Category Archives: Security

Last Call for Laptop Encryption

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For the past 6 months, the User Services staff have been encrypting HSPH-owned Windows laptops in order to meet the new university security mandates.

For the final phase of this process, we are asking any faculty and staff who still have not had their laptops encrypted to contact us directly to set up an encryption appointment.

If you could please email us at helpdesk@hsph.harvard.edu with the most convenient
days
for us to encrypt your laptop, we will get back to you with a confirmed time.  Since the encryption takes 24 hours, any laptops brought in on a Friday will be kept until Monday. If your laptop has already been encrypted, you do not need to reply.

Please feel free to contact the Helpdesk at 432-HELP if you have any questions.

Thank you and have a great day!

Related resources:

New HSPH password policy to go into effect in June

In response to the guidelines put forth by the University in
the Harvard Enterprise Information Security Policy
and the findings of
a recent IT Governance audit by Harvard Risk Management and Audit Services, HSPH
must change our current password policy to meet the new requirements.
In early June, the HSPH Department of Information Technology will begin
mandating complex passwords for all HSPH systems.
HSPHpassword.png

  • Each user will be required to
    reset their password to comply with new standards by June 30, 2010. 
     
  • Additionally, we will be rolling out a
    new service that will allow you to reset your password 24-7-365 without having
    to call the HSPH Helpdesk.  To set up this self-service system, each user will
    be required to establish three security challenge questions.  
     

Beginning the first week of June, we will roll out the new requirements
department by department in an attempt to minimize the impact and enhance user
support.   Each department administrator
will be notified of when the requirements will go into place for their
department.  It should take users no longer than 5 minutes to make the required
changes. 
 

For complete information on secure
passwords and screenshots outlining the process, please visit our internal document on secure passwords (PIN protected).

Update on McAfee Issue

Technicians are in the field this morning to address any remaining issues with the McAfee issue from yesterday.  Our push of the updated data file for Novell users was successful for most users. 
If your computer remains in a reboot loop, please contact the Helpdesk at 432-HELP or helpdesk@hsph.harvard.edu and we will schedule a technician for an office visit as soon as possible.
Thank you for your continued patience.

Encore Presentation of Security Briefing to be held April 23, 2010 for Landmark Building

In an effort to educate the community on responsibilities, policies, procedures and technology in place at HSPH, the Information Technology department will host a security briefing for the community on April 23, 2010 from 12-1 pm in Conference Room 2, Landmark 3rd Floor.  This is an encore of the March 16, 2010 session that was held in Kresge G1.

An on-demand video is available is also available from the March 16, 2010 event.

View On Demand Video:
View: HSPH Information Security Update

TIP: to fastforward and/or enlarge the video, right click on the presentation and select “Play in Real Player.”

Computer Reboot Loop Issue

At approximately 10 am, an error message popped up on hundreds of HSPH computers warning users that they had a virus and their computer would shut down in 1 minute. Their computer was then stuck in a reboot cycle.

This was not actually a computer virus outbreak, but rather a faulty data update from our security vendor McAfee.  This issue was global and not isolated to HSPH.  There are reports of other universities, government agencies, and businesses experiencing similar issues (see below for news articles).

Timeline:

  • Issues surfaced at approximately 10 am after computers at HSPH started to receive the automatic update from McAfee (DAT 5958).
  • HSPH IT staff worked closely with McAfee for several hours including hosting a Webex session from McAfee to an “infected” machine at HSPH. 
  • McAfee released an updated data file at approximately 1 pm.
  • HSPH IT staff tested both a pushed deployment fix using Novell and a manual fix for other users.
  • At 2 pm, HSPH Helpdesk sent email to community with instructions for Novell users to update the data file.
  • At 2:30 pm, HSPH Helpdesk staff started going floor to floor to update computers in need of manual updates.

Other Notes:

  • Computer laboratory machines and classroom machines were not impacted.  Neither students working in computer laboratories nor courses were affected.
  • Mac computers were not impacted.
  • Not all users at HSPH were impacted.

Update procedure if on Novell network:

  1. REBOOT your computer
  2. LOGIN to Novell
  3. Wait for the computer to RESTART itself (approximately 1-2 minutes)
  4. Your computer should then be updated with the new data file and you can login.

Update procedure if you do not login into Novell:

  • Contact the Helpdesk at 432-HELP, helpdesk@hsph.harvard.edu.  It will most likely require a technician visit to manually install the new datafiles.

Related articles:

Firefox Upgrade

The User Services Group recommends that any user running Firefox 3.6 upgrade to Firefox 3.6.2 to fix a security vulnerability.  Mozilla will be pushing out a notice to upgrade “within 24 to 48 hours.”  The upgrade is very quick taking a minute or two. 
Upgrade procedure:

  • Open Firefox
  • From the HELP menu, select CHECK FOR UPDATES
  • From pop-up window, select UPDATE FIREFOX
  • The patch will download and then require a restart of Firefox

If you need any assistance with the upgrade, please contact the Helpdesk at 432-HELP.
Additional information:

Facebook Scams leads to Computer Infection

The information below was sent to us from McAfee Anti-Virus:

“There appears to be quite a large Facebook password reset scam/spamming going on worldwide. McAfee Labs is aware of the issue and have excellent coverage through Artemis. There are several different versions floating around with names like:

  • Facebook_Password_245.zip
  • Facebook_Password_346.zip
  • Etc…..

Inside the zip file is an executable named Facebook_Password_.exe. This is a trojan and is not to be clicked! McAfee Labs has a worldwide view and handle on this issue.

McAfee is working hard to keep your Facebook experience safe and to reinforce that they should be running Artemis.

Best regards,
McAfee”

Please use caution when clicking on any posts or links sent to you by an unknown person on any social networking site. Contact the IT Helpdesk at 617-432-4357 or helpdesk@hsph.harvard.edu.

Secure File Transfer, Accellion at HSPH

The HSPH Information Technology Department is pleased to announce a secure way to transfer files which meets Harvard’s security mandates.  We have set up an Accellion appliance for community use.

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To request an account(s) for you or your group, please have your Department Administrator provide a list of users to the HSPH Helpdesk at 432-HELP or helpdesk@hsph.harvard.edu.  Users in the Office of Human Resources and Office of Financial Services have already been added to the system.

Accellion Quickstart Guide:

  • Accelion URL: http://accellion.sph.harvard.edu
  • Your login is your email address (i.e., jdoe@hsph.harvard.edu).
  • Your password is
    the same as your Novell/GroupWise password.
  • Each user is allowed 2 GBs space on the
    device.
  • Each file will remain for 7 days.
  • If you are exchanging files that contain high risk confidential information, please remember that retrieved files may not be stored locally on a laptop, desktop machine, or other local storage device.  They must be saved to personal or shared network drives (P:/ and S:/ drives).
  • Files which are saved to the
    Accellion server cannot be accessed or recovered by the IT department.
  • There is an excellent user guide available after you log into the secure file transfer website.

Screenshots:

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Additional information:

If you would like to any discuss security topics further, please feel free to contact Andy Ross, security manager, aross@hsph.harvard.edu, 432-1751.

Video from SPH Security Briefing on March 16, 2010

A recent Boston Globe article reported “One million Massachusetts residents–or 1 in 6 people–have had their credit card numbers, medical records, or other personal information leaked or stolen over the past two years.”

In an effort to educate the community on responsibilities, policies, procedures and technology in place at HSPH, the Information Technology department hosted a security briefing for the community on March 16, 2010.

View On Demand Video:
View: HSPH Information Security Update

TIP: to fastforward and/or enlarge the video, right click on the presentation and select “Play in Real Player.”

security-presentation.gif

Presenters:

  • Taso Markatos, Chief for Information Technology and
  • Andrew Ross, HSPH Security Manager.

Agenda:

  • Discussion of Security Case Studies
  • Types of Confidential Information
  • High Risk Confidential Information (HRCI)
  • Why We Are Focusing on This Issue
  • Obtaining and Storing HRCI
  • Exchanging Confidential Files
  • Encrypting Laptops
  • Recent Security Developments
  • What We Are Asking of You

Upgrade to Internet Explorer 7

It is time to retire Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).

Many people in the community are still using IE6.  Due to compatibility requirements of new MyHSPH portal software that the school will be launching later this spring, we recommend that all users upgrade to Internet Explorer 7.0 (IE7) as soon as possible. Other popular websites such as Google and Youtube are also phasing out IE6 support this month. 

Upgrading is easy and only takes 10-15 minutes.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Helpdesk at 432-HELP and we can walk you through it.

We are working on a means to efficiently push out an upgrade to the community.  However, due to the time required to do the install, we are currently recommending manual upgrades at your leisure.

NOTE: Although Internet Explorer 8  (IE8) is also available, IE7 is currently still the supported web browser for Central Administrative Systems
(Oracle Financial, HUBS, CREW, PeopleSoft, CAADS, GMAS, etc.).

Related reading: