A malicious spam email posing as a message from the IT Service Desk has been found in some user’s inboxes. Look at the image below to make sure you recognise this fake email. Do not click any links in this email or any email where you do not recognise the sender.
We have been advised by Blackboard Support that students may receive a suspicious email (Phishing email) with a link to install OneClass Chrome Extension that is not directly available via search in the Chrome Extensions store. The extension adds a button inside the Learn pages to “Invite your Classmates to OneClass”. This plugin will then email all students to promote the OneClass plugin/product.
This plugin is malicious and should be removed immediately from your Chrome browser if it has already been installed. We also recommend that users change their passwords if affected.
From 1st December, SPSS and AMOS installations on University machines will report their license has expired. The same will be true of personal installations licensed using codes obtained from IT (see http://softwarestore.reading.ac.uk/spss). Please rest assured that a new license has been issued and the current codes will work for a further 30 days. We will be working in re-license University machines centrally but personal users of SPSS/AMOS should now contact the IT Service Desk for a new code.
Work has now officially been completed regarding the service disruption and services have been stabilised since moving to the new hardware.
We have moved affected services to the new hardware as outlined in yesterdays blog post. We should see normal service resume shortly. There may be a few minor interruptions while we complete this process.
Apologies for the disruptions this has caused. The migration to the new hardware will reduce the risk of similar incidents in the future.
We have identified the root cause of the problems that started on Sunday and continued into this week. We are continuing to migrate services to the new storage infrastructure.
Due to the urgency of this work we expect a degree of instability of our services to continue over the next 24 hours.
Further, planned, migrations will be undertaken and we expect to complete this before Christmas. We will work with key partners to schedule this.
IT are pleased to announce the launch of Skype for Business for all UoR staff members.
Skype for Business is an instant messaging service that lets you collaborate with anyone, anywhere, on any device, with the security and control of Microsoft. It’s features include:
- Instant messaging
- Screen Sharing
- Video Calls
- File sharing
- and many more useful collaboration tools
Skype for Business connects automatically to the UoR staff list so you can easily find colleagues. Share files, calendar information and statuses to collaborate with your teams and colleagues more efficiently than before.
Full details on the features of Skype for Business, where to get it and guides on how to use it can be found on our dedicated Skype for Business webpage.
Yesterday we experienced disruption to some of our services. This disruption was caused by a temporary fault in some of our hardware. The problems have been resolved and we are working on solutions to stop this happening again.
Thanks to our technical team we were able to restore most our services:
- ICMA website was back online at 1pm on Monday afternoon
- Timetables were back online at 7:30pm on Monday evening
- The Blogs service was brought back online at 10:26pm on Monday evening
We are still waiting on one service to come back up:
We will update this post when this service is back online.
Apologies again for the inconvenience caused by this interruption. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the technical teams for their hard work into the evening/night to restore these services.
We will be continuing to work to migrate all services from the legacy hardware, onto the new, resilient systems to reduce such incidents going forward.
IT is pleased to announce the ‘beta’-launch of its new application deployment service, App-J. App-J allows applications to be streamed and cached without full installation and will transform the way students and staff access University software. We are providing this service as a direct consequence of a request from student representatives.
As a first stage, App-J has been deployed specifically to centrally-booked PC labs and classrooms. This alone will greatly expand access to the key teaching applications by making applications available in all locations, including the Library. Further stages will make eligible software available even wider, including to personal PCs and laptops, on and off campus.
As a beta, we are seeking to ensure the service is robust, highly available and to iron out any last remaining problems. We encourage you to help us by providing feedback, particularly if you experience any problems. We do advise you that during this phase App-J will not necessarily have the warranty we expect of our services. IT continues to assure teaching and learning by using existing deployment methods in parallel.
To access App-J in a centrally-booked lab, please visit the Appstore – https://appstore.reading.ac.uk/
More details and instructions can be found at http://softwarestore.reading.ac.uk/app-j
Please share this message widely with students and staff. Issues should be reported to the IT Service Desk in the normal way, who are fully briefed on the development. IT Contacts should feel free to discuss this with their IT Business Partner.
The University of Reading has recently been hit with a Spam (also known as Junk Email or Unsolicited Email – see the Background section for more information) outbreak affecting a large number of staff. The spam is of a sexual nature and in some cases has caused a considerable amount of distress due to the quantity of emails and tone of the content. It contains a link embedded within the email – these links should not be clicked.
The Spam has been hard to detect with our automated systems due to the way that it is being distributed, but this is something we are working on. We are continuing to train our Anti-Spam systems to recognise the emails for what they are and to block them or deliver them to the AutoSpam folder.
This problem is now being reported across the UKHE sector and we are not alone in suffering from the effects of this Spam campaign or in finding it hard to tackle.
If you receive a piece of Spam email that has made its way through the Anti-Spam systems, then the easiest way to deal with it is to delete it. If you wish to you can edit your own settings to make your own Spam filtering more sensitive or to block addresses, but bear in mind that this may also filter out legitimate email.
If you receive emails that are causing you distress then please log a support request through the IT Portal where you can report the problem.
Background & Further Information
Spam is unsolicited email, in other words email that you are not expecting, did not ask for and do not want. According to Wikipedia the name comes from:
“Spam is named after Spam luncheon meat by way of a Monty Python sketch in which Spam is depicted as ubiquitous and unavoidable
At the time of writing it makes up a large amount of the total email sent across the world, with some estimates suggesting that 85-97% of all email in circulation is unwanted.”
Over the last week (w/c 31/10/2016) we have seen the following amounts of UK-based staff email go through our email systems and this demonstrates the total amount of unwanted, and in some cases malicious, email we receive and that is dealt with by UoR IT teams and services.
In other words, over the course of that week only about 15% of the total email that was received by the University was legitimate email that made it to Inboxes. The rest is rejected, discarded or filtered as it contains viruses, malware or has been identified as Spam.