Archives For John Knights

Technology Services has enabled an email security feature in Microsoft Office 365 Outlook. This feature, referred to as SPF checking, will check to make sure that the sender of an email message is actually an authorized sender for the domain it originated from. For example, an email from will be checked to make sure that the email actually came from an authorized account at

This is a feature that is in wide use across many organizations and email providers, used to combat email sender spoofing (forging the “sender” of an email). This should reduce the amount of phishing and spam emails that make it to your Outlook inbox.

So what happens with these messages? The are considered and marked as “junk” by Microsoft, our email service provider, and the message will be routed to your “Junk” folder. This is only one of many checks that are made to ensure email is appropriately filtered, so it may end up as a “quarantined” email if it matches other filtering rules.

If a message is incorrectly placed in your junk folder by this SPF checking feature, please contact the Help Desk ( or 617-989-4500) for further assistance.

Data Privacy Day 2016!

John Knights —  January 20, 2016

Data Privacy Day (DPD) is observed on January 28th. Data Privacy Day is focused on, “respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust.” This international effort is held on January 28th and the goal is to “create awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information.”

Want to get involved with Data Privacy Day, check out how at at

Also, join in on the the two Twitter chats hosted by @STOPTHINKCONNECT, taking place this month. The first today at 3pm, use #ChatSTC to join! More information available at

There are various ways to stay connected with us:

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You may have heard of the recent IRS data breach. Approximately 200,000 accounts were targeted and half were compromised, according to the New York Times. The IRS is expected to send out notifications to those affected. We would like to caution all to be vigilant for any suspicious correspondence. It is times like these that provide malicious actors with an opportunity to also send out phishing emails and other nefarious correspondence in an attempt to trick individuals into providing sensitive information and/or funds.

How you can best protect yourself.

The IRS should never ask you to remit payment or disclose sensitive information via email. Phishing (emails) are not the only way these malicious actors can attempt to scam you. They may call you and attempt to socially engineer you into exposing valuable information or make a payment for services related to the breach. Be wary of any attempts to get you to pay for identity theft prevention services as these are provided, free of charge, to any affected individual by law.

The IRS has a few sites devoted to these topics. Make sure to take a look at these to best arm yourself against these nefarious acts.

If you feel that you may be a victim or would like to report suspicious correspondence, the FBI requests that a complaint be filed through the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) at


UPDATE: The IRS has posted a comment on their site at


Technology Services – Information Security

Lenovo Vulnerability Update

John Knights —  February 20, 2015

Lenovo Vulnerability Update

Technology Services has recently received reports of a vulnerability found in the Superfish software pre-installed on Lenovo computers. We have verified that the Lenovo computers we issue to our community do not contain this vulnerability, as the computers Wentworth issues have a customized installation that does not include the Superfish software.

If you have recently purchased a personal Lenovo computer or want to learn more about this vulnerability, please visit the

-Technology Services Information Security Office

Data Privacy Day 2015 Recap

John Knights —  January 30, 2015

In case you missed any of the tips, discussions, or useful resources throughout the Data Privacy Day events this month, we have consolidated a few of the key links below:

Data Privacy Day may be over, but we are going to continue along with EDUCAUSE in celebrating Data Privacy Month! Follow us on Twitter (@InfoSec_WIT), on the web (WIT Information Security Site), and our blog (Information Security Blog).



#ChatDPD Week 3 Recap

John Knights —  January 22, 2015

This week’s #ChatDPD Twitter Chat hosted by, covered the topic of “Things You Should Known about Your Privacy on the Go.” Most of us have a mobile device that is used to connect to the Internet. Whether it is a phone, tablet, or laptop, make sure you are checking your security settings to ensure your device is only connecting to networks you trust.

Not sure what all the fuss is about? Check out today’s short, yet informative blog from Stay Safe Online titled “The Year of WiFi Security: Protect Yourself in 2015 and Beyond” for a quick look at the risks and tips to mitigate them.

For more on the Twitter Chat itself, take a look at the transcript available at:

If you interested in Data Privacy Day and would like to learn more, please go to our January 7th blog “Data Privacy Day (and Month) 2015!

In addition to this blog, you can follow us on Twitter, @InfoSec_WIT, and check us out online at


#ChatDPD Week 2 Recap

John Knights —  January 16, 2015

We celebrate Data Privacy Day this month on January 28th. One way people are getting involved is by joining the Twitter Chats taking place each Wednesday this month. The chats started out with the suggestion that we all add a new resolution for ourselves to do better with protecting our health information.

Last week’s chat subject involved privacy and business. More specifically, how privacy was good for business. Over the last 18 months, there has been what seems like an endless stream of data breaches reported from some of the largest retail companies. These breaches have had substantial financial impacts on these companies, but that’s not all.

The impact of these breaches goes a bit beyond just their short-term financial losses. Breaches have the potential to cause havoc to an organization’s reputation, affecting consumer confidence, which can lead to further loss of revenue. Good privacy practices are good for business, find out what some businesses were saying during last week’s Twitter Chat at:

If you interested in Data Privacy Day and would like to learn more, please go to our January 7th blog “Data Privacy Day (and Month) 2015!

In addition to this blog, you can follow us on Twitter, @InfoSec_WIT, and check us out online at


#ChatDPD Week 1 Recap

John Knights —  January 9, 2015

As part of the Data Privacy Day campaign, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is hosting a series of “Twitter Chats” this month. Each chat – hosted on Twitter at 3pm EST each Wednesday this January – will bring together various members of the cybersecurity community to discuss a privacy topic.

This week’s topic was “Make New Resolution: Stay On Track While Protecting Your Health Information.” Questions involved the personal devices used to track you health (small wrist bands or clip-on devices that can be used in conjunction with your smart phone to track various health-related items like your heart beats, sleeping patterns, steps you take each day, etc.). The questions asked involved where that data lives and who has access to it, and what the industry should consider as best practices to ensure that these devices and the applications they use maintain the level of privacy that their users’ demand.

In summary, everyone agreed that these devices tracked valuable personal health data and all were concerned with how these data are kept private. Many suggested that an important task that the user should be responsible for is reading those user agreements to understand what information is gathered, where it may be stored or how it may be used, and who may have access to it. In addition, make sure you do your research on the companies and their devices before you purchase one or configure one if you already have one. Folks are fairly vocal about privacy concerns these days and there is surely going to be some news regarding companies’ bad practices or comprisable devices.

For a full transcript of the Twitter Chat, please follow this link:

If you interested in Data Privacy Day and would like to learn more, please go to our January 7th blog “Data Privacy Day (and Month) 2015!

In addition to this blog, you can follow us on Twitter, @InfoSec_WIT, and check us out online at


Data Privacy Day (DPD) is observed on January 28th. Data Privacy Day is focused on, well data privacy of course. Officially recognized in the United States and Canada since 2008 as Data Privacy Day, today commemorates the first international treaty dealing with data privacy and protection. As we were last year, we are proud to join the National Cyber Security Alliance as a Data Privacy Day Champion and will be participating in the various discussions taking place over the new few weeks.

Want to get involved with Data Privacy Day, check out how at at

Also, join in on the weekly Twitter chat series (@DataPrivacyDay), each Wednesday at 3pm by following #ChatDPD. More information available at

In addition to Data Privacy Day, EDUCAUSE will be observing Data Privacy Month from January 28th through February 28th. Join us and be a Data Privacy Champion!

There are various ways to stay connected with us:



Securing Your New Devices

John Knights —  January 7, 2015

As students, faculty, and staff members come back from our winter break to begin the new semester, we want to make sure we are sharing some useful security tips you should follow for those new devices you may have been gifted or purchased over the holidays. The following list is an excerpt from a Newsletter compiled by the Center for Internet Security and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. We recommend you take a look and consider these tips to ensure you are following security best practices for your new and older internet-enabled devices (computers, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, smart tvs, etc.).

  • Configure your device with security in mind. The “out-of-the-box” configurations of many devices and syste components are default settings often geared more toward ease-of-use and extra features rather than securing your device to protect your information. Enable security settings, paying particular attention to those that control information sharing.
  • Turn on your firewall. Firewalls provide an essential function of protecting your computer or device from potentially malicious actors. Without a firewall, you might be exposing your personal information to any computer on the Internet.
  • Enable encryption. Encryption makes it hard for attackers who have gained access to your device to obtain access to your information. It’s a powerful tool that you should consider implementing.
  • Lock the device. Locking your device with a strong PIN/password makes unauthorized access to your information more difficult. Additionally, make sure that your device automatically locks after five minutes of inactivity. This way, if you misplace your device, you minimize the opportunity for someone to access your personal information.
  • Regularly apply updates. Manufacturers and application developers update their code to fix weaknesses and push out the updates and patches. Enable settings to automatically apply these patches to ensure that you’re fixing the identified weaknesses in the applications, especially your operating system, web browser and associated third party apps.
  • Install antivirus software. Install antivirus software if it is available for your device to protect from known viruses. Additionally, enable automatic updating of the antivirus software to incorporate the most recently identified threats.
  • Be careful downloading apps. When downloading a new app to your device, you are potentially providing that app with a lot of information about you, some of which you may not want to share. Be proactive and make sure that you read the privacy statement, review permissions, check the app reviews and look online to see if any security company has identified the app as malicious. A good way to prevent accidental downloading of malware is to use a trusted store instead of third party stores. Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store proactively remove known malicious apps to protect users.
  • Disable unwanted services/calling. Capabilities such as Bluetooth, network connections and Near Field Communications provide ease and convenience in using your smartphone. They can also provide an easy way for a nearby, unauthorized user to gain access to your data. Turn these features off when they are not needed.
  • Set up a non-privileged account for general web use. Privileged (such as Administrator or Root) accounts allow users to make changes and access processes and functions that are not needed on a daily basis. A compromised administrative account provides attackers with the authority to access anything on your computer or possibly even your network. Setting up a non-privileged account for use in browsing websites and checking emails provides one more layer of defense.