Don’t click that link!

You’ve seen the links. You’ve gotten the emails. What the heck? Can that video be real? Let me just check it out and see what that’s about. or Wait, email tech assistance says my email’s been hacked? I need to login to update my account? Oh, boy, is this real?

Do. Notfishing lures. Click.

Here at University of Kentucky, there’s an email “phishing” expedition going around, but those hazardous clicks can be found in email, in social media, and so on – even in a message from a friend that doesn’t quite sound right. Use your common sense. If it seems suspicious, it’s probably a trap.

Here are some good resources for avoiding the phishermen:

Google+ please

I have recently had a couple of  instructors and staff check in on Google Plus being added to University of Kentucky”s Google Apps. I thought this might be of interest to a few of my gentle readers, so let me say:  Yes, we would like to add G+. Unfortunately, the addition of G+ does not fall under our current agreement for Google Apps, so I am involved in some discussions to determine what considerations are required before moving toward an agreement. But, rest assured, it is top of the list. The good news: we have a contact at Google who’s been very helpful in this conversation.

In the meantime, if you haven’t explored your options in UK Google Apps, link on over to the Google Apps FAQ and check it out.

doin’ the two-step (authentication)

A couple of weeks ago, I logged in to my personal email and found that I had requested that my Facebook password be changed. Except, I had not. Of course I quickly used the link that tells fb, no way, don’t change my password, and then I set about cleaning house and updating my password both to my Facebook account and to my personal email account. Along the way,  I let my fb friends know what had happened, and it brought about some discussion of what constitutes a safe password, how you keep it safe, and so on. My friends had good suggestions and food for thought. Here is a blog post by Facecrooks that you might find helpful in making your Facebook experience more secure: How To Lockdown Your Facebook Account for Maximum Privacy and Security.

There are instructors out there exploring Facebook, Dropbox, Google Plus and more as productivity and/or teaching resources. While those instructors may not want to “lock down” their profile or information, they may wish to make it more secure, or think about how and with whom they would like to share.

One of the options available in some cases is two-step authentication, a method for ensuring that you know when someone tries to access your account on a computer or device that is not recognized. It can be very helpful. Here’s how it works: The first time you login after setup, you will be sent a unique passcode via your cell phone (or an app accessible wherever you have it set up). You are able to name the device and have it recognized for subsequent logins. If someone is trying to login to your account from their own computer, you see evidence via the passcode notification … but the person trying to get into your account won’t have access to it and therefore will not be able to login. It’s just one more item that can help you be a little more secure.

Sure, it’s a bit of a pain when you first login after setting it up. If you access via multiple devices, every first-time login will require that you retrieve that passcode. But once that’s done, you are all set.

Where to find it?

  • In Facebook:  Account Settings>Notifications>Login Approvals
  • In Google Plus:  Account>Security>2-step verification
  • Dropbox:  Settings>Security>Two-step verification (you will have to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find it)

There are others, but the path will be very similar.

Survived. Again.

It’s Sunday, so I feel pretty confident in saying that I survived Fall opening-of-term week. It’s my fifth. (Yes, gentle reader, only five. Yet it feels like so many more.) It’s possible that I am the walking dead, I suppose. I certainly feel like it.

The past week is one of great highs and lows, excitement and terror, for nearly everyone: New students, returning students, faculty, TAs with a first assignment, dining services staff, IT staff, and pretty much everyone else on campus. The good news for my staff and many of our colleagues in IT is that planning, testing, and collaboration made the opening of term a bit more exciting and far less terrifying. A new and improved ticketing system, an improved Blackboard testing environment, an all-hands-on-deck effort in the UKIT Service Desk – all that and more made the week go more smoothly. There were still problems to be solved and feathers to be smoothed, but having those other elements in place made those incidents more easily manageable.

Of course, we’re all still exhausted, but that’s to be expected, too. Personally, my eye is twitching like some sort of mad chief inspector.

Herbert Lom as eye-twitching Chief Inspector Dreyfus in any number of Pink Panther movies.

Clouseau!!!!

checking our PULSE

This week, UKIT staffers are taking part in something we call the PULSE project. The initiative brings people who have a variety of expertise to the Service Desk during the opening of term so that there are more people to answer calls and route them to the appropriate area of support. The plan is to bulk up staffing when we know calls will be at their most frequent.

What does this mean to you? Our hope is that we are able to answer your call  to 218-HELP (218-4357) a bit more quickly during a critical time and give you a person to talk to more rapidly when urgency is greatest. What does it mean to us? Those who have technical knowledge but may get few chances to interact directly with customers are having the opportunity to help on the front lines.

There’s no doubt about it, Service Desk duty can be very stressful on an average day. This week and next heighten that stress level considerably. The unexpected bonus has been that there are those helping in the PULSE project who are taking away a new appreciation of the customer experience, and who are actually enjoying it, stress and all.

Welcome to opening of term. How may I help you?

Google Apps added for faculty and staff

University of Kentucky faculty and staff now have access to UK Google Apps. Students have had access for the past year, and now it’s time to make it available to the larger university community. Accounts are optional for faculty and staff, but they provide access to Google Sites, Talk, Docs, Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, Blogger, Reader, Voice, Code, Picasa and Webmaster Tools. Others may be enabled in the future.

A Google Apps account and its associated email does not replace Exchange email and calendaring for UK faculty and staff, but instead provides additional tools that may be helpful for instruction and productivity at the user’s discretion. Google Apps may be used only for materials and information not covered by HIPAA, FERPA, PHI or other similar regulations.

You can get started now:  Instructions for creating a University of Kentucky Google Apps account and FAQs are available from UKIT’s Help webpage.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Visti UKIT’s Help webpage to find instructions and FAQs.
  • When you are ready to login, visit http://www.uky.edu/google.
  • If you set up an account but never plan to check your Gmail, make sure to go into your Google Mail settings and forward email to your Exchange account or the email that you use regularly to avoid any misdirection.
  • Your Google Apps password is not tied to your Linkblue password, so it won’t change unless you change it or reset it in the Account Manager.
  • UKIT Service Desk cannot reset your Google Apps password, but you can do it easily from Account Manager.

Google Apps provides support through online support information and an online community. You can find support within the web page for each application (usually under Tools).

links, tutorials, and more

You will find a change in the Academic Technology Training Library this week. We have changed the site from a text-heavy, click-until-you-find it resource to a search-focused page with a tag cloud and nice graphics. We’ve kept the menus at the top so that you can still find what you’re looking for, but we hope you like the new design.

If you haven’t visited before, the tech training library is where you will find help for using many of the teaching and learning technologies supported by UKIT, including information to help you get started and tutorials about more advanced features. You’ll also find a blog written by our student interns, The Scholars, and a tag cloud to show you top searches. There’s much more, as well.

To get there, you can visit the Academic Technology webpage at http://www.uky.edu/ukit/atg and click on Tech Training Library in the menu at left. Be sure to bookmark the page and visit throughout the semester. We frequently add new information and udpates.