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Securing Your Computing Resources
by Jodi-Ann Ito

Any computer with a connection to the Internet is at risk of being "hacked" (undetected altering or deletion of files, directories, and programs usually with malicious intent) or infected with viruses. The longer the computer is turned on and connected to the network, the more vulnerable the system is. This includes desktop computers and departmental servers directly connected to the UH network or the Internet and home computers connected to cable modems or using dial-up IP protocols (such as PPP) for long periods of time. These systems can be used as "hopping on and off" points to launch attacks against other targeted systems and networks. Hacked systems were used to launch the highly publicized distributed denial-of-service attacks against Ebay and Yahoo in early February. Unsecured mail systems can be used for unauthorized mail forwarding services such as spam relays or mail spoofing (hiding the original identity of the sender). Viruses are easily propagated, undetected until something on their system fails. To protect the integrity of the Internet, every user should be aware of the security vulnerabilities of their systems and take the appropriate steps to secure them and prevent the spread of viruses.

Here are some tips to help you:

Protect all your usernames and passwords. This applies to any server accounts and passwords, workstation accounts and passwords, application accounts and passwords, and your ITS username and password. Do not write your password down and tape it to your computer, monitor, or underside of your keyboard. Select a good password and keep it secure.

A good password:

  • is eight or more characters in length
  • uses a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and if possible, symbols.
  • doesn't use words that can be found in dictionaries of any language. Hackers have enormous dictionary files on hand that can match passwords made up of foreign words or phrases.
  • doesn't use proper names or names of spouses or friends.
  • doesn't use words spelled backwards. Hackers have programs that flip words back and forth.

Additionally, don't use the same password for different computer systems or programs. If any one of the systems is breached, all of them may become compromised as a result of a universal password. Never give out your password to strangers whose assistance is unsolicited. And change passwords periodically.

Install a virus detection program and the latest virus definition files to prevent the proliferation of viruses. ITS has licensed McAfee for the University of Hawaii. Members of the UH community can download the appropriate anti-virus program for their system from www.hawaii.edu/sitelic/antivirus.

Stay abreast of the alerts and bug fixes for your operating system and applications. All vendors maintain Web sites with information about known system and application vulnerabilities and provide updates to correct the problems. Install all the latest patches for your operating system and applications to protect the integrity of your systems.

And if your system is connected to the Internet for extended periods of time, consider installing a firewall such as Norton Internet Security 2000 or Black Ice.

Here are a few helpful resources and mailing lists to get you started:


UH Site Licenses
by Jodi-Ann Ito

ITS has been continually negotiating system-wide software site licenses and purchasing agreements with various companies to help reduce the cost of software for UH departments. The most popular purchasing agreement is the Microsoft Open License Program, which includes most of the commonly used Microsoft applications. As an example of cost differences, purchasing MS Office 2000 for Windows (standard edition) will cost approximately $159 at the academic pricing. The Open License price of the same license and media is $60. Many of the other licenses provide similar cost savings. For a complete list of all site license offerings, see
www.hawaii.edu/sitelic.

Of special interest to all users is the McAfee anti-virus site license. To prevent the proliferation of viruses throughout the University, ITS purchased a site license for McAfee's VirusScan (for Windows 9x/NT), NetShield (for NT/Netware), and Virex (for Macs) and is making it available free of charge to all UH faculty, staff, and students. For details on how to download and install the software, visit www.hawaii.edu/sitelic/antivirus.

Each license has its own rules, license periods, distribution of media, etc. Please check for individual details for each product when visiting the site license Web page by clicking on the specific product. If you have additional questions, e-mail the Site License Administrator at sladmin@hawaii.edu.

UH Disposal Guidelines for Obsolete Computer Equipment
by Iris Takamiya

Your old computer or printer may be just what another department or state agency is looking for. Equipment may be transferred within your department, to other UH departments, or other state departments or agencies. Access the UH electronic swap meet at dbserver.its.hawaii.edu/swapmeet to advertise your items; you may even find an item or two that you could use in your office!

If there are no departments interested in your surplus equipment, several organizations will accept used computers and peripherals to be placed in schools or other non-profit areas. As a last resort and to avoid landfill overuse, approval can be obtained to dispose of the equipment by salvaging for spare parts or sending to a recycling center.

Visit www.hawaii.edu/infotech/policies/disposal to view the complete University of Hawaii Disposal Guidelines for Obsolete Computer Equipment.

TALENT Summer Institute
by Hae Okimoto

Information Technology Services (ITS) will be sponsoring a summer institute on issues and pedagogical strategies surrounding the design, creation, and delivery of Internet-supported course materials. The institute will be conducted on the UH Manoa campus, with limited housing available for neighbor island participants at the East-West Center's Lincoln Hall.

Faculty will have an environment for the creation of course materials using the Internet and other multi-media and interactive technologies. WebCT will be highlighted as it is the course management tool supported by ITS. Workshop participants, working in collaboration with instructional design and technical staff, will share technical, instructional, and disciplinary skills in the design and development of instructional materials. The workshop will be a mix of colloquia, in-depth hands-on workshops, and assisted lab times. It is expected that faculty will create materials to be used in their courses during the 2000 -2001 academic year. Faculty will also be expected to participate in faculty development activities during that academic year. In order to provide maximum support for institute participants, only 30 faculty throughout the University of Hawaii system will be accepted.

All faculty selected for participation MUST participate in TALENT 101, an online course during the month of April, which will require approximately two hours each week.

Application information and a tentative schedule for the 2000 TALENT Summer Institute can be found at:
www.hawaii.edu/dl/talent/summer00.html

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