether you intended to include an attachment (by interpreting an email you typed) and pops up a reminder if you click send without including the attachment. This feature works with recent browsers such as Internet Explorer 9 and above.

·      The Outlook Web App comes with three apps installed: Bing Maps, which adds a Bing tab with a quick link to a map if an e-mail message contains a street address; Action Items, which creates a suggested Task for the user to review if an email suggests a possible action; and Suggested Meetings, which suggests an appointment be added to the user’s calendar if an email has an offer to meet.

·      Email actions allow users to hover the mouse over an email they want to delete and see new icons to the right-hand side of the email: delete and flag. This makes it easier to delete emails without having to select them first.

UAB IT will be rolling out Internet Explorer 11 to its Desktop-supported customers beginning Wednesday. Microsoft will no longer be supporting earlier versions of IE beginning in January, making those earlier versions of the browser a security risk.

IE11 works for all of UAB’s enterprise systems except for IRAP, the Integrated Research Administration Portal. IRAP users can visit uab.edu/IRAP to see how best to access the system.
Ellis ShawnShawn Ellis has joined UAB IT as associate vice president and chief technology officer. 

Ellis has a broad background in information technology, with a career spanning 20 years in industries including higher education, finance, defense, and space and scientific instrumentation.  For the past eight years, Ellis has held several executive technology leadership positions at the University of Georgia, where he has most recently been interim associate chief information officer. 

“Shawn brings a broad range of experience that will help us serve the university community’s technology needs and enable world-class performance at UAB,” said Dr. Curt Carver, vice president and CIO.  

“I would like to thank the members of the search committee for their hard work identifying excellent candidates for the position,” Carver said. 

The committee was chaired by Dr. Iwan Alexander, dean of the School of Engineering.  Members included Alecia Jones (Human Resources), Stephanie Mullins (Financial Affairs), Michelle Hussey (University Advancement), Patricia Higginbottom (Lister Hill Library), Tommy Foley (Engineering), Don Fast (HSIS), Dr. Purushotham Bangalore (Computer Science), and UAB IT's Bob Cloud and Phillip Borden.

Ellis holds a Bachelor of Science in computer information systems from Nova Southeastern University and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia College and State University. 
Max GirlsSanta Claus poses with some adoring fans at the UAB Toy Drive's 2014 "Drive-Thru Santa" event.

UAB IT is looking to make the holidays a little brighter for some children in need.

The department is kicking off UAB’s 22nd annual Toy Drive on Monday, Nov. 30. UAB IT has organized the Toy Drive for more than 10 years.

Toys collected in the drive will be donated to Toys for Tots. Eric Thompson, who is leading the effort for the fourth year, said UAB IT is proud to organize the UAB Toy Drive. UAB is the largest contributor to the local Toys for Tots effort.toys marinesUAB IT employees and U.S. Marines with the large collection of toys donated by UAB employees and students in 2014.

“Every child deserves a happy holiday,” Thompson said. "We are grateful for the support of UAB employees and students to this campaign year after year."

Boxes to collect toy donations will be located in buildings across campus, including the Administration Building, Athletics building, Cudworth, Rust, Facilities, Hoehn Engineering building, 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 Thursday, Dec. 17, 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 second annual Drive-Thru Santa event.
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/.
AdminSysScreenshot
A new interactive Administrative Systems page, which many UAB staff and students use to access systems and applications across campus, is now live. 

UAB Web Communications and UAB IT collaborated to redesign the page so that users can custom configure the buttons that access various systems, from Banner to Oracle to Xtender. 

The default layout shows the systems in alphabetical order, but users can click the “Configure Layout” button to rearrange the buttons, add or remove them.

A user’s customized layout is retained in the web browser when he or she returns.

Active system alerts and other important messages will also be displayed on the page.

Redesigning the Administrative Systems page was an idea proposed on SPARK, UAB IT’s platform for crowdsourcing innovation. 

UAB IT recommends as a best practice that campus users access systems through the Administrative Systems page, rather than bookmarking systems, so that they can get up-to-date information and alerts as well as the correct links to those systems.