Day to day activities

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IT have been improving the Universities protection against phishing and spam, most recently with an enhanced e-mail protection feature to the University e-mail service. (called Zero-hour Auto Purge – ZAP!)

‘ZAP’ significantly reduces harmful emails making it into your inbox.

In order for this product to work, all users must have the default junk mail settings.

IT have made an automatic change to your Outlook. We ask that you do not change this setting from where it is. Doing so will make you more vulnerable to malicious emails.

We have changed the option Off to On.

This improvement comes directly from Staff requests in the IT Feedback Survey we conducted in 2018. Staff asked for a reduction into the amount of spam and phishing emails they received.

Protecting our staff from phishing and spam is one of the IT departments biggest priorities. Malicious emails you receive have the potential to make you lose work or financial details.

This new change will help us further reduce the impact of these malicious emails on the University of Reading community.

 

We have been receiving reports of a recent phishing email making it into University inboxes. The email claims to be from the Vice Chancellor and has the subject line “Vital Awareness”.

It contains a PDF attachment that should not be opened.

We have provided a screenshot below (click the image for a larger version):

 

Do not open this email or any attachments as it could damage your work and computer and may make your private details vulnerable.


If you are concerned about this email or other similar emails then please call ex.6262 or go to reading.ac.uk/it

If you are a member of staff whose students are reporting this to you we strongly recommend that they change their password via the https://password.reading.ac.uk website.

If you go to https://password.reading.ac.uk/reset/ you can reset your password; provided that you know your University Username, Student Number and PIN. These can be obtained by filling out the form at https://password.reading.ac.uk/reminder.

For tips on keeping yourself and your information safe online, visit the IT web page on Cyber Security.

Due to graduation week some Staff may be working from home. Some University systems require the use of the VPN but many do not. In the interest of keeping the VPN below its maximum and capacity and to ensure that those that need access to the VPN have it when needed, please consider if the use of the VPN is essential for the work your are doing.

OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams do not require the use of the VPN to access them and are a great place to store your work.

Please consider the below guidelines when working from home and using the VPN:

  • If you don’t need to use the VPN to access N Drive/Collaborative Fileshare etc then please don’t. Use OneDrive and Team sites wherever possible.
  • You can access Office 365 apps (Word, Excel etc) by logging into https://www.office.com using your University email. Once you enter your details you will be directed to a University of Reading login page which requires your username and password. Once logged in you can access all your apps in a browser or download them on up to 5 devices.
  • If you need to access files then you should copy them to your OneDrive and then log off the VPN. This will free up connections for those who really need it.
  • You don’t need a VPN connection to access your email. You can do this via Outlook on a laptop or via the O365 portal.
  • Log out of the VPN as soon as it is not needed.

We have been receiving reports of a recent phishing email making it into University inboxes, with many reports being from the Henley Business School. The email claims to be from John Board, Dean of the Business School, and has the subject line “Required Annual Notices”.

It contains a PDF attachment that should not be opened.

We have provided a screenshot below:

Do not open this email or any attachments as it could damage your work and computer and may make your private details vulnerable.


If you are concerned about this email or other similar emails then please call ex.6262 or go to reading.ac.uk/it

If you are a member of staff whose students are reporting this to you we strongly recommend that they change their password via the https://password.reading.ac.uk website.

If you go to https://password.reading.ac.uk/reset/ you can reset your password; provided that you know your University Username, Student Number and PIN. These can be obtained by filling out the form at https://password.reading.ac.uk/reminder.

For tips on keeping yourself and your information safe online, visit the IT web page on Cyber Security.

Cyber security threats can cause you to lose work or financial information but installing antivirus software can help avoid this.

Unless you forget to update it that is!

Luckily, University owned PCs and Macs have Sophos antivirus software installed and updated automatically by the IT department; but what about your personally owned devices?

See the IT Knowledge base article for further information on installing/updating to the latest free version of Sophos antivirus (available for Windows and Mac):

KB: Antivirus software for personally owned Windows PCs and Macs

Keeping Sophos up to date on your personal computer will help avoid the consequences of Cyber Security threats like Phishing and Removable Media.


What is Sophos?

Sophos is a University of Reading approved antivirus software.

Why do I need anti-virus software?

Just in the same way immunisation injections help your body fight off unwanted diseases, antivirus software keeps your computer and its digital contents more safe from cyber security threats.

Without antivirus software your computer could more easily get infected with a virus or malware program, install it today to reduce the chance of this happening.

Help keep your computer healthy!

Why do I need to update my antivirus?

University computers come with Sophos installed and are automatically updated centrally. However, Sophos on your personally owned devices must be updated manually.

To use the same analogy, the flu immunisation injection has to be updated often as the flu becomes more complex and resilient to previous methods of avoiding it. Cyber Security threats are getting larger and more advanced everyday and so antivirus must be updated regularly in order to keep up with these ever changing threats.

We experienced and fault yesterday (3rd July 2019) with our storage infrastructure that affected access to storage for some users. While fixing the fault the University website was unavailable for a brief period of time. We are working with the supplier to determine the root cause of the problem.

Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience this outage has caused.

A group account is a Windows log-on shared by a number of people.

We know group accounts are useful but they are problematic from a security and licensing perspective and we need to move people to more modern solutions.

What’s changing?

  1. If you require a generic account i.e. a shared log on, this will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.  E.g. for specialist systems administration access where there are no other options.
  2. If you require shared storage, please request a collaborative network share or Microsoft Teams via the IT Service Desk.  A group account for this purpose will no longer be granted.
  3. If you require a shared mailbox, a group account will be granted in the short term, until an alternative solution (currently being tested) is implemented.

The University VPN is currently at max capacity because a large amount of people working from home due to the open day parking guidelines.

We have hit the max number of VPN IP addresses already and this means that some people may not be able to get into the VPN until there is a free slot.

In the meantime we advise staff to consider the below guidelines:

  • If you don’t need to use the VPN to access N Drive/Collaborative Fileshare etc then please don’t. Use OneDrive and Team sites wherever possible.
  • You can access Office 365 apps (Word, Excel etc) by logging into https://www.office.com using your University email. Once you enter your details you will be directed to a University of Reading login page which requires your username and password. Once logged in you can access all your apps in a browser or download them on up to 5 devices.
  • If you need to access files then you should copy them to your OneDrive and then log off the VPN. This will free up connections for those who really need it.
  • You don’t need a VPN connection to access your email. You can do this via Outlook on a laptop or via the O365 portal.
  • Log out of the VPN as soon as it is not needed.

All services affected by the outage earlier this week are back to normal but we will be monitoring them as an extra precaution.

We apologise for the inconvenience this outage caused.

IT will review the critical incident and provide a detailed breakdown of what happened and how on the IT Blog.


We have now implemented the fix and staff printing is back to normal. We are going to monitor the success of the fix this evening and tomorrow morning and will provide and update confirming all services are completely back to normal tomorrow.


We have progressed with identifying an issue and are now working on getting services back to normal. In order to carry out this work we will have to make printing for staff unavailable between 3pm and 5pm.

This is due to taking the hardware that controls the staff printing offline temporarily. No other services will be affected and we will notify you on this page and the IT News twitter when the service is back up.

We recommend you print anything off you need for this afternoon before 3pm. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.


IT have been working on this hardware issue last evening and this morning. We have identified the cause of the problem and are now working to resolve it.

The services listed below are still considered ‘at risk’ which means they are running at a lower resilience and have a slightly higher chance of going down. However, nearly all services are now available to use.

We will update this page when we have more information or the services are back to normal.


IT have been working on this issue and many of the services are now working as usual. However some services are still affected.

We will update this list as services become available again:

(As of 16:30 these services are still unavailable. All other services are now back up and running as usual)

  • IT status page
  • Agresso (working, but we will be monitoring it still until it is fully reliable)

We are continuing to work on this issue as a priority and will update this page as the remaining services begin working again.


Due to hardware failure some University services are currently unavailable.

Services affected are:

  • Kinetics
  • RISIS
  • Agresso
  • Trent
  • Wren
  • Room bookings
  • Some web services
  • Apps Anywhere
  • Sateon
  • Unity
  • Counselling Titanium
  • EDMS
  • IT Status Page
  • Adlib

We apologise for the inconvenience this outage is causing and are working on this as a priority. We will provide an update as soon as we have more details.

IT

We are receiving reports of a scam phone call coming into staff phone lines. The caller claims to be a IT Support company (in this case ‘MW Support’) affiliated with the University of Reading.

The caller will direct you through some instructions and then proclaim that your computer is ‘in danger’. They will then direct you to a website URL or ask for remote access to your computer.

We have provided a more detailed description of their process further down so you can recognise it.

This is not a genuine call and you should hang up if you encounter it.

The scam method:

Below are the instructions the scammers give you. Use this to recognise the scam if you receive a similar call.

  1. Turn on your computer
  2. Press: WIN + R
  3. Type: eventvwr
  4. Then click on Event Viewer (local) / Custom Views / Administrative Events
  5. The caller will claim to see many errors on your computer and say that it is ‘in danger’. These are not errors, but ‘administrative events’, normal tasks carried out by your computer.
    The caller will then say they “will take you to the secure server to help me out”.
    You will be asked to open web browser and visit a URL (containing ‘teamviewer’) and download the software, after that they will ask for username and password.

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