Recent Official Emails Sent By WTS


  • April 03, 2020

    Subject: Message about Zoom at Western

    This is an official email from Western Technology Services and can be verified at: wts.uwo.ca/official_emails/.

    Colleagues,

    In recent weeks, as the private sector and public institutions across the globe have moved their operations into online formats, web-conferencing tools have become a much in-demand service.

    At Western, there are two centrally provided web-conferencing solutions: Blackboard Collaborate (used within the OWL platform) and Zoom. Over the past two weeks, the widespread use of Zoom has been unprecedented in its growth, both here at Western as well as within the higher education sector and other industries.

    The reliance on Zoom has produced some anxieties regarding privacy and security, which have heightened over the past three weeks as a result of intense use of the platform.

    It is important that all Zoom users adhere to the following:

    ZOOM MEETINGS: PRIVACY & SECURITY

    • Do not post group pictures of your meeting on social media without consent from each participant;
    • Be mindful of what is in your background during your meeting;
    • Be aware of who can listen to your meeting;
    • Use the options within Zoom to control screen/whiteboard sharing and who has access to your meeting (waiting room, password, distribution of link);
    • When sharing screens, ensure no private information is open on your desktop.

    The contract between Western University and Zoom stipulates several provisions for the protection of personal information provided through our use of the service. For example, Zoom is prohibited from sharing personal information with third parties unless authorized by Western.

    There are other concerns Zoom is addressing and those details can be found here.

    WTS has posted Zoom best practices and information on Zoom’s privacy and security issues at: https://wts.uwo.ca/zoom/best-practices.html.

    Western stands behind the choice to use Zoom for communications related to research, teaching, learning and related administrative matters of the university.

    WTS will continue to monitor issues related to this platform and will provide updates to the community as we become aware.


    Sincerely,
    Colin Couchman
    Director Western Technology Services (WTS) & CISO
    Cyber Security and Business Services


  • March 20, 2020

    Subject: WROAMS Best Practices

    This is an official email from Western Technology Services and can be verified at: wts.uwo.ca/official_emails/.

    Colleagues,

    As a WROAMS user, there are some best practices that we would like you to be aware of now that so many Western faculty and staff are working from home:

    Disconnect WROAMS when not in use.
    As many of you will know, ROAMs has a 4 hour timeout. With many people working their entire day from home, there are some who are remaining connected longer than the 4 hours continuously. While the system provides an option to extend, we are hearing a few reports that under certain circumstances extending beyond the 4 hours may hang the computer reestablishing the connection.

    In order to mitigate this, we are recommending that you disconnect and reconnect before the 4 hour mark as a safeguard. For example, you can disconnect when taking a meal break (or any other break) and reconnect when you are ready to actively engage with the system again.

    Ideally, you should only be connected to the system when you are actively using it.


    Consider moving files that you access via WROAMS to OneDrive.
    WROAMS access is not required to use OneDrive. OneDrive is available to all faculty and staff to use for file storage. More information about using OneDrive can be found at wts.uwo.ca/services/onedrive.html.


    Keep your Pulse Secure client as well as the system you are using up to date with versions and patches.
    You will be prompted after logging in to update your Pulse Secure client when new versions are available. Keeping your Pulse Secure client and your system current with patches and drivers will help to ensure that your system is protected.

    If you have any questions, please contact the WTS Helpdesk by submitting a JIRA ticket at jira.uwo.ca/servicedesk.


    Sergio Rodriguez,
    Director, Client Services
    Western Technology Services


  • March 19, 2020

    Subject: Message Regarding Cyber Safety

    This is an official email from Western Technology Services and can be verified at: wts.uwo.ca/official_emails/.

    Western Students,

    As the campus community comes together to address the new realities prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask that you make cyber safety a top priority as you continue your studies.

    Unfortunately, situations such as these invite opportunities for malicious actors to target our systems and our community.

    Western Technology Services wants to make you aware of several possible cyber threats to help us all avoid them.

    Cyber Scams
    There are a number of COVID-19 related scams taking place online through spam, phishing and scam emails. Malicious cyber actors are very quick to take advantage of high-profile events which will likely take the form of increased phishing (spam) attempts where the message appears to be from an organization or individual purporting to represent a COVID-19 response.

    In reality, these messages may contain malicious attachments or links whose function is to trick the receiver into giving up email credentials and/or banking information.

    One thing should be clear about the coming weeks: these types of attacks will increase and will look to exploit emerging circumstances.  In some cases, the attack may be quite tailored to a situation, an organization, or an individual.  Be aware of incorrect email addresses and subject lines with a sense of urgency.

    Remain vigilant and verify the source before you respond.

    Recent targeted phishing attempts include:

    • Requests for COVID-19 money donations or app downloads that look like information sharing;
    • Warning messages that appear to come from leaders/managers stating that your email, library or other Western email account is about to expire; and
    • Requests from senior leadership asking for immediate help (“Are you available?”), followed up by an unusual request (“Can you go get me some gift cards?”).

    Tips to Avoid Spam, Phishing, Scam Emails:  wts.uwo.ca/spam_phishing/

    Cyber Security Tips: cybersmart.uwo.ca/help/safety_over_the_internet.html

    Report a Problem: cybersmart.uwo.ca/help/report_a_problem.html

    Cyber Hygiene for COVID-19: cyber.gc.ca/en/guidance/cyber-hygiene-covid-19

    WTS is dedicated to keeping Western’s systems and community as safe as possible. During these unprecedented times, we ask that you be vigilant in watching for cyber security threats and reporting them to WTS. If we work together as a community, we can keep Western’s systems safe and maintain a level operational continuity for all.

    Sincerely,

    Colin Couchman

    Director Western Technology Services (WTS) & CISO

    Cyber Security and Business Services


  • March 19, 2020

    Subject: Message Regarding Cyber Safety

    This is an official email from Western Technology Services and can be verified at: https://wts.uwo.ca/official_emails/.

     

    Colleagues,

    As the campus community comes together to address the new operational realities prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also keep cyber security at the forefront of our practices and support models. 

    Unfortunately, these situations provoke opportunities for malicious actors to target our systems and community.

    These opportunities may take the form of attempts to obtain intellectual property as it relates to ongoing investigations into solving the pandemic by using compromised credentials (through phishing). Or, the attackers might take advantage of institutional distraction to implant ransomware or some other type of attack.

    Western Technology Services wants to make you aware of several possible cyber threats to help us all avoid them.

    Cyber Scams
    There are a number of COVID-19 related scams taking place online through spam, phishing and scam emails. Malicious cyber actors are very quick to take advantage of high-profile events which will likely take the form of increased phishing (spam) attempts where the message appears to be from an organization or individual purporting to represent a COVID-19 response.

    In reality, these messages may contain malicious attachments or links whose function is to trick the receiver into giving up email credentials and/or banking information.

    One thing should be clear about the coming weeks: these types of attacks will increase and will look to exploit emerging circumstances.  In some cases, the attack may be quite tailored to a situation, an organization, or an individual.  Researchers may receive a different appeal than our students, as an example. Be aware of incorrect email addresses and subject lines with a sense of urgency.

    Remain vigilant and verify the source before you respond.

    Recent targeted phishing attempts include:

    • Requests for COVID-19 money donations or app downloads that look like information sharing;
    • Warning messages that appear to come from leaders/managers stating that your email, library or other Western email account is about to expire; and
    • Requests from senior leadership asking for immediate help (“Are you available?”), followed up by an unusual request (“Can you go get me some gift cards?”).

    Tips to avoid these scams are available at https://wts.uwo.ca/spam_phishing/.

    Remote Work
    Many in our community are working from home on personal devices over the coming weeks.  This situation presents a couple of problems. First, the devices in this scenario are typically not managed by Western technology support resources and may be insecure due to updates not being applied.  It is critical that you ensure that you are using a device with a supported operating system (Windows 10, as an example) and that it is up to date in terms of updates from the vendor.

    Second, as our community will use a variety of devices to connect to work over the next number of weeks, it is important that we remain vigilant about risks associated with threats such as ransomware.  Remain aware of the files you are using and be wary of any files or folders that suddenly become inaccessible. Be vigilant and report any anomalies to WTS. For those who would normally use the institutional VPN (ROAMs) for connecting to file shares, it is strongly recommended that you take advantage of Microsoft OneDrive and/or Teams for these activities.

    Student Support
    WTS is continually working to understand how this situation may affect students and will take steps to address any difficulties they may have as they arise. As is usual practice, we will continue to monitor and lock compromised accounts during this time.

    Data Privacy
    Please be mindful that sharing data between Western and off-site computers can provide opportunities for data privacy breaches to occur. The potential for data breach need not be malicious in nature, it could be that your laptop was left somewhere with sensitive data on it. If you suspect that your data privacy has been breached or learn that your PC has been compromised, please report to WTS as soon as possible.

    Cyber Security Tips: https://cybersmart.uwo.ca/help/safety_over_the_internet.html

    Report a Problem: https://cybersmart.uwo.ca/help/report_a_problem.html

    Cyber Hygiene for COVID-19: https://cyber.gc.ca/en/guidance/cyber-hygiene-covid-19

    WTS is dedicated to keeping Western’s systems as safe as possible. During these unprecedented times, we ask that you be vigilant in watching for cyber security threats and reporting them to WTS. If we work together as a community, we can keep Western’s systems and community safe and maintain a level operational continuity for all.

     

    Sincerely, 

    Colin Couchman

    Director Western Technology Services (WTS) & CISO

    Cyber Security and Business Services

     

     



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