Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities

Posted on Categories Notification
The latest computer vulnerabilities, being called Meltdown and Spectre, relate to how the CPU (brain) of computers operates. The major software vendors are releasing patches to their software (Windows, MacOS, linux) to deal with the vulnerabilities.
We are updating servers as the updates are made available by vendors. We may have to schedule some off-hours downtime for major services to complete the patching.
For institutional PCs we’ll be pushing out updates once they are available.  For Macs those will be pushed by Apple through the App Store under the Apple Menu. On your personal computers be sure to run your system updates.
Early news reports suggest computers may become slower after the patching though whether that will be noticeable will likely depend on how old the computer is.
We’ll be monitoring this as it continues to unfold.

Sharing Google documents or another phishing attack?

Posted on Categories Security

What happened?

The afternoon of May 3 saw a widespread phishing attack across the internet.  The phishing attack is an email that looks like a Google document sharing request as shown below.

It is a convincing phish but note the odd To: address.  That should be a warning sign that something is off.  In some cases people recognized the name of the person but perhaps it was spelled slightly wrong.  That’s another warning sign.

The link, which you should not click on, takes you to a page that appears to request access to your Google account.  Real Google docs do not need this access.  Once you grant access they will try to send more messages using your account to your contact list.

What can I do?

First, if you clicked the link you should change your password on Inside Augsburg.  This is true for any phishing email that has fooled you into clicking on a link.

Second, and more importantly this time, is you need to review all connected Applications and Websites connected to your Google account.  The phish has tricked you into giving their application access to your Google account.  You do not want that.

This is done in three quick steps.

  1. Visit
  2. Under Sign-in & Security pick Connected apps & sites
  3. Click MANAGE APPS and review and remove any sites or apps that you do not recognize.  This phish shows up as “Google Docs” which is very tricky.  If you see that listed, remove it.


How can I learn more about information security?

We have a broad information security self-paced course in moodle that anyone at Augsburg can complete to improve their information security awareness skills.  The course has about 35 minutes of short videos (closed captioned, no sound required).  You can find it in moodle community at the following address

Emergency Maintenance – Switch Restart 12/8/2016

In an effort to resolve the sporadic and unpredictable routing issues we will be restarting the the affected network switch.
Maintenance Window:
5:00am – 5:45am
Estimated Downtime within Maint. Window:
Internet Traffic: 5-10 minutes (ingress and egress from campus)

National Cyber Security Awareness Month – Week 1

Posted on Categories NCSAM

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) – celebrated every October – was created as a collaborative effort between government and businesses to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online.

At Augsburg, Faculty and Staff should yearly renew their Information Security Awareness Certificate through the short, 30 minute Moodle course.

If you ever have questions regarding information and computer security, an odd email message you receive, or other questions regarding data safety, do not hesitate to contact your LFC or the TechDesk


Find out more information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month at their website

Week 1: Oct. 3-7
STOP. THINK. CONNECT.: The Basic Steps to Online Safety and Security
Staying safer and more secure online starts with STOP. THINK. CONNECT. – the simple, actionable advice anyone can follow. STOP: make sure security measures are in place. THINK: about the consequences of your actions and behaviors online. CONNECT: and enjoy the Internet.

Whether banking, shopping, social networking, tracking our health or downloading the latest app, in today’s interconnected world, practicing good cybersecurity is critical. All digital citizens must learn to stay safer and more secure in their ever-expanding digital lives, including by preventing and responding to identity theft and scams, ensuring that home networks are secure, managing the security of mobile devices and teaching children to use the Internet safely, securely and responsibly. Week 1 shares simple ways we can protect ourselves and communities along with actions to take if impacted by a breach, cybercrime or other online issue. It will also examine the outlook for cybersecurity jobs and how to engage young people in pursuing careers devoted to protecting the Internet.


National Cyber Security Month Info Graphic

Scheduled Maintenance 4/26

As a part of utility relocation preparation for Hagfors Center construction, Information Technology is required to perform maintenance on one of our redundant fiber internet connections.

Maintenance Window:
9:00pm – 11:00pm

Estimated Downtime within Maint. Window:
Internet Traffic: 1-2 minutes
Augsburg Network Services at Luther Seminary (PA Program): 30-60 minutes



On Tuesday, April 26, beginning at 9:00pm and lasting until approximately 11:00pm, our redundant fiber connection will be reconfigured potentially causing a 1-2 minute network outage while Internet traffic flows to our other internet connection.
  • If on campus during this time, you may experience a 1-2 minute of issues contacting some web pages before resolving correctly.  Simply refresh the page and it should resolve shortly.  Access to Moodle on-campus will be uninterrupted.
  • If off campus during this time, you may experience a 1-2 minute period where you are unable to access Augsburg web sites (moodle, etc) before resolving correctly.  Simply refresh the page and it should resolve shortly.
Also, Augsburg network services at Luther Seminary for the PA Program will be unavailable for the duration of the reconfiguration.

HeartBleed bug and Augsburg

Posted on Categories Security

You may recently have heard about Heartbleed, one of the biggest internet security flaws known and that essentially is a security flaw that makes many site passwords vulnerable.

While accounts at Augsburg have not been directly affected by HeartBleed, it is worth taking the precautionary measure of resetting passwords you use for social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and email accounts through services such as Yahoo and more.

It is especially important that departments and individuals who manage official social media accounts for the College (such as athletic and academic departments) change the passwords used for these sites.

IT staff further recommend that that Augsburg accounts each have unique passwords. A best practice is to avoid using the same password for multiple sites. This situation clearly illustrates the risk.

A full list of all the sites known to have password systems that are vulnerable are listed at

Please contact your LFC if you have questions about resetting your password.

Google: welcome to change

Posted on Categories Google

Where’s my apps menu?


Last week your menu looked something like above and now it looks something like below.  The apps menu (Search, Images, Mail, Drive, Calendar etc.) has been replaced with a new apps icon.

Screen Shot 2013-11-03

The apps icon is over on the right and is a menu of the apps available to you.  Click on the icon to see your apps and select the one you want.

New apps


Why did the menu change?

Google will be rolling out new features continually.  This is the new world we are working in.  The google platform of products will always be changing.  This change first came to users (you might have seen this already on your personal gmail) and the education customers like ourselves soon follow.  Seeing a change in your account is a good heads-up that it will be coming soon to your Augsburg gmail account as well.

To learn about why this changed you can read google’s help document here.  You can also read google’s official blog for news on upcoming google changes.

On the road to Google

Posted on Categories Google



With the pilot long over the first wave (the early birds!) have moved to google apps for education (GAE) almost 2 weeks ago.  We now have over 100 faculty and staff in GAE as well as about 300 students.  In less than a month everyone will be switched.

This is a good opportunity to point out some links to what’s coming in google apps.  One of the main new realities with GAE is that it will always be changing as google adds more features.  We won’t have control over when the new features appear.  They will just appear.  Get ready!

Google publishes its calendar of new features at For example, in the near future you’ll see


Google pilots take flight

Posted on Categories Google

The information technology department has started to convert over to google as part of our pilot phase of the Google project.  I’ve been using Gmail for my Augsburg mail now for two days (I’ve used for my personal email for a few years).  So far I’m really enjoying it.  I’m finding all of my mail tasks faster than in GroupWise and I find I can file messages away by using labels much much faster than I could in GroupWise with folders.  This will help me keep my inbox smaller which I really need to do!  I’ll see how I’m doing one week from now.

The next step is getting four pilot departments going:

  • Library
  • Math
  • Residence Life
  • TRiO/SSS

Those departments will be switching over in the next week.  We will use feedback from those departments to help inform the IT Advisory Group when they meet in April to decide on the move.  So far all the feedback from the brown bag sessions in December and January has been positive and many good questions were raised and added to the FAQ.

If you have any questions feel free to ask your LFC or the Techdesk.

Phishing – when at first you succeed, try and try again

Posted on Categories Security

Let’s try again.

The phishing attack from about 2 weeks ago is back and it brought friends.  The email is nearly the same too.  The last attack did trick some people so they might have thought they’d try it again.  Here is the first email from today:

Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 8.23.21 AM

This time they fixed the typo.  Did you catch it last time?  I’ll review the phishy aspects of this email.  All of these are red flags that should make you suspicious.  If you feel suspicious then it is likely a scam and you can delete it.  Always feel free to ask us too.

  1. You are being asked to login and update your email address.
  2. The subject is pretty generic.
  3. The From is and not
  4. The message is not TO: you, it is BC: (blind carbon copied) at you.
  5. If you clicked on the link (which you should not!) it goes to which looks a bit odd.

Shortly after the above email another phishing email was sent that represents a more standard attack.

Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 10.21.01 AM

Let’s count the red flags.

  1. The subject is pretty generic.
  2. The From is (not the IRS).
  3. There is an urgency to the message and it involves taxes.  Why would you need to visit a website about tax forms within 48 hours?
  4. The web address actually goes to a totally different website (see below).

About the web address.

Many email programs allow you to move your mouse over the link without clicking on it.  That way you can see where the link will go before clicking on it.  My GroupWise client shows the link at the bottom of the email window (shown below).  In both cases the actual destination is not the same as what the link appears to be in the email (big red flag).

Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 8.41.18 AM

Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 10.21.01 AM

This time I took a picture of the first login page before we blocked it on campus.  They made a copy of one of our web pages to try to fool you.

Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 8.17.29 AM

Even though the page doesn’t have any Augsburg logos it looks rather official.  But again, if you did click on the link (which you should not do!) notice the web address in the browser address bar at the top.  There is nothing there that looks familiar and the .br (Brazil!) should be a big red flag.

The second phishing email’s website is very very tricky. See below.


Let’s see what red flags exist on this web page.

  1. The address in the address bar is .br (Brazil).  That should be a big red flag.
  2. The web page is asking for your Social Security Number and birth date.  Those should set off your alarms right away.  Those two pieces of information are critical to your personal information security.  You should never be entering those online in response to an email.  Those two pieces of information are the keys that gain entry into your whole personal financial world — guard them like they are made of gold.

What should I do if I did enter my password?

  1. The first thing you should do is go change your password on Inside Augsburg.
  2. Don’t worry if you can’t login to change your password — try to use the “Forgot password” link to reset it.
  3. If you can’t reset it just call the Tech Desk or your LFC to get your account unlocked.  It is very likely that if you gave up your password that they are already sending spam and Augsburg IT will detect the 100s of emails being sent and will have changed your password to lock out the phishing attacker.
  4. After you have changed your password be sure to update your phone and other mobile devices with the new password.

And to illustrate again, here is another student video this time from CalPoly Pomona.