If You Are Having Trouble Or Have A Computer Question
Contact the NDSU Help Desk @ (701) 231-8685 option 1
Incorrectly Configured Home Storage and Backup Devices May Be Giving Your Files Away
Updated 4:01PM, April 10th 2015
Recently it has been reported by a number of online news sites that somehow, documents containing people's private data including tax records, personal photos, financial information and even passwords have been indexed by Google and are viewable with the right search criteria. The cause of this issue are network connected devices designed for home storage and backup. Also referred to as "cloud storage" devices, these inexpensive devices are in no way related to the enterprise-level cloud storage used on campus. While the on-campus cloud storage we use such as OneDrive and Google Drive are highly secure and safe to use, the problem with the inexpensive storage is that they are often confusing and/or difficult to secure properly. There is no standard to the types of options or interfaces used to secure these devices which makes it very easy to overlook a critical security setting.
You might be asking "Why is this important?" or "If the cloud storage on campus is secure, how does this affect us?". The issue lies with people looking to buy additional devices for their offices to perform backups or just store data in general. While this is a practice we highly encourage, when purchasing a device it is important to pay attention to its advertised features. An inexpensive external USB hard drive is generally a good choice as it connects directly to a computer with a cable. However, some drives (often using the word "cloud" in their name) and other storage devices offer features that give you the ability to access them from multiple computers or while away from the office. While this sounds good in theory, if it isn't secured correctly you may be inadvertently sharing your files for anyone online to see. If you're looking for a backup option but aren't sure what to look for or have questions about a model you're thinking of buying, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to visit with you about the right backup drive for your needs.
If you already have one of these devices at work (or at home for that matter), we strongly recommend you visit the manufacturers website, download the latest copy of the user manual for your specific device and walk through the section on securing the device very carefully. If you still have questions after reading the manual, most manufacturers maintain some type of phone number, email address and sometimes even an online chat form to help you get it configured correctly.
Computer Order Form Now Online
Updated 3:08PM, October 28th 2014
For those offices ordering computers that are NOT through the Extension equipment / cost-share program, we now have an order form online to help simplify the process. To use the form, click on the Computer Orders link on the left-hand side of the screen and fill in the requested information.
For those looking to submit requests for the Extension equipment / cost-share program, please continue to use the same procedure as before. Do NOT use this form!
Windows XP No Longer Receiving Security Updates From Microsoft
Microsoft finally ended support for Windows XP on April 8th 2014. What this means is that Microsoft will no longer put out any security updates for XP, leaving it vulnerable to any new security holes that may be discovered in it.
While we recommend replacing any old XP machines, you can continue to run them at your own risk. ACCS will be unable to assist with any type of support in relation to XP computers.
NDSU Staff Receive Phony Support Calls
Over the last year, there have been a small number of situations where someone at NDSU has received a phone call from someone claiming to be a representative of Microsoft (these were received on personal unlisted cell phones). In each case, the callers claimed that the individual's computer was infected and/or had major problems. They then convinced the victim to allow them to remotely connect to the computer in order to take a closer look. While each case ended differently, in at least one of the cases a person was scammed into purchasing an expensive piece of software that was unnecessary.
Any time a company calls you for information or computer access (and you didn't call them first), it should be a red flag that something may not be right.
If you happen to receive a phone call you believe may be a scam or if you believe you have been scammed, please contact the NDSU Help Desk. This is especially important if you have allowed someone on your computer as they may have made modifications or planted software on your computer to steal information.
Here is some additional information and a video of the scam in action:
Youtube video of the scam in action - be sure to turn up the volume, its hard to hear the caller