How to keep yourself safe from the continuing threat of phishing

It’s always phishing season when it comes to email scams. Here are some timely tips from Information Technology Services’ Information Security unit to prevent becoming a phishing victim:

Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Phishing has become a prevalent form of attack used to acquire sensitive and confidential information. If you believe you have received a phishing email or your account has been compromised, click the link below to learn how to report, combat and protect the university’s sensitive and confidential information from phishing attacks.

If you receive an email that you feel is a phishing attempt please forward the email to the following address:
When your account has been identified as compromised ITS will lock your account. Once locked you will not be able to access your email.

To resolve this you will need to call the Help Desk at 217-581-4357 to reset your password and unlock your account.
• Eastern will not use email to ask for account information, passwords or other sensitive information.
• When in doubt about suspicious emails, report and then delete it.
• Look for unfamiliar or misspelled words and company names.
• Never click on links, download files or attachments from unknown senders.

• On average, 33,000 phishing attack occur per month.
• A total of $687 million has been loss due to phishing.
• 45 percent of phishing attacks are successful in obtaining account information.
• Top attacks are successful through trusting fake emails from banks, service providers and professional network colleagues/business associates.

Streaming video, mobile devices dominate student portion of campus network

Streaming video is the most popular content passing over the residence hall portion of Eastern’s campus Internet, taking up about half the 900 megabit per second bandwidth of that portion of the network dedicated to student usage.

Netflix is the largest single source of streaming video content on the network. That is followed by Youtube video content in second place, and general Internet destinations such as Facebook and other websites in third, according to statistics from Information Technology Services’ Network Systems unit.

“Almost half of what students use (of network bandwidth) is streaming video,” said ITS Network Engineer Randy Ethridge. “It’s always been about 50 percent. It’s not more users but the fact that what they are streaming is high resolution video, so it uses more bandwidth.”

Video games also show up as network content, but are not a large user of bandwidth.

“We are consuming all the bandwidth we have from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.,” said ITS Network Engineer Steven Steele.

Eastern’s campus network is divided up into a resident hall side for students and an administrative side for employees.

While streaming video is the biggest content draw on network bandwidth at Eastern day in and day out, a snapshot of usage for the weeks of Oct. 10-16, 2014, and March 2-8, 2015, showed that on the university’s wireless network, Apple mobile devices are the most prevalent hardware.

Average numbers of devices were: 6,130 Apple mobile, 5,774 PCs, 2,855 Android mobile, 2,602 Macintoshes, 695 iPads, a combined 476 Microsoft and Sony gaming devices and 168 Windows mobile. Smart phones outnumbered laptops 9,153 to 8,376.

“There were more mobile devices and fewer PCs for those two timeframes,” said ITS Network Engineer Mark Barrow.

ITS Banner website updated

Information Technology Services’ Banner website has a new look.

The redesign is associated with an update in the form for requesting Banner access.

Banner INB and Self Service (PAWS) is available 24 hours a day except 6:00 AM -12:00 PM Sundays and other times with prior notification to your EIU email address.

Employees can request access to Banner INB using the following link : Banner Access Request Form

For information on filling out the form, see our Self Help article here.

These browsers are recommended when using Internet Native Banner:
• Internet Explorer 11 (Recommended)
• Internet Explorer 10
• Firefox 31 or prior**
• Chrome 36 or prior**
Mac OS X
• Safari 7 or prior
• Firefox 31 or prior**

If you are a BDM user with access to edit documents, you must use Windows and Internet Explorer to get full functionality of the BDM Web Component features.

Newer versions of Firefox and Chrome may fully work with Banner INB but have not been verified by the software service provider.

Banner INB requires Java 7 to function properly. Java 8 is currently not compatible with BannerINB.

If your computer does not have Java installed, you may download the latest version of Java 7 approved for Banner INB.

If you use any other version of Java, your results may not be as expected.

If you encounter problems logging on or connecting to Banner, please contact the ITS Campus Technology Support in any of the following ways:
• email
• live chat at
• create a support request at
• call 581-HELP(4357)

Banner access application process now electronic

Eastern employees seeking access to use Banner, the university’s suite of enterprise computing software applications, now can do so electronically rather than by submitting a paper request.

Banner request applications had been in the form of a writable PDF that applicants could access online and fill out on their workplace computer. The forms, however, then had to be printed out on paper and submitted to the employee’s supervisor and appropriate Banner module custodian.

Now, a Sharepoint form is available on Eastern’s PantherShare website, and the submission and forwarding process has been automated, meaning that no forms or emails need be manually submitted.

The link to the access request form is:

University employees who may have the old PDF form bookmarked on their computers should no longer use that form but should use the new link instead.

Information that must be inputted to the form includes university NetID, e-number, position title, department name, supervisor, NetID of the person the employee is replacing (if applicable), phone number, status and supervisor’s phone number. Applications for which access is being sought include Banner, BDMS, Argos, Reportal, Workflow, Appworx, Dataload, Files (M and U drives) and other. The form also contains a section for supervisor’s approval.

Banner modules include Advancement, Financial Aid, Finance, General, Employment, Payroll and Student.

“Automating the process makes everything electronic, speeds things up, reduces the need for paper and eliminates the need for supervisors to know who the forms go to,” said Information Technology Services Security Administration Technical Associate Josh Awalt. “This streamlines things. You just fill out the form and this takes care of the rest. Internally for ITS, this reduces the workload of managing requests. Before, someone had to generate emails and scan documents into Onbase. The new form send out emails automatically and retains the information for our records.”

Creating strong passwords key to keeping accounts secure

When creating a password for yourself, choose one that is easy for you to remember but would be hard for others to guess.

Password security, however, does not end with picking a strong password. In order to ensure full password security, you must also take steps to protect your password.

Do not share your password. You are responsible for all activities conducted on your account.

Do not write your password down. Written passwords are easily stolen.

Change your password on occasion. The longer you are using your password, the more likely it will be compromised.

Do not store your password in a program. When your e-mail client or Web browser stores your passwords, it becomes easy for a hacker or a computer virus to retrieve them without your knowledge.

Strong password rules at Eastern:

Your password must:
• have at least eight characters
• not be longer than 15 characters
• have upper and lower case characters
• not have more than 12 upper-case letters
• not have more than 12 lower-case letters
• have at least one punctuation mark. Valid punctuation marks are limited to !%*-?:
• have at least three letters
• begin with a letter
• have at least one digit
• have at least one digit not at the beginning and end
• not be your profile ID or name
• not contain your profile ID or name
• not be your profile ID or name with the letters rearranged
• not repeat an old password
• not have more than two pairs of repeating characters.

Transition of data from PantherFile to PantherShare completed

The transition from PantherFile to PantherShare has been completed.

The online collaboration tool used by faculty, staff and students at Eastern since 2008 to share files and documents – PantherFile (also referred to as Xythos) – was shut down this week, and its replacement – PantherShare (a Microsoft product also referred to as SharePoint) – became the supported campus file-sharing platform.

The new application provides the same suite of collaboration capabilities as the old one, but at reduced expense to the university, said Information Technology Services’ Director of Infrastructure Technologies Brian Murphy.

ITS was able to use the university’s Microsoft campus software license to leverage a more favorable price point than had been available through Xythos’ PantherFile product.

“It’s all about getting similar functionality for less cost,” he said.

PantherFile averaged about 400 users at Eastern, mostly faculty and staff, as well as groups, and some students, particularly among certain departments, such as Communication Disorders and Sciences.

Approximately half a terabyte of data and documents was stored in PantherFile.

Transfer of that data began last November.

“All existing PantherFile users were contacted and given the opportunity to have their data transferred, or provided assistance in doing so,” said Murphy. “That effort has been completed and we are now finished with the process.”

PantherShare is a powerful tool for storing data and collaborating among users, Murphy said. The on-premises platform lets users share and collaborate on documents via the campus network.

“It’s very easy to store and share documents on campus as well as to provide external access to users outside of Eastern,” he said.

Like PantherFile, PantherShare is Web-based and accessible to any user with a browser and Internet access. The two interfaces are different in appearance, with PantherShare having a more Windows-familiar look and feel.

PantherShare can be accessed at

New Pinnacle solution will provide Eastern greater telecommunications management

Users of administrative telephone services at Eastern Illinois University will be better able to manage their departments’ monthly billing and usage when the university switches to a new generation of telecommunications billing software next month.

Eastern will upgrade to the latest version of its Pinnacle billing system effective Feb. 1. The move will streamline the university’s telephone invoicing process, making it more transparent and accurate for end users and more efficient for the Information Technology Services’ Office of Telecommunications, which administers telecom systems on campus.

The university has been using Pinnacle billing software since 2004, but vendor support for the current version is scheduled to end this summer. In addition, that version no longer adequately addresses the university’s current and anticipated telecom management needs because of its lack of report generation, outdated invoicing capabilities and automation deficiencies that necessitate manual data entry and cause the generation of substantial paperwork.

“It will help the university keep better track of phone usage and expenses by providing improved reporting tools,” said ITS Telecom Communication Services Specialist Becky Shew. “In this office, it will save time, improve billing accuracy and eliminate the need to make hundreds of paper copies every month.”

Eastern currently pays for 215 university-owned cell phones as well as 1,746 office land-line phones, through Verizon Wireless and Consolidated Communications, each month. The university is billed for usage, centrally through the Telecom office. The Telecommunications staff process these statements, breaking out each department’s share. Because the bills come in paper form, the Telecom staff must enter this data manually, line by line. This not only takes significant amounts of their time but also risks possible data entry errors. Then they must print paper statements – approximately 650 pages each month – put them in Campus Mail envelopes and distribute them to various departments’ fiscal agents across campus. That not only is inefficient but is a potential security risk, as well.

“The old system doesn’t support a lot of things we need it to do,” Shew said. “The new version will provide this need.”

It doesn’t do a lot of things end users need it to do, as well. The old version does not allow the ability to generate reports that graph usage, numbers called, costs, minutes of usage, long-distance tolls, voice and text charges, etc. That means that various departments lack information that could help them better manage their telecom usage, and therefore control expenses.

Another advantage of the new version is that it will be Web-based. While the old system was hosted on servers located on campus, the new one will reside in the cloud and be accessible from any location with an Internet connection. Users will not only be able to view their detail on line, they will have additional tools to help better administer usage.

Other advantages will accrue through use of the new version, too.

Now, the Telecom office has to manually maintain a spreadsheet of landline phone locations across campus. The new version will automate that process and display the information on a computer screen – no more paper.

That should prove helpful.

For example, if police were to receive a 911 call from a landline that they are unable to locate on campus; they contact the Telecom office to research the location. The Telecom staff would access an excel spreadsheet to locate this information. In the new Pinnacle system, they will be able to download the spreadsheet, as well as other manually kept spreadsheets, into the system. This will eliminate the need to keep external spreadsheets and integrate the data.

The Telecom staff will begin training on the new system later this month and then start training fiscal agents in the use of the new version in February. The first bill in the new system will be generated March 1 for February charges.

The Telecom office began preliminary work on the transition in January 2014, so the project has been underway for one year. The project team consists of Becky Shew, Pat Orr, and Cindy Fearday. The Telecom Staff are pleased with how smoothly the project has flowed and would like to thank Cindy for her valuable input and viable solutions that have assisted in the ease of the project.

“The Pinnacle people have been very responsive in listening to our needs,” said Orr.

“The two largest things will be time savings and report capabilities,” Shew said, “both for us and the end users. We’ll be gaining so much from just those two things alone.”


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