Information Systems

Tech Talk

  • Heartbleed vulnerability

    Posted April 11, 2014

    You have no doubt been hearing a lot about Heartbleed, a vulnerability in the heavily-used OpenSSL encryption software that protects information on the internet. This weakness makes it possible to steal information including passwords, email, credit cards, etc., believed to be encrypted yet leave no trace of intrusion behind. However, there is no evidence to date that any malicious hackers have taken advantage of it to grab information, though the nature of the weakness is such that it is impossible to know that with any degree of certainty.

    IS reacted swiftly after notification at 3:09 Tuesday afternoon from UC's Network Security team to all UC sub units. Some of our servers, including PowerSchool and the file server, are not vulnerable to this exploit. Any server that could be vulnerable was patched Tuesday, 4/8 and early Wednesday 4/9. We are now moving forward with renewing and replacing the cryptographic keys that could possibly have been compromised.

    You are encouraged to change your passwords regularly and not use the same password for multiple sites. These measures alone can help avoid breaches of personal information. You can also expect that we will be asking people to change or recertify their LabNet IDs once new SSL certificates and encryption keys have been acquired for the servers we patched. More information about the bug in general and UC's advice is below.

    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/08/flaw-found-in-key-method-for-protecting-data-on-the-internet/

    https://itservices.uchicago.edu/news/heartbleed-bug-what-you-should-know

    http://heartbleed.com

  • LucidChart: Great Tool for Visual Learning

    Posted April 11, 2014

    If you're a visual learner, or you teach visual learners, and you haven't yet checked out Lucidchart, you should. It's a neat online diagramming tool that not only gives you lots of options for creating flow charts, org charts, story boards, room layouts, idea maps, presentations, and much more. It might remind you of Inspiration or OmniGraffle. It also supports collaboration like any Google doc would if you share it with collaborators. To create a Lucidchart, log into your Lab Google Drive account, click the Create button, and select Lucidchart (shown in the picture).

    The interface looks a little imposing, but it's not that hard to figure out. Most of the resources there are drag and drop. There are also numerous helpful tutorials on their support site. Enjoy!

  • Changes Ahead: Internal IP Addresses for Networked Printing

    Posted April 11, 2014

    In keeping with new security guidelines issued by UC IT Services, we will be changing the IP addresses of all networked printing devices. There have been instances of intrusion from outsiders, including using printers as networked "stepping stones" to access other campus systems, malicious printing (sending huge pointless print jobs to UC printers as a kind of vandalism), and using the mail sending capabilities of MFDs as spam distribution points.

    To prevent such abuse, our best option is to disallow off campus access to those devices by using internal addresses, which typically begin with a 10. address instead of the 128.135.x.x to which we have all become accustomed.

    So what does this mean for you? Two things, really: 1) as these changes take place, we'll need to work with you to alter the print settings on your computer for the printers you typically use (yes, you'll be given advance notice of this), and 2) for those of you who send print jobs to these devices from off campus, you will need to download and use the University's VPN software (VPN stands for Virtual Private Network) to do so after the change is made. The UC Help Desk number is 773-834-TECH if you need help installing the VPN client.

  • Personal Purchases Through the U Now Online

    Posted April 11, 2014

    You may recall that the University closed the Solution Center last summer. Along with it went the ability to buy computer hardware and accessories here on campus. However, all is not lost. The University has worked with online vendor Gov Connection to establish an online store through which members of the University community may make personal purchases at prices negotiated by the University. How much of a discount you'll get will vary from item to item, so you should still shop around -- but being aware the site is there should be helpful for those with a CNet ID to log into the site. And shipping is free! The URL for this online store will seem like there is a typo in it, but there isn't:

    www.govconnection.com/Universitychicago

  • Computing and A/V Capital Expenditures

    Posted April 11, 2014
    The oniine form for submitting requests is now closed. By now, either through email or personal contact, you should have been notified that your request was received. If you believe you submitted a request but have not heard anything from Curt confirming that, please let him know as soon as possible.

    Every effort will be made to let requestors know about the status of their request before the last day of school. For some requests, Curt may be in touch to be sure he clearly understands the rationale or seek clarification on tech specs needed to meet the expressed need. Thanks for participating in the process.

DIT Bits Blog

  • Mid-Summer IS Update

    07/09/2013 11:48 AM

    As expected, this very busy summer at Lab is flying right by. Those of us responsible for executing tasks associated with the construction project are putting in some long days during this exciting time in Lab’s history. Today’s post is just a quick summary of where we are. Summer School Support: The Summer School folks [...]