As another academic year begins at Carolina, I welcome our new and returning students, and members of the faculty and staff.
Carolina provides tremendous information technology resources, including an excellent research and teaching network with outstanding Internet connectivity. As you use IT resources, please remember that Carolina’s network is an extension of the Internet with all the opportunities and risks that entails.
The links below summarize a few critical technology issues. Please take a moment to review them:
- IT assistance
- Using Sakai
- Carolina IT policies including protection of copyrighted materials
- Protecting your personal computer
- Stopping spam and phishing
- Filtering of spam and malicious email
All of us in Carolina’s Information Technology Services wish you safe computing for a productive and satisfying year at Carolina.
Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Everyone at Carolina is welcome to contact the ITS Help Desk at (919) 962-HELP, whose professionals will either answer your question or route you to the right person for support. IT support staff in your department might have additional guidance to help you take advantage of IT resources at Carolina.
Sakai (http://sakai.unc.edu) is UNC-Chapel Hill’s Learning Management System. Sakai provides online discussion forums, online gradebooks, resource sharing, test/quizzes, and other technologies in support of instruction. Almost 4,000 courses utilize Sakai in some form this fall 2013 academic term, so it is likely you will use it.
You can access materials online:
- Tutorials: http://sakaitutorials.unc.edu
- Embedded Sakai help: https://sakai.unc.edu/portal/help
- Blog: http://blog.sakai.unc.edu
We actively build enhancements to Sakai based on your feedback and needs. So good luck; and let us know how we can support you!
All of Carolina’s electronic resources are governed by applicable laws and policies, including Carolina’s IT Appropriate Use Policy. The IT Appropriate Use Policy may be viewed at the ITS policies pages along with other IT policies and guidelines. All Carolina faculty, staff, students, and affiliates are responsible for observing and following the above policies.
University policy covering use of the Carolina network extends to any computers you connect to the Carolina network, whether at home or elsewhere off campus. If you use VPN or remote desktop connections from home, your home network may become visible as part of the Carolina network.
Sharing copyrighted materials without permission is illegal. Peer to peer (P2P) software (such as Kazaa, Gnutella, Limewire) often promote such sharing, and can undermine network security and expose your computer to threats, such as viruses, malware, password and identity theft, spyware and other threats that can incapacitate computers and place personal information at risk.
IT security presents a growing risk to Carolina overall and to all of us in our individual roles as members of the Carolina community. The above policies were designed to help address rapidly evolving IT security risks. Again, Carolina provides you with tremendous information technology resources; the referenced policies help assure the stability and availability of these resources to support the mission of the University.
- If you have questions, please do not hesitate to seek technology help as described above.
- If at any time you believe sensitive, University-owned data may be in danger, please call (919) 962-HELP. Staff members are available 24x7x365 to respond to these risks.
Please take the time to familiarize yourself with Carolina’s IT policies. Violators of any University policies will be subject to appropriate discipline.
The security of your individual computer can have serious consequences for the entire community. Compromised computers are often the first step in more substantial attacks on Carolina systems, and even individual machines can create substantial network trouble resulting, for example, in Carolina becoming blocked by other networks.
You can minimize risk to yourself and to our community by keeping your machine up to date with browser and security patches and otherwise well-maintained. You may want to consider running a weekly scan provided by Qualys to check your browser security.
Carolina makes available antivirus software for your computer via the University Shareware site. Please remember that we may have to disconnect a compromised computer from the network to protect the community. If your computer is blocked, staff at (919) 962-HELP will assist you in determining the cause and returning your system to the network.
Physical theft of portable computing devices is a significant risk. Securing confidential or protected data on your computing devices and portable media is of the utmost importance. If your mobile computer works with sensitive, University-owned data, it must be encrypted by policy to protect that data.
If your computing device or portable media is lost or stolen, you should report the theft to campus police.
“Phishing” scams—email attempts to harvest passwords and other personal information—continue to proliferate across the Internet. Carolina has been deluged with increasingly sophisticated “phishing” schemes. These phishers/scam artists always claim to be a reputable source. Recent examples appeared to be “from” Carolina ITS, Technical Support Team, and many others. Some of these messages even suggest that the message is in response to recent phishing attempts! As these messages proliferate, we caution you to be a skeptical consumer of information.
ITS will NEVER ask you to provide private information about any account via email. Any message that requests such information is fraudulent and should be deleted.
If you suspect that a message is fraudulent, check the ITS HELP website for a notice. If you do not find such a notice, please call (919) 962-HELP to report the matter.
Be a skeptical network user: do not trust a URL you see as a link in an email message. If you have any concerns, roll your mouse cursor over the link to see where the link is attempting to direct you. If you believe you can trust that location, type the web site address manually into your web browser.
If not the biggest risk, certainly the biggest annoyance is the Internet scourge of spam – along with related virus-laden and phishing email. Every single day, Carolina discards or tags an immense amount of inbound email from the Internet as spam, virus or phishing email. If you suspect a message is spam, report the matter to University support staff.
Please note that centralized filtering in a complex university environment has to be conservative to avoid discarding legitimate email. Once you have reported an email as suspicious for phishing or spam, the appropriate staff will assess whether and to what extent similar messages might be blocked without negatively affecting the mission of the University.
Never click on web links in email you receive unless you are confident of the sender’s identity and that it is a trusted site. Never open an unexpected attachment (even if the sender appears to be someone you know) — contact senders to confirm they actually sent you an attachment.
Carolina’s network provides access to a tremendous suite of resources, but Internet use does carry risk. Being a skeptical networker can greatly minimize your exposure.