The Brown Linux User Group hosts a Linux Installfest once a semester. This Saturday, March 1st, you can join them in the CIT Motorola Room - Room 165 at 115 Waterman St - from 10AM to 3PM. They will provide install CDs, power cables, monitors, keyboards, mice, and, most importantly, pizza.
They note "If you don't have Linux installed but have always been tempted to install it, now is the time! Stop by, and we'll get you up and running. If you have Linux installed but there's some bugs or configuration errors, stop by and we'll fix your system."
For more information, see their event website at http://blug.brown.edu/installfest.
Privacy is important year-round, but January 28 - February 28 is a time specifically set aside to highlight the issue of privacy. ISG recommends three ways to get involved:
- 1/30 1-2 PM: Web event "Location, Location, Location" with privacy expert Robert Ellis Smith. brown.edu/go/privacy
- 2/11 6:30-8 PM: Free screening of award-winning documentary "Terms and Conditions May Apply", "mandatory viewing for everyone who uses the Internet." Q&A session follows. Light refreshments + door prizes. brown.edu/go/tacma
- 2/24 Noon: "Your Life Online" Brown Bag. brown.edu/go/YourLifeOnline
We want to make it easier for you to get technology help at the IT Service Center. We’ve extended our hours to 8pm on weekdays for phone, email, and walk-in service. Services Supported include technology troubleshooting, repair of Brown-owned equipment, password resets, and laptop and camera rentals.
Please note that the Service Center will be closed on Monday, 1/21 for the holiday.
Starting next week, the http://gmail.brown.edu login page will look and function like a consumer (non-Brown) Google login page. What does this mean for us? Instead of logging in with just the beginning of our Brown email address (e.g., josiah_carberry), we will have to type the whole email address (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org). The login page will no longer display the words "Brown University."
Choosing “stay signed in” can be a convenient way to avoid retyping your username and password. However, if you do so, make sure your computer is password protected. If you need help setting up password protection, speak with your department’s computing representative, the IT Service Center, or the Information Security Group.
You can set up 2-step authentication on your Google account to prevent someone from accessing your account even if they have your password.
- This new login screen will be more resistant to security attacks and will allow you to more easily switch between accounts.
Compare the old and new login screens in the image below:
Due to a change in the Google login page for Brown, we've received a lot of questions about being prompted to resolve a "conflict account" after logging in. This is normal, and simply means you once accessed a Google product with your Brown email address before we started using Google at Brown.
For your privacy, Google does not automatically move any personal content into your Brown account. For that reason, you are prompted either to move content to your Brown account, or associate it with a new Gmail account or a non-Gmail personal email address. The decision you make is personal and depends on the type of content and what you intend to do with it.
For detailed information and instructions, see our page on resolving conflicting accounts.
Update: Please note that the Wednesday 2/5 clinic has been cancelled due to the weather.
Can't make it to the IT Service Center? Get tech help in the following locations. We'll be keeping this list updated as we schedule more clinics.
- Wednesday 1/22/14, 9am-5pm, atrium of the CIT Building
- Thursday 1/23/14, 9am - 5pm, atrium of the CIT Building
- Friday 1/24/2014, 11:30am - 1pm, Sharpe Refectory
- Monday 1/27/2014, 11:30am-1pm Verney-Woolley
- Tuesday 1/28/14, 3pm - 5pm, Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library
- Wednesday 1/29/14, 3:30pm - 5pm, Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center
- Thursday 1/30/14, 3pm - 5pm, Hecker Center, Rockefeller Library
- Friday 1/31/2014, 2pm - 4pm Arnold Lounge - Keeney Quad
- Monday 2/3/2014, 2pm - 4pm, Barbour Hall - 1st Floor Lounge
- Tuesday 2/4/2014, 11:30am - 1pm, Emery Hall - Entrance near gym
- Wednesday 2/5/2014, 2pm - 4pm, Vartan Gregorian Quand - Entry to Josiah's - Cancelled due to weather
Brown is participating in National Data Privacy Month from January 28th-February 28th, 2014. While not as an intensive campaign as we do each October for Cyber Security Month, there are still opportunities to hear from experts, learn how to protect your individual privacy online, and view an intriguing documentary. More on that later.
Privacy is a large concern to many people, and with so much of our lives and actions online, protecting one’s privacy is becoming increasingly more difficult. I'm sure that you are all aware of the breach of credit cards and personal information from Target, and maybe even have been directly impacted by it. With more and more information being made available by the company, it is now considered the largest breach in the history of personal data. While we laugh that it is no surprise given the name "target", it is no laughing matter. Many of the victims have had their finances, credit and personal lives negatively impacted. Sadly, attacks such as this will continue, as the value of the data continues to increase.
Maintaining your privacy takes effort, and the ISG is here to help. With webpages offering advice, a national webcast on January 30th by Robert Ellis Smith (the nation’s leading privacy advocate), and an ISG brown bag lunch February 24 on "Your Life Online", you have opportunities over the next few weeks to gain insight and knowledge on not only protecting your privacy, but what to do if your information is leaked.
We will also be providing a screening of an intriguing documentary called Terms and Conditions May Apply. Including a Q&A session afterwards with leading members of the Brown community in this area, it will be both an eye-opening and valuable night. I hope that you can attend. Details at brown.edu/go/TACMA.
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback. Please feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com, or the group at ISG@brown.edu. Let me know how we are doing, areas of concern you may have, or questions on protecting your identity, privacy or personal computing security. And remember, sec_rity is not complete without U!
Think you may have been part of a security breach affecting Target or other retailers? ISG recommends that, whether or not you might have been a victim, there are a few things you can do to protect your identity as well as financial reputation.
Keep an eye on your bank account statements
Most banking institutions allow you to set alerts for unusual activity, so that information is pushed to you rather than your needing to remember to log into your account everyday. Jay Gatten of The Human Defense suggests having a text sent to you for any transaction (including cash withdrawals) over $100 (or whatever amount you are most comfortable with).
Debit or Credit?
Gatten as well as others also recommend not using your debit card as a debit card, since its PIN could be captured when slid or inserted in a rogue POS (point of sale) device. Instead, use credit cards whenever possible, which allow you to use the bank's money until you pay it back. This is the reason they will take immediate action if there is a chance of credit card fraud. (Watch this recent news story for more on debit versus credit.) Another alternative: use cash whenever possible, such as at gas stations.
Order free credit reports
An amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the three major nationwide consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. This means you can track request a report every four months. You can order reports at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
FTC & Identity Theft
Beware phishing attempts
Some of the expected fallout from the recent breaches is phishy emails, text or even phone calls to those whose personal information was stolen. Because of this, be extra vigilant for anything that doesn't quite seem right. Learn how to spot a phish at www.brown.edu/go/phishing. Unfortunately, the "Important message from Target to our guests" email that was sent mid-January looks a bit phishy. What do you think they could have done better? On the plus side, the letters did contain helpful recommendations, much like what was contained here. But it also included an offer for a free credit report that some have found confusing or are unable to act upon since they don't have email and access to the Internet.
Home networks were relatively simple several years ago, perhaps nothing more than a wireless access point and a computer or two used to surf the Internet or play games online. However, home networks have become increasingly complex. Not only are we connecting more devices to our home networks, but we are doing more things with them. In this edition we will cover some basic steps to creating a more secure home network.
Your Wireless Network
Almost every home network starts with a wireless network (sometimes called a Wi-Fi network). This is what enables you to wirelessly connect any of your devices to the Internet, from laptops and tablets to gaming consoles and televisions. For this to happen, your wireless network needs something called a wireless access point. This is a physical device that connects to your Internet router (or may be built into your Internet router) and sends out a wireless signal that your devices connect to. Once your devices connect to the access point, they can then connect to other devices on your home network and the Internet. As a result, your wireless access point is one of the key parts of your home network. As such, we recommend the following steps to securing it:
- For most wireless access points, the default administrator login and password is well-known and often even posted on the Internet. As such, be sure to change the default administrator login and password to something that only you know. Make sure that it is a unique password and is not used for any of your other accounts.
- Another option you will need to configure is the name of your wireless network (sometimes called your SSID). This is the name your devices will see when they search for local wireless networks. Give your network name something unique so you can easily identify it, but make sure it does not contain any personal information. Also, there is little value in configuring your network as hidden (or non-broadcast). Most wireless scanning tools or any skilled attacker can easily discover the details of a hidden network.
- The next step is ensuring that only people you know and trust can connect to and use your wireless network, and that those connections are encrypted. You want to be sure that neighbors or strangers cannot connect to or monitor your network. You can easily mitigate these risks by enabling strong security on your wireless access point. Currently, the best option is to use the security mechanism WPA2. By simply enabling this, you require a password for people to connect to your home network and, once authenticated, those connections are encrypted. Be sure you do not use older, outdated security methods such as WEP, or no security at all (which is called an open network). An open network allows anyone to connect to your wireless network without any authentication.
- Make sure the password people will use to connect to your wireless network is a strong, hard-to-guess password and that it is different from the administrator password. Remember, you most likely have to enter the password only once for each of your devices, as they will each store and remember the password.
- Many wireless access points support what is called a Guest Network. A Guest Network allows visitors to connect to your wireless access point and access the Internet, but they cannot connect to any of the devices on your home network. If you add a Guest Network, be sure to enable WPA2 and a different password for this network.
- If you can’t remember the different passwords then use a password manager to securely store them.
Once you have your wireless network configured, we recommend you configure your home network to use OpenDNS as your DNS servers (or a similar service, such as Norton ConnectSafe for Home). When you type a name into your browser, DNS is how your browser knows which server on the Internet to connect to. Services such as OpenDNS identify known, infected websites and stop any device connected to your home wireless network from accidentally visiting these infected websites. In addition, these services often give you the ability to filter and block objectionable websites. What makes this approach so effective is there is no software to install on your devices, you just make a change to your wireless access point.
The next step involves knowing what is connected to your home network and making sure those devices are secure. This used to be simple, as you only had a few devices connected in the past. Nowadays, however, almost anything can connect to your home network, including TVs, gaming consoles, baby monitors, speakers, your house thermometer and even your car. Once you identify all the devices on your home network, you may be surprised by just how many you have. The best way to keep all of these devices secure is to ensure they are always running the latest version of their operating system. Be sure you have auto-update enabled when possible. If this is not an option, then review and update your devices monthly, if possible. In addition, be sure to visit your Internet service provider's website, as they may provide free tools and services to help you secure your home network.
- OpenDNS: http://www.opendns.org
- Norton ConnectSafe: http://dns.norton.com/dnsweb/dnsForHome.do
- Network Security Scanner: http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/network-security-scan.aspx
- Password Managers: http://www.securingthehuman.org/resources/newsletters/ouch/2013#october2013
Note: This article was prepared by Kevin Johnson, who is the CEO at Secure Ideas, runs MySecurityScanner.com and is a senior instructor with the SANS Institute. You can find more information at www.secureideas.com. It was prepared for the January 2014 issue of OUCH!, Securing Your New Tablet. OUCH! is published by SANS Securing The Human and is distributed under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 license. You are free to share or distribute this article as long as you do not sell or modify it. For past editions or translated versions, visit www.securingthehuman.org/ouch. Editorial Board: Bill Wyman, Walt Scrivens, Phil Hoffman, Bob Rudis