Texas Tech University

IT Division | Bulletin

From Here It's Possible

Volume 12, Number 10 | July 2016

Summer school continues to grow this year, along with a myriad of summer camps and other campus activities. In this issue we provide information about connecting to the network - enhancements to remote desktop access, using our upgraded lecture capture solution, and the retirement of an aging technology. We also offer guidelines to spot and avoid "like-farming". We invite you to attend one of our ShortCourses, or to utilize our computer based training (cbt.ttu.edu). Lastly, please invite family and friends to join the Lubbock ITAlert List. Enjoy the summer - Guns Up!

Sam SegranSam Segran
Associate Vice President for IT and Chief Information Officer


Limit Your Likes and Savvy Your Shares

FacebookFacebook users may unknowingly be promoting malicious content due to a new trend amongst internet scammers called "like-farming." The act of Facebook "liking" may now have unintended consequences. Seemingly benign Facebook posts that appeal to one's emotions can potentially be ploys for scammers to accumulate "likes" and "shares" from these posts. Once a post has gained enough popularity, the scammers modify the content, replacing the promotional content with malware, and infecting those that "like" and "share" the page..

Common characteristics of "like-farming" attempts:

  • Posts that promise to raffle off expensive gifts if it is "shared" and "liked;"
  • Invitations that ask a user to "like" or "share" to show appreciation;
  • Any solicitations that thrive on the good nature of people and play to their emotions; and
  • Confluence Wiki – a blogging and collaboration tool that aids peer review, team editing, and document delivery;
  • Sites that appear on your news feed identifying people that have also "liked;"

TTU IT recommends that you routinely review your activity log by clicking "Your Posts" on the left-hand side of your Facebook newsfeed/timeline page, and select "Activity Log" under "Filters" on the left-hand side of the screen. If any of the activities in your log look suspicious, you can delete, "unlike," and report the incident to Facebook. Spread "likeawareness" and understand that not every Facebook page is an accurate representation of the true owner, and criminal motives are often well disguised. As you participate in social networking tools, we strongly recommend that you limit your "likes" and savvy your "shares."

VPN is No Longer Needed for Microsoft Remote Desktop

Thanks to the RDP Gateway service provided by the TTU IT Division, a VPN connection is no longer necessary to use Microsoft Remote Desktop. When you’re away from campus, Microsoft Remote Desktop provides access to your Windows desktop computer as if you were sitting in front of it. For instance, if you have your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone at a hotel while traveling, you may use Microsoft Remote Desktop to securely connect to the Windows PC in your office. In the past, a VPN connection was required in order to use Microsoft Remote Desktop. The TTU IT Division now provides a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Gateway service to facilitate remote desktop connections without VPN.

Features:

  • When off campus, no VPN connection required to connect to a TTU Windows computer;
  • Secure connection to TTU Windows workstations and servers from remote locations;
  • Use your remote computer as though you were sitting at your desk at work;
  • Access to all internal services like file shares, printers, and Internet Native Banner; and
  • Apps are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android to access your Windows computer remotely.

Setting up or modifying your Remote Desktop connection to use RDP is a simple process, and should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. To view Remote Desktop setup instructions for specific platforms, please search askIT. For any questions or additional information, please contact IT Help Central at (806) 742-4357 (HELP) or ithelpcentral@ttu. edu.

Remote SSH Connections

As the Internet gained popularity and functionality, several communications methods became popular at universities as the means to remotely connect to computers, with Telnet being the first to reach widespread adoption. Telnet was eventually supplanted by Secure Shell (SSH), because of security and privacy concerns. For many years, TTU has allowed remote SSH connections to TTUnet, the University’s network. However, the Internet has become far more dangerous over the years and cyber criminals (including organized crime) now use SSH to attack TTU computers over 100,000 times a day.

  • As a result of the constant attacks, Texas Tech University is going to make a change in the way faculty and staff remotely connect to TTU systems using SSH. Beginning Monday, July 11, 2016, remote SSH access to TTU computers will require an initial connection to an SSH gateway – ssh.ttu.edu – and authentication with an eRaider account. Once signed in, SSH access to TTUnet computers will be possible.
  • No action is necessary unless you currently use SSH to remotely connect to TTU systems.
  • SSH connections from TTU computers to external systems will not be affected.
  • Research and business partners that need SSH access to TTU systems will need an eRaider account that is sponsored by a faculty or staff member. These types of accounts can be obtained at http://www.net.ttu.edu under Network Accounts. If you need assistance, please contact IT Help Central at (806) 742-4357 (HELP) or ithelpcentral@ttu.
  • The new SSH gateway will stop organized crime and other cyber criminals from using SSH attacks as weapons against research and educational servers. We appreciate your partnership in maintaining a safe computing environment at Texas Tech University.

Instructions for SSH connections to the new SSH gateway, ssh.ttu.edu, are located in http://askIT.ttu.edu/ssh. The gateway is currently available for use in order to aid in a smooth transition. We recommend that you begin using the SSH gateway now in order to avoid future interruptions when it becomes required. If you need assistance, please contact IT Help Central.

Free Online Training Courses & Instructor-led Classes

Skillsoft Online Training (CBT) is an online, self-paced, interactive training system. TTU hosts an inventory of over 4,000 courses, covering basic to advanced technology skills, customer service, project management, and general management skills. CBT modules can be used as professional development for a wide variety of skills. Please visit www.cbt.ttu.edu.

Every semester, including summer semesters, Technology Support offers instructor-led ShortCourses. All Technology Support ShortCourses are taught by professional IT staff members and are held in the main ATLC facility, located in the west basement of the University Library building. Class sizes are limited, so we ask that you register in advance. To view the current ShortCourse schedule and to register, please visit www.itts.ttu.edu/training. If you have questions, please email iteducation@ttu.edu or contact Technology Support at (806) 742-1650.

Lecture Capturing Improvement/Enhancement

The TTU IT Division in collaboration with TTU Worldwide eLearning, the TLPDC, and Sonic Foundry enhanced the Mediasite Enterprise Video Platform on Friday, June 3rd. As a result of the upgrade, a number of enhancements are available to Faculty in both the Mediasite Enterprise Video Platform and in the Blackboard Learning Management System. The key enhancements are listed below:

  • Increased cross functionality with Blackboard:
    • Instructors can search for and add Mediasite content from within Blackboard
    • Mediasite content will play in the Blackboard frame, instead of an additional pop-up window
  • Improved accessibility features:
    • Added text descriptions for every link (for increased functionality of screen readers)
    • Additional keyboard shortcuts to navigate the timeline
  • Improved search functions;
  • Use of serial number in addition to MAC address when registering recorders;
  • Improved content processing speed; and
  • Support playback for Flash media elements in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers.

We appreciate your continued partnership as we strive to provide a more robust and technologically advanced learning environment. If you would like additional information about Mediasite, please contact iteducation@ttu.edu or please contact IT Help Central at (806) 742-4357 (HELP) or ithelpcentral@ttu.edu.

Lubbock IT Alert

Please encourage your friends and family to join Lubbock ITAlert. Similar to our TTU alert list maintained by the TTU Office of the CIO, we have partnered with the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce to provide a similar email-based alert system for Lubbock and the surrounding community. Alert mail is only sent for high priority IT security events.

Visit www.cybersecurity.ttu.edu and look for the Lubbock ITAlert button to join using a non-TTU account.

Contact

Information Technology Division