Network access in Eastern’s residence halls has been enhanced through the implementation of an application called SafeConnect.
The SafeConnect application resides on your computer, authenticates it, and scans it for required patches and software.
SafeConnect provides you a more secure computing environment when you connect to the EIU network in residence hall facilities. In order to gain access to the EIU network, you will be required to keep your computer’s operating system up-to-date. In addition, Safe Connect will check your computer to make sure it is running an approved and properly updated anti-virus program.
Computers that do not meet these predefined requirements will be placed on a “quarantined” segment of the network where users will be provided with instructions and tools to update their system to the minimum required configuration.
1. Verify that your computer has installed an operational network interface card.
2. Connect one end of your Ethernet cable into the network interface card and the other end directly into the orange data jack on the wall.
3. Turn on your computer and open up a Web browser. You will see the “Welcome to the Campus Network” login screen.
4. Enter your NetID and password (the same one you use for e-mail access).
5. When you see the screen, select “Click Here To Read The Full Policy.”
6. After you read the policy and indicate that you understand it, close out that window and click “Yes, I Will Install the Policy Key,” and accept the terms and conditions for Internet use.
If you select “I Do Not Accept,” you will see a popup window acknowledging your decision telling you that you have been declined access to the network.
7. SafeConnect will do an initial policy check to verify your software, patches and antivirus compliance. This check should take less than 30 seconds.
8. If your computer does not pass the validation rules, you will be redirected to pages that will help bring your machine into compliance.
9. Once you have complied with all of the validation rules, you will be successfully connected to the network.
For complete details about Safe Connect and how to configure your computer, go to http://its.eiu.edu/safeconnect/index.php
Incoming students and their parents frequently ask what type of computer, if any, a student needs to take to college. Eastern does not require students to bring personal computers to campus or to purchase computers once enrolled. However, while Eastern offers access to computers through several labs located across campus, many students find that owning a computer is more convenient and enhances their academic experience.
For students who prefer to purchase a laptop computer, Eastern Illinois University makes recommendations for minimum specifications, which will be academically appropriate and compatible with the EIU network. Major computer manufacturers offer special educational discounts to Eastern Illinois University students. Visit the University Bookstore in the University Union for more information about this program or go online at http://www.eiubookstore.com.
Any brand-name personal computer currently available off the shelf at retail will function on the EIU network and meet your basic academic needs. Computers purchased within the last two or three years should work properly, too. You need not spend thousands of dollars for a computer, as long as your machine meets these minimum guidelines:
- Processor: 2 GHz or better
- Screen: Your preference
- Memory: 2GB (3GB for 32bit Windows and 4GB for 64bit Windows)
- Hard Disk Drive: 160 GB or better
- Floppy Drive: None (We recommend students purchase a 128MB or larger USB Flash Drive)
- Optical Drive: DVD Burner or DVD Combo
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows / Macinstosh OSX / Linux
- Antivirus Software: All on-campus students receive Norton/Symantec antivirus software for their machines.
- Network Adapter: Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
- Laptop computers should be equipped with an 801.11b, g or n wireless card. All other features are optional.
- Software: Whatever system you decide to use on campus, your computer will need to work with files for word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, Web browsing, file transfer, e-mail and calendar programs.
Following 12 years as Microsoft’s primary operating system for PCs, Windows XP will reach end of support status April 8. Security updates and technical support for the Windows XP will end at that time.
As a result, it is important that faculty and staff at Eastern migrate to a more current operating system, such as Windows 7 Enterprise, for their Windows machines in order to maximize the technical capabilities of their computers as well as to minimize security vulnerabilities.
An estimated 200 or so PCs are still using the Windows XP operating system, said Information Technology Services Associate Director of User Services Dave Emmerich. That number has been declining since last fall, when User Services stepped up efforts to replace XP software on administrative computers on campus with Windows 7 Enterprise.
Windows 7 has been in widespread use for several years and has proven compatible in most applications at Eastern. In addition to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 is available for campus to use. However, it is not currently installed by default because of possible compatibility issues with software and services offered to campus.
“The main problem with XP is there will be no new security updates and no new patches after April, so if vulnerabilities are discovered for XP, their computers would be subject to exploitation. If they have student information or access to Banner on their machine, that could be especially troublesome,” said Emmerich. “Also, as new software comes out, it may not work with XP. We’ve already run into problems like that with the Internet Explorer Web browser.”
ITS Campus Technology Support technicians and technology specialists from other departments have been working since last semester to change out XP operating systems on faculty and staff desktop computers and to replace them with Windows 7 Enterprise.
If you are a faculty or staff employee at Eastern and your computer still is running Windows XP, or if you are unsure about the operating system of your computer, contact Campus Technology Support (Help Desk) at 581-HELP (4357) or your department’s instructional support specialist through the Center for Academic Technology Support.
The campus bulk order of computers, which is open until Feb. 28, is an opportunity to replace older machines with newer ones. Surplused computers compatible with Windows 7 also are available through Campus Technology Support.
Not every single Windows XP operating system on campus will be replaced, Emmerich said. Some computers running programs or applications that require XP specifically will be retained as needed.
Emmerich said User Services hopes to meet the April end-of-support deadline for installing updated operating systems.
“That is our goal,” he said. “As with all things, some might not make it, but eventually we will get to everything.”
Campus Technology Support (Help Desk) is expanding its outreach to Eastern faculty, staff and students by adding live chat to the ways it communicates during online support sessions.
Help Desk personnel currently are testing live chat as part of Information Technology Services’ Log-Me-In utility for assisting with campus hardware, software and connectivity issues.
Log-me-In is a remote-access tool that allows Help Desk technicians to view the desktops of clients in real time when they are assisting them with technology problems. Clients must approve contact sessions and give permission to Help Desk technicians to access their computer or digital device and can end the sessions at will.
“If a person is having technology issues and wants to ask a question, rather than having to make a phone call or send an email, sometimes it’s just quicker to use chat, and then we can convey instructions or information more consistently,” said ITS User Services Manager Dave Emmerich.
Campus Technology Support is setting up a website to test the chat application and has established a link on the Help Desk page on the ITS website for users wishing to initiate chat sessions. One way the project might work would be for users to go to the page and click a live chat option button. A form would pop up asking for contact information and a description of the problem and a preferred method of contact.
Initial plans are to test the program during the afternoon hours during the week when more Help Desk personnel are on duty to respond.
“We will make sure we have someone available, and as it progresses, we will expand to additional times throughout the day,” Emmerich said.
The live chat option will enable Help Desk technicians to do a better job of supporting faculty, staff and students by being clearer with their questions and responses and gaining the ability to send links to Web pages and self-help articles, for example.
“We will be able to be more consistent with the responses we give,” Emmerich said.
Another advantage to live chat will be in assisting students who encounter technology issues when they travel out of the country. Overseas phone contact can be prohibitively expensive, and email contacts can be too slow. Chat would provide quicker, real-time response.
“It’s one more way we can reach out to users and say we are here to help,” he said.
Eastern’s annual bulk order of Dell and Macintosh desktop and laptop computers is taking form again this semester.
The Center for Academic Technology Support [CATS], Information Technology Services [ITS], the EIU Bookstore and Purchasing have announced the open order period for both Dell and Apple campuswide purchases for the fiscal year. This order is for campus equipment only. This is not an opportunity to make personal purchases.
The deadline to submit orders is Feb. 28, and shipments are expected to begin arriving on campus in four to six weeks’ time.
“Our goal is have machines in the offices of faculty members before they leave for summer,” said Information Technology Services Associate Director of User Services Dave Emmerich, whose technicians will install the new machines on the desks of faculty and staff across campus. This timetable will allow users time to get familiar with the operation of their machines before the end of the semester. To that end, Emmerich said, faculty machines will be put in place ahead of those for year-around staff.
With this latest order, ITS formulated the configuration of the various order options, the Center for Academic Technology Support (CATS) organized and is managing the order, and the university’s procurement office is dealing with vendors and costs, and when the machines arrive, ITS will handle setup.
Requests are now being taken through a new Web form, which may be accessed at https://www.eiu.edu/apps/computer_order/login.php and must be submitted no later than Feb. 28, without exception. Prices listed are the maximum any particular configuration will cost. Final pricing will vary depending on the number of machines on the final order.
Because this form also covers inventory and purchasing needs, participants are being asked to submit an order form for each end user. In cases where a single end user is receiving two different pieces of equipment, please submit an order form for each configuration.
Each request will require vice presidential approval for both encumbering the funds as well as approval for the actual purchase. After the deadline for submission date, each vice president will be notified that all requests from his area are ready for approval online. He will be able to log in one time and process all approvals.
Once you have entered an order, you will be able to review the information you have entered and make corrections prior to submitting your order.
Direct any questions regarding:
Order processing to: Rhonda Brotherton, email@example.com
Apple configurations to: Mitch Coe, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dell PC configurations to: Jason Hamilton, email@example.com
Jan. 28 was Data Privacy Day in the United States, kicking off Data Privacy Month, through the end of February.
Data privacy is an important issue that affects everyone because everyone has data – whether bank and financial , health and insurance, Social Security, identity or other types of information. And in today’s world of Internet connectivity and social media, losing privacy and control of that data should be of concern to everyone.
“The idea is to encourage people to control their digital life and protect their privacy,” said Eastern’s Assistant Director of Information Security Mike Gioia of Information Technology Services.
Data privacy is an issue in the news due to the Target stores data breach in late 2013 that affected more than 100 million consumers, and the hacking of software giant Adobe.
“It’s all about being aware of what’s going on, what sites have your data and what they do with it,” said Gioia.
There’s not much the average person can do to prevent becoming a victim of a breach such as the one that hit Target, but he or she can still take steps to be safer: Increase the level of privacy settings on Facebook and Twitter, for example, and limit what you post or make public on Internet sites.
“People think data is bits and bytes that only technology people are concerned with, but it’s what you’re putting on your Facebook,” Gioia said.
ITS is noting Data Privacy Month because Eastern is a repository for vast amounts of data, ranging from financial aid figures to Social Security numbers.
“We’re trying to use our Twitter account to spread the word,” Gioia said. “We’re concerned about privacy all the time, and a lot of our tweets and training materials are concerned with privacy.
Data Privacy Day started in the United States and Canada in 2008 and is an extension of Data Protection Day, which dates to a European data privacy treaty that was signed in 1981, at a time when the Internet was an obscure link used by universities and governments, rather than individuals, to share information.
The recent data breach at Target stores received national as well as local attention.
The retailer reported that cyber thieves compromised the credit card data and personal information of as many as 110 million customers. That data included phone numbers, email and home addresses, credit and debit card numbers, encrypted PINs, expiration dates and magnetic strip information.
Eastern faculty, staff and students were among those potentially affected.
What actions should you take to protect yourself from such security breaches?
The answer is that there’s not much that individual consumers can do, proactively.
Instead, being aware and reacting quickly when such incidents happen are key, says Eastern’s Assistant Director of Information Security Mike Gioia.
“Target did the responsible thing by verifying that the breach occurred, but as a consumer, it’s up to everyone individually to be aware of what’s going on with their credit cards and finances,” he said.
Gioia said consumers should not be paranoid about falling victim to a data breach, but they should be wary.
“You should have a good idea about how much money you have and how much you’ve spent,” he said. “That way, if your card information is stolen and used, you can know in a very short time what’s occurring.”
While the Target breach received widespread publicity, most of the time victims are not even aware that their credit card information has been stolen. Consumers should know where they’ve shopped and on what dates so they can contact their bank quickly if identity theft occurs.
“Awareness is key in all aspects of information security and privacy,” Gioia said.
Be especially mindful with debit cards, Gioia warned.
“With credit cards, it’s someone else’s money you’re using, whereas with debit cards, it’s your own, and if it’s used inappropriately by someone else, you’ll have to fight to get your money back. With a credit card, the bank has to fight because it’s their money. With debit cards, it’s a good idea to keep a smaller balance, or have a second checking account that does not have a debit card attached to it.”
“If you want to be super secure,” he said, “cash is still king.”
In the case of Target, there was nothing individual consumers could have done to prevent falling victim. “It’s a reaction-based scenario,” Gioia said.