Spear Phishing Warning and General Digital Security

MORE INSIDIOUS EMAIL PHISHING

In addition to the usual reports of both internal and external email/website phishing we are seeing a rise in “spear phishing” where an attempt is made to compromise a specific user using publicly-available information to appear to be a trusted entity. The end of this email describes such an attack initiated with a telephone call that happened recently in our department.

If you receive a suspicious email please feel free to report it to:

requests@math.toronto.edu

The University also has a reporting system centrally at:

report.phishing@utoronto.ca

Here are some tips to avoid a phishing attack:

http://main.its.utoronto.ca/news/10-tips-to-avoid-a-phishing-attack/

In general we all need to be careful with our digital security. Please see:

https://securitymatters.utoronto.ca/

for the University’s suggestions for various groups for security.

RECENT CASE REPORTED BY A FACULTY MEMBER

Someone finds an online poster for a future conference. They look up a speaker’s office phone number and email address. They call the speaker’s office, and tell them that they are booking the hotel for them for the conference (they know the conference location and dates). They ask the speaker to provide their credit card information to secure the room; they say that the credit card will not be charged, that this is just to secure the room. However, the organizers of conference confirmed they did not place the call to the speaker.

New (simplified) AV system in BA6183

[There is a summary of how to use our new AV setup at the bottom of this post.]

As many people noticed the matrix switcher for the AV system in BA6183 was failing at the end of last year so just before the break we replaced it and simplified the configuration in that room.  Now there are only two choices for inputs, the built-in computer or a laptop connected on the white panel above the touchscreen.  By default the computer will be displayed, but if a laptop is connected then that will take precedence and the system will automatically switch to displaying that (assuming that the laptop is set to display to its video port).  The laptop can be connected via HDMI (the recommended connection) or VGA (for very old systems).  After disconnecting a laptop the system will automatically switch to displaying the computer again.

We have adapters to change to HDMI from USB-C (untested) or Mini DisplayPort or DVI-D, and an HDMI and a DVI-D cable and a Wireless Presenter with Laser Pointer if needed in the green basket available from the front desk.  As always we strongly recommend that you test that things work as expected at least 24 hours in advance of using the equipment in BA6183.  Changing hardware and software sometimes causes incompatibilities between a laptop and our system.  Using the computer with a USB flash drive usually works with fewer issues.  A VGA cable should be available on the podium.

The USB connectors to the computer (in case you bring just a USB flash drive) are now loose and are labelled and have green tape on them.

You still need to use the touchscreen to activate the screens and projectors.

Limitations:

  1. It is no longer possible to use an extended desktop on the projected screens; whenever two screens are displayed they will be duplicates.
  2. The audio system was not reconnected.  We are looking into getting that functionality back.
  3. Only the computer and laptop inputs work now since the new switcher is much simpler and smaller.
  4. The image aspect ratio is only 4:3 (since our projectors are quite old and that is the aspect ratio of our screens) and the resolution is fixed to prevent interoperability issues with video renegotiation.
  5. HDCP had to be disabled since our hardware is too old which means that HDCP-enabled digital content (much high definition content is protected this way) cannot be displayed.

USAGE SUMMARY

  1. Log in on the touchscreen to activate the system (the code is available from the front desk).
  2. Choose Computer or Laptop (it does not matter which since a laptop will always have priority over the computer).  If you need the account/password information for the computer please ask at the front desk.
  3. Select whether you wish to display on either the Left or Right (as viewed from the audience) or Both screens.
  4. If you do not connect a laptop the computer desktop will be displayed.  You can use the loose USB ports that have green tape on them if using the computer.
  5. If you connect a laptop its display will take precedence and the laptop screen may adjust its resolution and aspect ratio to that of the projectors.

Updates on 2018dec12 were successful

Our systems appear to be working fine after the updates.

Bell Centrex system to be replaced by VoIP – Update about 5-digit dialing

As was mentioned in an earlier post the University is moving away from the Bell Canada Centrex system to a BroadConnect Telecom VoIP system.  Many departments have already moved over and our department will be piloting this system very soon in preparation to moving everyone over in the new year.

One consequence of the presence of two different systems on campus is that those of us still on the Centrex system have to use 9 plus the full 10 digit telephone number to call anyone who has already moved to the VoIP system (for example, people in Engineering or Computer Science).  The usual 5-digit dialing still works between two Centrex users (or between two VoIP system users).

The main University website for this changeover is VoIP at U of T.

Updates at 3:45pm on Wednesday December 12, 2018

The departmental servers coxeter and sphere and the mail, web, share, and ptr servers will have software updates applied on Wednesday afternoon, December 12, 2018 which will require rebooting (most servers will be unavailable starting at 3:45pm, since this is a larger update for most platforms).  Since some updates will be applied while the servers are still up there may be some temporary issues with some software.  We hope that any such issues will be minor and by doing most of the upgrading before bringing systems down the shorter downtime will be worth the potential minor problems.  Please restart any programs if you observe problems during the upgrades (and please let us know at requests@math.toronto.edu, so we can investigate).  We expect the systems to be back up by 5pm.

coxeter and sphere updates on 2018oct31 were successful

coxeter and sphere appear to be working fine after the updates this afternoon.

Updates at 4:15pm on Wednesday October 31, 2018

The departmental servers coxeter and sphere will have software updates applied on Wednesday afternoon, October 31, 2018 which will require rebooting (these servers will be unavailable starting at 4:15pm).  Since some updates will be applied while the servers are still up there may be some temporary issues with some software.  We hope that any such issues will be minor and by doing most of the upgrading before bringing systems down the shorter downtime will be worth the potential minor problems.  Please restart any programs if you observe problems during the upgrades (and please let us know at requests@math.toronto.edu, so we can investigate).  We expect the systems to be back up by 5:00pm.

Server updates on 2018aug15 were successful

The departmental servers appear to be working fine after the updates this afternoon.

Updates at 3:45pm on Wednesday August 15, 2018

The departmental servers coxeter (sphere has already been updated), and the mail, web, share, and ptr servers will have software updates applied on Wednesday afternoon, August 15, 2018 which will require rebooting (most servers will be unavailable starting at 3:45pm).  Since some updates will be applied while the servers are still up there may be some temporary issues with some software.  We hope that any such issues will be minor and by doing most of the upgrading before bringing systems down the shorter downtime will be worth the potential minor problems.  Please restart any programs if you observe problems during the upgrades (and please let us know at requests@math.toronto.edu, so we can investigate).  We expect the systems to be back up by 4:30pm.

Latest stable version (R2018a) of matlab has been installed on sphere

The latest version (R2018a) of matlab has been installed on sphere.  We have the following toolboxes: Simulink, Bioinformatics, Control, Curve_Fitting, Signal_Blocks, Data_Acq, Image, Instr_Control, Optimization, Distrib_Computing, Signal, SimMechanics, Simscape, Simulink_Control_Design, Stateflow, Statistics, Symbolic, Econometrics, Financial, and PDE.  The Econometrics and Financial toolboxes are older and node-locked to sphere, and there are only six licenses for the PDE toolbox so please do not keep that toolbox checked out if not necessary.