With all the email scams going around these days, it’s a good time to give you some pointers on identifying legitimate IT messages.
- Our all-campus messages appear both on the Intranet and in your email.
When we want everyone on campus to know about something, we use the Intranet announcement system. If it’s critical, it appears in your email right away as well as the Intranet; if it’s not critical, it appears only on the Intranet and in the daily digest email. Important IT messages are never sent to the entire campus without being posted on the Intranet. Note that sometimes we do smaller, targeted emails without posting to the Intranet, but in that case you can use some of these other tips.
- Our instructions will tell you what to do (“type ‘password.hampshire.edu’ into your web browser”), instead of providing you a link to do it.
A link can look like it’s going to one place, but actually take you to somewhere completely different. It’s always safest to type in the address you want to go to, especially if you’re dealing with a security matter. It’s also important to note that all of our web pages will be at “.hampshire.edu”
- Important messages to the entire campus are sent from HCAnnouncements@hampshire.edu.
As mentioned above, occasionally we send messages to a group of people using other mechanisms, but in that case you should be able to recognize the “from” address as someone in IT at Hampshire. Note that this is not in and of itself a guarantee, since even our accounts can be compromised, but it’s a good piece of evidence.
- Legitimate IT messages are signed with a specific name that you know from Hampshire IT.
If you aren’t familiar with the name, you can use your browser and type in “directory.hampshire.edu” to look the person up.
These workshops cover the basic concepts of using an Excel workbook for organizing data and doing simple calculations. Great for an introduction or refresher, and especially good if you want to get on sure footing for the more advanced workshops in January.
Excel Formulas and Functions
Mac – January 8, 2014 – 10 a.m.
Windows – January 10, 2014 – 10 a.m.
Get a good handle on some of Excel’s more useful features. We guarantee that at least one thing in this class will prove a time-saver for you.
Learn how to:
- Import data from a text file
- Use Filters to sort and limit your view of your data
- Have Excel add automatic subtotals
- Copy or re-use a formula
- Have that copied formula do what you actually want it to: learn about absolute vs relative cell references.
- Use conditional formatting to have cells with certain values automatically look the same.
- Use Functions to quickly answer complicated questions like “How many students do we have from Connecticut, and how many of them live in Dakin?” or “How many orders did I place that were over $500 between July and October of last year?”
- Split text in one cell into two cells (for example, separate out first & last names), and combine text in two cells into one cell.
Excel Pivot Tables
Mac – January 16, 2014 – 10 a.m.
Windows – January 17, 2014 – 10 a.m.
Q: What are pivot tables?
A: Tools in Excel that automatically summarize your data. They let you see the “big picture” and are easily adjustable to provide different ways of looking at your data.
Q: Why would I care about them?
A: Because they allow you to answer complicated questions in a snap. Quick: How many orders did you place with Staples last year? And what was the total of those orders? And how many orders per month did you place? And what was the average per month of those orders?
If you have information you want your data to provide, pivot tables will give it to you quickly and easily. They will save you time, and they just might change your life!
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Information Technology, Human Resources, and the Creativity Center are working collaboratively to identify training opportunities and other sessions that can help all of us at the College deal with the challenges of having more work than time.
The first initiative in this continuing series is a “Brainswarming: Looking at Workload” workshop on Thursday, December 5, 2013, in FPH Lounge from 10-11 am. At this innovative workshop, supervisors and staff can look at the issues around having more work than time to do it. Professor Tony McCaffrey will lead the session using a technique called “Brainswarming.” The Brainswarming process in this workshop will allow us to identify the broad spectrum of factors that come to play with workload issues, from organizational skills to supervisor prioritization of work to the College budget.
We encourage both supervisors and non-exempt and exempt staff to attend, whether you are struggling with your workload, see someone in your department or school who is, think you have some perspectives or ideas to share, or all of the above. Supervisors, please provide time for your staff to attend this valuable workshop.
If you would like to try Brainswarming and work to solve the question of how to get work done within the limits of a 35-hour work week, please plan to attend the workshop led by Tony McCaffrey on Thursday, December 5, 2013, in the FPH Lounge from 10-11 am. Please rsvp to email@example.com by Monday, December 2 to let us know you will be attending.
Brainswarming borrows insights from how swarms of insects successfully solve problems together. Participants in this exercise learn how to generate ideas together without initially talking. Participants silently add Post-It notes to a special problem-solving graph that organically grows as contributions are added and finally becomes connected as solutions (or possible solutions) are matched to problems. Discussion then follows with the group of participants.
The great part about not talking during the initial part of Brainswarming is that it levels the playing field of all the participants as all ideas are generated and presented without one person or the loudest person dominating the direction of the ideas put forth.
An Intro to “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”
“Getting Things Done” is a methodology for staying organized while lowering stress at the same time. A little strategy goes a long way when there are not enough hours in the day!
IT invites exempt and non-exempt staff and their supervisors to an overview session of “Getting Things Done”- a system for keeping up with your tasks and lowering stress at the same time. We’ll go over the basic concepts and look at some tech tools to help you put them into place.
Presented by Bob Crowley, Ben Fellows, and Asha Kinney of IT
Thursday, December 12th, 10-11:30 a.m.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Agile Project Management: An Introduction to Scrum
You may be familiar with the concepts of traditional project management, and you may even be a very strong project manager. “Scrum” represents another very effective tool in your toolbox of project management techniques. For projects in which the requirements are continuously changing, you may need a more proactive project management approach.
The definition of “project” has a wide range – anything from making a sandwich to building a house constitutes a project. If you work on projects of any size and want to get tips on managing projects in a way that allows for moving targets and good “customer” relations, “Scrum” is for you.
We will use our time in class to work through the stages of a sample project.
Presented by Bob Crowley and Ben Fellows of IT.
Wednesday, January 15th, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
RSVP to email@example.com
If you receive a lot of email that you need to hold onto for future reference, a bad subject line can make it difficult to find it when you need it. There’s an add-on for Thunderbird called “EditEmailSubject” that will let you change the subject line on messages you’ve received.
To get the add-on, go to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/edit-email-subject and follow the instructions for downloading and installing. Once it’s installed you have to quit Thunderbird and restart it to have it working. In order to have the subject changes reflected in Webmail you should turn off the “Local Only” option:
- In Thunderbird, select Tools→Add-Ons.
- On the left, select “Extensions.”
- In the “Edit email subject” area select “Preferences.”
- Uncheck the “Only local changes…” box and click “OK”.
- Close the Add-ons Manager tab by clicking on the “x”.
To use it, simply select a message in your inbox and press the “E” key, and a window will come up that allows you to change the subject line.
Students, staff, and faculty have the ability to reserve space on campus for events and meetings. Most spaces are reserved through the event services and summer programs office. A few buildings on campus have conference rooms, training labs, studio spaces, and classrooms that can be booked through event requests managed by staff in those buildings.
There are a few different ways to view availability and submit a request depending on which space you want to reserve. Check out http://hamp.it/roomres (login required) to get you to the appropriate reservation system.
A post from our senior web programmer, Sarah Ryder, who attended the HighEdWeb conference in Buffalo in October 2013.
I’ve been fortunate to attend the annual HighEdWeb conference since 2008. Despite HighEdWeb 2013 being my sixth year, I still came away from the conference with a ton of new information and inspiration. There is always top-notch, relevant content from the speakers, sessions, and posters. Everyone in the community grows throughout the year and shares what they’ve learned. We all know it, we all say it: the main reason we love HighEdWeb so much is because the people are awesome. The knowledge we gain just from conversing with each other is priceless. HighEdWeb really brings networking to a whole new level by providing that space and environment for everyone to connect in a professional, yet fun and social way.
The sessions I attended
Stay Ahead of the Curve: Conducting a Competitive Web Content Analysis - Hampshire even got a shout out during this Best of Track presentation for having an awesome 404 page.
The Keynotes: Woz and Scott Stratten
I’m not generally the type of person who is wowed by keynote speakers, but last year I thoroughly enjoyed Adam Savage’s keynote at HighEdWeb in Milwaukee, and I didn’t think it’d be possible to do even better. Now I’m not saying this was necessarily better, but I’ve gotta admit, having the opportunity to do Q&A with Steve Wozniak was pretty darn awesome. Not only that, but Scott Stratten really hit it out of the ballpark with his keynote. He’s like the poster boy for us geeks. He was relevant, hilarious, and got a great response from our entire audience. I highly recommend checking out his book, which we got as a gift in our swag bag, QR Codes Kill Kittens. I’ve also been listening to his podcast and really enjoying it. For anyone who is interested in checking out his keynote, the video is available online to HighEdWeb members and the cost to become a member is not high. I am hoping to schedule some time on the Hampshire campus to view the video together. If anyone is interested in joining, send me an email to let me know.
The Location: Buffalo
The conference was held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and the primary hotel, attached to the center, was the Hyatt Regency. The convention center was equipped with all the wifi and power necessary for a smooth (constantly connected and charged) conference for all attendees, which I don’t think has ever happened before! Not only that, but the center, the hotel, and the city really outdid themselves interacting with all of us via social media. They welcomed us, answered questions, provided suggestions, put together the #BuffaloForReal contest, and really went above and beyond any customer service we could have expected. Buffalo rocks. Thankfully many of us were able to visit some of the attractions, like beautiful Niagara Falls, and some amazing restaurants, despite having a densely packed conference schedule of learning and networking.
They put together a great storify based on our #heweb13 hashtag, the #BuffaloForReal hashtag, and our interactions. There’s also a fantastic album of the #BuffaloForReal pictures that we all took during our visit.
HighEdWeb started offering smaller, regional versions of the conference some years back and those regionals are becoming more widespread. In 2013 I was honored to participate in the first ever HighEdWeb New England regional conference planning committee. The conference was held at Mount Holyoke College in March 2013 and it went really well! I am happy to say that the proposal to host HighEdWeb New England in Providence this year was approved and announced at the annual conference, and I will be participating in the planning again. I hope many of my colleagues in the area will be able to join us.
HighEdWeb 2014 will be in Portland, OR and I am hopeful that I will be so lucky to attend once again.
Resources and Recaps
I’ve got lots of notes from the sessions I went to, but I really wanted to use this post as a place where I could collect and share some thoughts and resources that I came away from the conference with. Below is a list of blog posts, photos, and awesome things that others have shared since the conference.
Many of the presenters have shared their slides or presentations on their respective conference session pages.
Not specific to this conference, but a helpful resource nonetheless, is a list of higher ed book reviews on collegewebeditor.com.
A storify from #heweb13 made by Catherine Donnelly from UB.
This is just a simple thank you from me to the entire HighEdWeb community, and to Hampshire for encouraging professional development. This conference is always a fun learning opportunity for me and it reminds me how much I love working in higher ed, specifically at Hampshire. Every year I leave HighEdWeb rejuvenated and inspired, and with connections to folks who inspire and motivate each other throughout the rest of the year.
We have become aware of a serious new threat to computers running Microsoft Windows called “CryptoLocker.” Protection is in place on all Hampshire-owned PC’s, but if you have a personally owned PC you should immediately take preventative measures.
How CryptoLocker is Spread
CryptoLocker is a threat to PC’s running any version of Microsoft Windows. It is not a threat to computers running Mac OS.
CryptoLocker is “ransomware” that is spread primarily as an attachment to email. The CryptoLocker attachment would be detected by our mail server as dangerous and stripped from the message, so it will not reach any Hampshire inboxes. Other email providers may allow the attachment through; so if you use a third party email account, exercise caution with attachments.
ESET Antivirus, which is installed on all Hampshire computers, would detect CryptoLocker if it tried to install itself. If you’re using a non-Hampshire PC you should check with your antivirus provider to see if it would protect you from CryptoLocker.
Some reports indicate that CryptoLocker may also occasionally be installed by visiting malicious websites. If this is true, it would bypass our mail server’s security layer but should still be caught by ESET.
What CryptoLocker Does
Once CryptoLocker is installed it begins to encrypt your computer’s data files. It does not give you any indication that this is being done. If you have mapped network drives or attached hard drives it will also encrypt files on those.
Once all of the files have been encrypted it will put up a notice informing you that you must pay $300 ($100 in previous versions) in order to decrypt your files, and give you a countdown timer. If you pay the ransom, reports indicate that the files will be decrypted; if you don’t pay, when the timer runs out you will lose the opportunity to decrypt.
Any files that are encrypted are lost unless you pay the ransom in order to get the decryption key. There is no way to decrypt the files without this key. There is no way to access the files unless they are decrypted.
What to Do if CryptoLocker Gets Installed
Once the ransom screen comes up, you are faced with a choice: pay the ransom or lose your files. If you have a backup of your files, see a computer technician to have the malware removed and files recovered from the backup. If you don’t have a backup you are stuck with a hard choice: pay the ransom or accept that your files are lost.
If you happen to catch it before it’s completed encrypting items–which you might detect if you tried to open a document and it reported that it was encrypted–you should immediately disconnect the computer from the wired or wireless network, shut the computer down and take it to a professional.
By the time CryptoLocker announces that it is installed on your computer, your files are gone unless you pay the ransom. Because of this, preventative measures are critical.
- Do not open email attachments from unknown senders.
- Backup your files on a regular basis, and keep the backup drive disconnected when not active.
- Keep antivirus software active and up to date at all times.
- There is a tool that will inoculate your computer against CryptoLocker by blocking it from executing. If you have a personally owned computer we strongly recommend that you use this tool. It can be found, with instructions, at http://www.foolishit.com/vb6-projects/cryptoprevent/.
If you’d like to read more details about how CryptoLocker works, a reliable and thorough site is http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/cryptolocker-ransomware-information.