Phishing emails on the rise

Over the past few months, we have seen an increase in the number of phishing emails being sent out. Unfortunately, this is a trend that will continue. While the email administrators are working hard to filter out these emails, it is virtually impossible to block all of them from being delivered. Because of this, it is very important for all of us to use caution when checking our email.example phishing email

How can we tell if emails are phishing emails? Phishing emails can be difficult to spot. However, there are several ways that you can identify them.

  1. Check the email for incorrect English. A large percentage of phishing emails will have broken English or will sound off if you read the message aloud.
  2. Check to see if the link is correct. DO NOT CLICK THE LINK, instead place your cursor on top of the link and wait for the link address to come up. If the email is sent as an official OSU email, the address should be an okstate.edu website address. If it is not, it is most likely a phishing email.
  3. Question the sender of the email. If the email states that it is from HR, then the sender should be someone that works within the HR department. If it is not, then most likely it is a phishing email. You can also contact the person who sent the email and ask if the email is real.

What should I do when I receive these emails? First off, you should not click on any of the links in the email. Cliexample phishing emailcking on the links can compromise your account or allow your account to be spoofed (someone mimicking your email address to send out phishing emails to other people.) You can also forward the email to abuse.okstate.edu where the email will be checked and then blocked if found harmful. Then simply delete the email.

What should you do if you clicked on the link? If you accidentally clicked the link, you should change your OKEY password as soon as possible. This is even more important if the link asked you to log in

and you did. If you do not change your password, you could be allowing access to your account and personal information. Clicking links in phishing emails could also install malware on your computer which will need to be removed by your support specialist.

What should I do if I am receiving failed delivery emails for emails that I did not send? You should change your OKEY password immediately. Your account could be spoofed (someone mimicking your email address to send out phishing emails to other people.) Check your sent items folder for emails that you did not send. If they are in your sent items, you will need to contact your support specialist.

What should I do if I receive failed delivery emails to specific email addresses when sending emails? This could mean that your email address is being blacklisted (blocked) by a specific email server. First, double check the email address to be sure it is correct. If the email address is correct and is still being blocked, forward the email containing the delivery failure message to helpdesk@okstate.edu so the email administrators can resolve the issue.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your support specialist.

Microsoft Office 365: Online Archive and importing items from local archive

Office 365 Online Archive

It is hard to believe that it has been 2 years since our email system changed to Microsoft Office 365. While we have seen our fair share of problems with Office 365, the benefits have completely outweighed any of the issues we ran across. Moving from 500 Megabytes (MB) of storage space to 1 Terabyte (TB) per account has been a great asset to us all. Because of this change in storage space, we are no longer required to archive our emails on a regular basis to ensure we continue receiving email. When we switched to Office 365, the old archive settings were removed from our accounts because they were no longer required.Outlook Folder Properties

Office 365 includes an upgraded version of the old archive system we used before. The new online archive saves your email to the cloud instead of saving them to your computer’s hard drive and includes an additional 50 -100 Gigabytes (GB) of storage.) In addition, the archive can be accessed from anywhere and on any device with internet access, by using cowboymail.okstate.edu. The online archive is disabled by default; however, you can change the settings to enable the archive. The following guide will show you have to adjust the archive settings.

  1. In Microsoft Outlook, right click on the folder you would like to archive. (In this example, I will use the inbox.)
  2. Select the Properties button.
  3. Change to the Policy tab at the top of the Properties window.
  4. Use the drop-down list under Online Archive to change the archive settings for the folder.

Moving items from a local archive to Online Archiveinbox-properties

If you have an old archive folder in your Outlook, you should consider moving the files to the Online Archive. The following directions will help you move the files. (Note: Moving files from an archive to the Online Archive will take a while and may lock Outlook up for several minutes. If this happens, be patient and do not close Outlook until it is completed.)

How to move folders

  1. Right-click on the folder in your archive and choose move folder.
  2. In the Move Folder window, scroll to the Online Archive option and select the location you would like the folder to be placed. (If you want the folder in the root of the Online Archive, select Online Archive – “Your Email Address”.)
  3. Click OK.

How to move individual filesmove-folder

  1. Open the old archive folder containing items you would like to move.
  2. Select the emails to be moved (Control A will select all the emails in the folder.)
  3. Right-click one of the emails to be moved, select move, and then choose other folder.
  4. Navigate to the correct folder and select OK.

 

Tips for purchasing a new computer

Christmas is quickly approaching and it seems that every day there are new and better sales. This is why this time of year is perfect for purchasing a new computer. If you have made it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday and are still looking for a computer or if you have purchased one and want to verify it is a good deal, here are a few guidelines that will help.

Brand: When looking at computers, the brand is very important. There are many cheap computers on the market and they tend to have shorter lifespans and more issues than computers by better-known makers. Dell, HP, ASUS, and Lenovo are a few of the better-known makers. If you are looking for the best quality from these companies, go to a store where you can look at the computers in person.

Processors: The processor is one item that you do not want to cheap out on. Many different processors on the market are acceptable and would do a good job. I tend to recommend going with Intel i5 or i7 processors. They are mid to high-grade processors and include technology to speed up or slow down depending on how you are using your computer.

Random Access Memory (RAM): RAM is another area where you do not want to cheap out. If you purchase too little RAM, your computer will run slower than it should. A good starting place with RAM is 4 Gigabytes (GB). If you plan to use your computer for more powerful programs like gaming or graphical programs, you should upgrade your RAM to 8 or 16 GBs.

Hard Drive: It is very important that you get a hard drive that is large enough to store your data. I usually recommend getting no less than a 500GB hard drive for a desktop or 256GB hard drive for a laptop. If you plan to store a lot of photos or files, get a larger hard drive. If you run out of space in the future, you can always purchase an external hard drive. However, you want to be sure that your main hard drive is large enough to handle updates and basic files.

Video Card: A video card is very important if you are going to use your computer for gaming or other heavy graphical jobs. Video cards also assist the processor thereby speeding up your computer and giving the computer a longer useful life. AMD and NVidia are both reputable video card producers and offer many good choices when looking at 1-4GB video cards.

Warranty: Most new computers come with a one-year warranty. However, you want to double check this before purchasing. I normally recommend getting the longest warranty you can afford (2-5 years.) If there is an issue with the computer, it should be covered under warranty. If you anticipate the device could be damaged by accident, be sure the warranty includes accidental coverage. Most manufactures warranties will not cover accidental damage.

There are many different options available when purchasing a new computer. Finding the right one at a great price can be difficult at times. I hope that this information makes it a little easier and this is the best time of year to find great deals on new computers. Good luck with your search and have a Happy Holidays!

Cyber Security Awareness Month: Malware on my phone!

October is Cyber Security Awareness month, which makes it a great time to review security on your mobile devices. Instead of elaborating on the staggering statistics showing that malware infections on mobile devices is at an all-time high[1], I wanted to share a personal experience of malware on my cell phone.

A couple months ago I experienced a malware attack on my phone. While at home, I scrolled through Facebook and noticed a link to an article about an accident that had taken place in my home city. The article piqued my curiosity so I clicked the link and instantly regretted my decision. The link opened a website that had been hacked: Multiple popups displayed on my phone screen stating my phone had a virus, and then my phone started vibrating and buzzing like a swarm of bees. After a couple seconds of utter shock I took the following steps to ensure my device was safe and my accounts had not been hacked.

First, I closed the Facebook app without selecting any icon on the screen or attempting to close out the page. I returned to the home screen by pressing the home button. Then, I pressed the button to open recent apps and closed all open applications. (Both Android and Apple devices have this ability.) Using Lookout[2], a mobile security app, I ran a full security scan on my phone. Thankfully, Lookout found that my phone was not infected.

Second, I needed to ensure that my password had not been stolen. On my computer I logged into Facebook and changed my password. From within Facebook, I could force a log out on all devices currently connected to Facebook. I reviewed recent posts to my account. Every post was mine and there was no suspicious activity. As a precaution I uninstalled the Facebook app on my phone then reinstalled it to be sure there were no remnants of malware left on my device. Over the next few days I kept a close eye on the accounts currently connected from my phone to ensure they had not been compromised.

Thankfully, my phone was not infected but it was a frightening experience that emphasized the importance of mobile security. When a similar experience happens to you, it is important you have a plan to lessen its impact. Perhaps the single most important thing you can do to protect your mobile device – and the apps that affect your personal identity – is install an anti-malware security program. Avast[3] and McAfee[4] are great security programs available for both iOS and Android phones. Another good tip is to only save login information for accounts that contain non-critical information. Finally, be cautious with links on social media sites, when downloading new apps, and with any pop-ups on your mobile device. Had I been more cautious, I would not have followed the link in Facebook.

[1] https://www.networkworld.com/article/3185766/security/malware-infection-rate-of-smartphones-is-soaring-android-devices-often-the-target.html

[2] https://www.lookout.com/

[3] https://www.avast.com/

[4] https://www.mcafee.com/

Microsoft OneDrive: online storage and sharing files

Microsoft OneDrive is a great product for online storage and sharing files with your coworkers. If you have not heard of OneDrive before it is very similar to Dropbox or Google Drive. While each of those storage solutions offer a small amount of free storage, as employees of Oklahoma State University, we have one Terabyte of storage space available with OneDrive. This make OneDrive a great asset for us to have at our disposal.office-365

1. How do I access OneDrive?

OneDrive is included with Office 365 and can be accessed the same way you access your Okstate email. Simply login to your email at cowboymail.okstate.edu using your Okey credentials. Then click on the menu button at the top left of the screen or click on the Office 365 button and finally choose OneDrive from the options and it will open your OneDrive account.

2. Is there an easy way to access OneDrive files on my computer?office-365-header

Yes, there is an easy way to access your files from your computer. When your OneDrive account is open, choose the Sync button from the top menu. This will try to connect to OneDrive, which is already installed on your computer. It will open a syncing-filesmessage stating that it is “getting ready to sync.” If it does not automatically connect, then I would suggest downloading the newest version of OneDrive via the popup (shown to the right.) Once OneDrive is installed, login to the work account using your Okey credentials. OneDrive should be included in your Explorer shortcuts. *

3. How do I share files with others?

You can easily share your files with your coworkers from your OneDrive folder either ononedrive-sharing your computer or in your Office 365 account. Simply right click on the folder or file you would like to share and choose share. Then type in the persons email address you would like to share the file with, include an optional message and click send. Alternatively, you can copy a link to the file or use Outlook to send the link. At this time, we are limited to only sharing files with current OSU employees through OneDrive.

4. How do I see a folder that was shared with me on my desktop computer app?

OneDrive does not sync folders that are shared with you to your desktop computer. However, there is a way to get them to sync. Open your OneDrive through Office 365 and then open the folder that is shared with you. Choose the Sync button from the top of the screen and then simply choose what all you would like to be synced to your computer.
At this time you cannot sync individual files to your desktop client.

OneDrive is a great resource that we get free with Office 365. If you have any questions or any problems with OneDrive please contact your DASNR IT Support Specialist.

 

* If you are using OneDrive for Business, you will want to download the newer version of OneDrive.

Social Media Platforms

Social media is a great way to reach out and communicate with your clientele. However, when you look at all of the different kinds and types of social media platforms, it can be very difficult to figure out which one to use. One of the easiest ways to decide is to look at each of the platforms and see how people interact with them and what benefits they can provide. Here are a few examples of the different types of social media platforms.

  1. Facebookfacebook is one of the biggest social media platforms available to date. With currently 1.2 Billion users, Facebook is one of the easiest ways to connect with people. It is great for distributing information by way of links to websites or small important pieces of information, starting conversations with people, scheduling upcoming events and sharing photos and other media. Your Facebook friends can view your information and your posts, they can comment and share it with their friends, and they can give you feedback about your posts and if they will be attending your events.twitter
  2. Twitter is another very large social media platform that has around 328 Million users. It is a micro blogging site that allows you to tweet (share small bits of information and links.) Your Twitter followers can retweet your posts from their twitter accounts and communicate back.
  3. Blogging is another widely used social media tool. Blogging is a great way to distribute medium to large posts with your clientele. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, blogging does not require you to login to or use a specific branded service (like Facebook or Twitter.) You can create your own website or use an existing service to serve as your blogging site. Your clientele can read your blog and can comment on your post (if comments are enabled.) *Note – DASNR IT currently has a WordPress server setup that can be used if you are interested in starting a blog.pinterest
  4. Pinterest is image or video sharing service that allows you to pin (share) information with others. You can organize you pins into boards (groups of like items) and pin anything that you find when browsing Pinterest into your boards.
  5. youtubeYouTube is a video sharing service that currently has over 1 Billion users. After you upload your video into YouTube, your subscribers can watch and comment on them. You can also share your videos by sending out links or embedding them into your website.

These are just a few of the ways that you can communicate using social media. If you are unsure which method will work best for you, explore the different tools and see how your coworkers and friends use them.

Ensure your data is fireproof with CrashPlan

A couple weeks ago a fire was intentionally set in Ag Hall. Thankfully, someone saw it and quickly put it out. There was no major damage other than a destroyed bulletin board, some scorched ceiling tiles, and charred wall paint. This close call brought up a very important question: what in my office would I be all right without, if it were suddenly gone?

Damaged paint on wall from fire and outline of the damaged bulletin board.

Fire damage after bulletin board removed, walls cleaned, and ceiling tile replaced.

That is a very frightening question to ask, and to be honest, I hope that I (or you) never have to face that situation. I would probably survive and be able to continue my job without any of the items in my office. Would it be easy? No, it would not be easy. I would have to start over from scratch and recreate a lot of documents and information not to mention order and setup a new computer, which would take quite a bit of time. You are probably thinking, “Well do you have a backup?” I do have a backup. However, it is only a local backup. If my office were ever destroyed, the backup drive would be destroyed along with my computer and I would have none of the data that is currently on my computer or other devices.

There is a way that my data could be backed up that would guarantee I would not lose it even if the building were destroyed. If I were using CrashPlan, an offsite backup service, I would have all of my files backed up to a secured server off site. We currently have several offices that are using CrashPlan and have found it very useful. Thankfully, we have not had any office fully destroyed. However, we have seen computers fail and when the computers were backed up to CrashPlan we were able to recover all the files from those computers. CrashPlan has also enabled us to recover individual files when files are accidentally deleted or written over.

It is very important to have a backup in place because computers can fail, accidents and natural disasters can happen. Local backups are great and are very highly recommended. However, when it comes to major disasters or accidents, CrashPlan can be a huge help. We currently recommend a family plan, which will back up a maximum of 10 computers with unlimited space for each computer for $149 a year. If you are interested in Crashplan, please contact your support specialist. We would be happy to get you more information and even help set it up if you choose to purchase it.

Windows Shortcuts

In June’s Cooperative Conversation, I covered different tips and tricks for working with Windows devices. These shortcuts can be very useful when working on documents or files on your computer. Here are a few of the most common shortcuts that I use.

Windows shortcuts:

Cut — Control + X: This will cut any highlighted information onto the windows clipboard* for future use.

Copy – Control + C: This will copy any highlighted information onto the windows clipboard for future use.

Paste – Control + V: This will paste any information that you have previously copied or cut to the windows clipboard.

Undo – Control + Z: This will undo your previous actions. This not only works with documents, but also with deleted or moved items from folders or your desktop. (However, if the deleted items have been removed from the recycle bin this will not work.)

Snap assist – Windows button + arrows: This snaps or aligns your windows in your monitor.  (^ maximizes window, < moves windows to left half of screen, > moves window to right half of Screen, v minimizes the window.)

Lock computer – Windows button + L: this locks the computer and requires a password to sign in when you have a password setup on your computer. (If no password is set, it will still show the login screen without requiring a password to login.)

Project – Windows button and P: This opens the project window, which lets you choose between PC screen only, Duplicate, Extend or Projector only.

If you would like more information on these or other Windows tips and tricks, please watch the recording of the Cooperative Conversation. If you have any questions, please contact your support specialist.

 

*Windows clipboard is a temporary holding space where cut and copied materials are stored until they are pasted into a document.

Making adjustments to work on the go

Over the past several months, I was included in several discussions about making computers more mobile friendly. Needing to work from multiple offices, working from home, or just wanting to access their files all of the time are a few reasons for needing to make some adjustments. These changes can be accomplished fairly easily.

There are a couple of different approaches to working mobile. If you are most comfortable using a desktop computer and need to be able to access your files from either a laptop or another desktop, this can be accomplished by using Microsoft OneDrive for Business. This is mainly possible due to OSU changing over to Office 365 a couple of years ago which included 1TB (terabyte) of storage space.  However, there is one major drawback to this solution. You must have an internet connect to ensure that you have the most recent version of your documents. The OneDrive app does keep a local copy of your files on your device, however if your device has not connected to the internet recently your files will be out of date.

onedrive-for-businessOneDrive is very easy to setup and should already be installed on your computer as it comes with the last several versions of Microsoft Office. Simply open the OneDrive for Business app from your programs list and use your OKEY credentials to login. This will sign you into the OneDrive service and start syncing between your computer and the online servers. Once this is complete, you can simply move any or all of your files from your computer into the OneDrive for business folder (which can be accessed from the file explorer.) Once you moved your files into OneDrive, simply sign in on your other devices to begin syncing with them as well.

file-explorer

Another approach to working mobile is to use a laptop with a docking station. Unlike using a desktop, a docking station allows you to take your computer with you to meetings, presentations, or home at the end of the day. The docking station simply makes it easier to connect your laptop to all of your peripheral devices (monitors, keyboard, mouse, printers, and others.) When you get to work, you simply plug one cable into your laptop and turn it on. If you need to have multiple workspaces, for instance two different offices, simply purchase a second docking station for your second office. Although this solution can be cost prohibitive, it is, in my opinion, one of the best solutions for working from multiple offices.docking-station-setup

If you have any questions, concerns, or simply want to discuss what would be the best solution for you, please contact your DASNR IT Support Specialist.

Creating surveys with Microsoft Forms

forms

I covered Office 365 and the included apps during the March 2017 Cooperative Conversation. During my research into the apps, I found a new one that could be particularly useful. Microsoft Forms is a survey or quiz tool that allows you to create forms and then distribute them in several different ways. Forms, as well as the other apps, can be accessed from your Office 365 account. For OSU faculty and staff, log into the http://cowboymail.okstate.edu/ website and select the Office 365 button at the top of the screen, then click the Forms button.

forms2

When creating new forms, you have two default options New Form or New Quiz. The main difference between the two is that quizzes allow you to auto grade answers, show the participants their scores, and which choice is correct. While the quiz option can be very powerful, I will focus more on creating forms for the rest of this article. quiz-and-survey

form-questions

When creating a new form, there are four different types of fields you can add: choice, text, rating and rate. While this limits what you can do with the forms, it does give you very good basic tools for gathering information. In addition, each type of question has specific settings that can be adjusted. You can require answers for questions, allow multiple answers, shuffle answers, add a subtitle, and give more space for long answers. Microsoft Forms also gives you the ability to branch questions (reorder questions given depending on which answer is selected for each question.) Within the settings for the form you are creating, you can choose who has access to the survey as well as how many times they can take the quiz and when it will be available for them.

While working on your form, you can easily access a preview of how the survey is going to look either on a computer or on a mobile device. You can also choose from a small preset selection of themes for your form.

Once you have finished creating your form, there are several different ways you can distribute your survey such as simply copying a link to it to place in an email or document. There is also a dedicated email option that automatically opens an email and places a link to the survey in your new email. There is also an option for
creating a QR code, which can be attached to printed materials for easy access on phones. The final option for sharing allows you to copy code and post it directly into your website. Yes, if you are wondering, this does work with Plone. You simply need to switch the body text to plone-formHTML before pasting in the code. Harper County OSU Extension Office previously used this to gather information for fire relief from the disastrous fires.

Once you have distributed the survey, Microsoft Forms gives you a variety of ways to use your results. First off, they give you a chart representation so you can see the differences between people’s answers. If you select details for any question, it will show you all the response