Technology Update - September 22, 2011
Table of Contents
Welcome to Tech Update
Welcome to Drexel University!
The IRT Technology Update (or Tech Update), a periodic email publication from the Office of Information Resources and Technology, is the way of informing Drexel students, faculty, and staff of the services that the Office of Information Resources and Technology offers. In each issue, you'll find information about new or revised services, news from the computing world, technologies such as Blackboard Vista (our online learning management system), warnings about computer security, new products, and general tips and tricks that can simplify your computing tasks.
This special issue covers topics of interest to new students. Shortly, you will also receive the Tech Update for the general Drexel community. We normally publish issues twice per term, and sometimes more often if there are urgent matters to communicate. On occasion, Tech Alerts are sent via email between Tech Update issues and news items are posted to IRT’s home page.
Past issues of the IRT Technology Update are posted in IRT's archive for your convenience.
What's Important for New Students to Know and Do?
College is a new experience, and computing at college can be both a challenging and rewarding part of it. That’s why IRT is here to help with your computing needs. If you are wondering how to get started or need some help, see the last article in this issue or check out these handy sites:
You can also check out the Quick Guide for Students for additional help.
Setting Up Wireless Internet Access
Modern computers and smart phones should use DragonFly3, Drexel’s preferred wireless network. To connect, use the new DragonFly3 Installation Wizard for Windows, MacOS, or iOS (iPhone, iPad, iTouch) or just follow the instructions found at http://dragonfly.drexel.edu/.
Devices that can’t connect to DragonFly3, such as some game consoles, printers, and older smart phones, should use the original DragonFly. Although it’s slower and less secure, it will work with such devices. DragonFly (unlike DragonFly3) requires you to register each wireless device that will connect to the network. To register a device, log in to DrexelOne at http://one.drexel.edu, click on the “drexel” tab, and select "DragonFly Registration" in the “Technology Services” channel then follow the instructions.
If you are having trouble, you can bring your computer to the IRT Help Desk at Korman Computing Center (33rd Street between Chestnut and Market, facing the Quad) or contact the Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-895-2020 (select option 5, then option 1).
Setting Up a Wired Connection (ResNet)
All residence hall rooms provide each student with a network jack for access to Drexel’s wired network, the fastest network option available on campus.
Once you plug your computer's network cable into a jack (the active jack is the one at the lower left), browse to any Web site or go directly to https://dormproxy.irt.drexel.edu and follow the on-screen instructions exactly to activate your jack and connect to the Internet. Don’t skip steps or your connection might not work. The registration process will help you update your anti-virus software, check your computer for infection, verify settings, and register your computer for Drexel's network.
For more information, visit http://www.drexel.edu/irt/networks/resnet.
If your first attempt to register your jack has failed for any reason, or if the virus scan finds an infection, please call the IRT Help Desk. All ResNet troubleshooting must be done in your room while your computer is connected to your network jack. To contact the IRT Help Desk, email email@example.com or call 215-895-2020 (select option 5, then option 1). If you leave a message, include your full name, phone number, and a detailed description of the problem (what you were doing or the error you are receiving).
Getting Site-Licensed and Discounted Software
Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) anti-virus software should be installed as part of the network registration process; this is a requirement for students living in Drexel residence halls, and strongly recommended for everyone else. Additionally, some departments require specialized programs such as Visual Studio (software development suite), IBM SPSS (statistical analysis package), MATLAB (numerical computation tool), or SSH (Secure Shell, for secure data exchange over a network).
These and other software programs are site-licensed for the Drexel community. To download software, log in with your Drexel username and password at http://software.drexel.edu. To view a list of available software, go to http://www.drexel.edu/irt/software/softwarelist.
Some instructors might require their students to have Microsoft Office installed on their computers in order to complete classwork. If your computer did not come with Office, then discounted copies can be purchased through JourneyEd under the “drexel” tab in DrexelOne.
If you would like to purchase other productivity software for a nominal fee, Drexel’s partnerships provide discounted software through third parties such as JourneyEd and eAcademy. Log into DrexelOne at http://one.drexel.edu, click on the “drexel” tab, and look in the “Hardware and Software” channel on the right. Software purchased through these third-party sites can be downloaded or mailed to you on CD/DVD media.
Know the AUP and the DMCA
All members of the Drexel community agree to abide by the University’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) as a condition of activating their computer accounts and using Drexel’s network and computing resources. The AUP provides guidelines concerning computer account use, copyright, information security, activities that are prohibited on the network, and more. To read the AUP in full, visit http://www.drexel.edu/irt/org/policies/acceptableUse.
The AUP includes statements aligned with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which describes federally-prohibited activities involving copyrighted material. It covers P2P software, illegal copying and distribution, and the consequences of violation. Action will be taken against users who violate the DMCA by illegally downloading and/or distributing copyrighted material on Drexel’s network—all in accordance with US law and the RIAA.
In other words—don’t download or distribute materials for which you do not have permission from the copyright holder. The consequences can be very serious, and violation of the DMCA constitutes a criminal offense.
More information can be found at http://www.drexel.edu/irt/security/copyright. Drexel University’s Copyright Policy can be viewed at http://www.drexel.edu/irt/org/policies/copyright.
Resetting Your Drexel Computer Accounts Passwords
It’s easy to forget a password—especially when you have to remember so many of them! But don’t worry; if you forget your password, there are several options available.
The first option is to use the Password Reset Service. When you log in at http://accounts.drexel.edu to pick up your accounts, be sure to set up your security question and answer right away. To do so, go to the screen that lists your accounts, and click the button to set up the Password Reset Service. Then, when and if you ever need to use it, password help will be available by clicking the “Help! I forgot my password” link on the http://accounts.drexel.edu login screen. If you do not set up the Password Reset Service, you will only be able to reset your password once (subsequent resets will require that you previously set up the service).
If you are unable to access the Password Reset Service, you can have IRT reset your password for you. To request a password reset, call the IRT Help Desk at 215-895-2020. IRT will not reset passwords via email and service is limited to standard office hours. If you sometimes work at night and might need a password reset, set up the Password Reset Service now so that you don’t get stuck just before a critical paper is due.
If you would like to change your password, log in at http://accounts.drexel.edu, click “Continue,” and then click the keys icon near the top of the page. Follow the instructions to choose your new password. Here are some tips for choosing a strong password that meets Drexel’s password requirements:
- It must be between 6 and 16 characters in length.
- It must contain at least two letters and at least one non-alphabetical character that falls somewhere inside the password (not at the beginning or end).
- It should not match any word found in an unabridged dictionary or "most common passwords" lists.
- The new password must differ from the old one by at least three characters.
- The new password should not be one you used recently.
Additionally, you should avoid using your name, nickname, birth date, Social Security number, easily-guessed number/letter sequences (e.g., 123456 or abcdef), or any combinations thereof.
Protect Your Identity, Protect Your Password
Your Drexel computer accounts password is an integral part of your Drexel identity. Keep it secret, keep it safe—and don't share it under any circumstances.
That's the message of Article II of Drexel's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) as well as several other sections of the AUP. The "why" is simple: With your password, anyone can access your private information and, if so inclined, misuse it.
Furthermore, your password constitutes your legal signature; you are responsible for anything that is done via your computer accounts.
The University is obliged by law to safeguard private information. However, a single act of carelessness on an individual’s part can make him or her vulnerable to identity theft, forgery, or fraud. So keep these points in mind when managing your password security:
- Do not give your password to anyone—not your best friend, not your twin sister, not your boss. Never give out your password to anyone claiming to need it for technical support purposes, no matter who makes the request. (IRT will never request your password for any reason.) Your password is for your use alone.
- Do not write down your password or leave it in a conspicuous place. Writing it on a post-it note or scrap of paper and placing it on your monitor or under your keyboard allows others to gain easy access to your password. If you need to write it down to remember it, keep it under lock and key in a location that is not in close proximity to your computer. If you need to keep track of numerous passwords, consider trying out a “password safe” app on your computer or smartphone. These apps allow you to use a master password to access a list of your other passwords.
- Create a strong, secure password and change it periodically at http://accounts.drexel.edu. See the above article for tips.
- Do not use the same password that you use for online banking or for Web sites that require you to register with personal, confidential, or sensitive information.
Finally, keep your computer free of viruses and malware to prevent keyloggers or other forms of malware from stealing your password(s).
Virus/Phishing Protection and Prevention
Malicious individuals are constantly developing new viruses and phishing schemes. Computer users should remain vigilant and follow basic safety precautions to keep their computers free from infection. Here are some tips to prevent you (and your computer) from falling victim to a phishing scheme or a virus:
- NEVER open an attachment to an email that appears to be spam or that is sent from an unknown source. Email attachments can contain trojan viruses or install malware that can steal your personal information or cause your computer to function abnormally.
- NEVER give out your passwords to anyone, including friends, relatives, and even members of the IRT staff. And remember that legitimate organizations will never ask for your login credentials over the phone, through email, or any other method.
- Don't blindly click on hyperlinks, particularly in emails of unknown origin. A common scam is to redirect a legitimate link to a Web page that installs a trojan or other malware. Always check URLs by hovering over the link to see if the underlying URL matches the one displayed in the body of the email.
- As viruses change, so does the software needed to protect you from them. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date with the latest updates and virus definitions by installing Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP), which is available for both PC and Mac at http://software.drexel.edu.
- Scan your computer at least once a week for viruses. Many anti-virus programs can be configured to scan automatically at a given frequency. Also, many programs offer a "smart" or "quick" scan option along with the full scan option. Although most scans can be "quick" scans, be sure to occasionally select the full scan.
- Scan your computer for spyware and malware. Casual browsing on the Internet will often cause unwanted spyware and malware to accumulate, and can slow down computers—or worse, steal personal information. Use spyware and malware removal software such as Spybot Search & Destroy, Lavasoft's Ad-Aware, and Malwarebytes (along with anti-virus software) to perform regular scans of your machine. These applications can be downloaded for free at their Web sites, or at http://download.cnet.com/windows.
- Be wary of suspicious-looking Web sites. If the site doesn't appear trustworthy or is poorly maintained, avoid clicking links or downloading content from that site. Also, avoid downloading content from peer-to-peer (P2P) programs such as LimeWire, Soulseek, BitTorrent, and others.
- Be mindful of where you make your email address visible (i.e. social networking sites), and who you give it to (e.g. via Web site registrations or email). Spammers sometimes use "Web crawlers" to search the Web for addresses to spam.
- Delete spam immediately. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t respond to it, and never, ever give out personal information.
New This Fall in Residence Halls
This year, IRT has enabled network jacks in common rooms and lounges of all residence halls. The active jack is the one at the lower left (or just the lower) position of the wire station. As with the jacks in student rooms, this one must be registered by one of the occupants of the suite, before connecting a game console or computer.
What If I Need Technology Help?
The IRT Help Desk, as the name implies, is here to help you with your technology questions!
Individuals who encounter problems with their Drexel computer accounts, network access, wireless registration, software download/installation, etc., can contact the IRT Help Desk in the Korman Center:
If you send an email or leave a voicemail message, include complete contact information (name, phone number, Drexel email address, and a non-Drexel email address if you have one) as well as a detailed description of your problem or request. Providing IRT with the right information upfront helps us help you more quickly.
You can also search AskDrexel, our online technology FAQ, if you have any questions about your accounts or technology services. Oftentimes, others have asked and had answered questions that might be similar to yours. AskDrexel can be accessed at http://ask.drexel.edu.
For additional information about services provided by IRT, visit our Web site at http://www.drexel.edu/irt. Basic technology information for Drexel students can also be found in the "Quick Guide for Students." If you have not already received a copy, you may pick one up at the Front Desk in the Korman Computing Center.