CAT Prints - the online newsletter of the Department of Computers and Telecommunication Services


May, 2007

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Disaster Preparedness at home - where is your data stored?

It was just about a year ago that flooding took many of us by surprise - and some of us ended up with a lot of damage to home and property.  Many of us now have a lot of important information stored on our home computers - tax returns, copies of legal documents, photos of valuable property for insurance claims, and so on.  We also keep a lot of personally important items; copies of family photos, sole copies of new digital photos, email, and other data.  There's a great discussion on the importance of secure backups of your data at the SANS security website - see for more information and strategies to keep your data safe, secure and available.


Phishing keeps evolving

The most recent "Microsoft Inside Office Newsletter" contains a link to this useful page about recognizing fake e-mails and phishing scams:

Phishing is when someone attempts to trick you into revealing personal information, such as credit card or social security numbers for fraudulent purposes.  Common phishing scams involve legitimate looking e-mails (see the example at the link above) stating that your account at a bank, PayPal, etc,  needs to be updated or will be closed if you do not respond.  They often include a link to what appears to be a legitimate website where you will be asked to provide your personal information.  Or you may get an e-mail asking you to click on a link to confirm your recent order at a business from which you haven't ordered. 

Protect yourself!  Check out the page from Microsoft and learn how to recognize an e-mail scam.  Then, when you receive one of those e-mails (and you will) delete it without responding or following any links!


Alternatives to the traditional mouse and keyboard

It seems that every year a new crop of options pops up (say that ten times fast!) for the usual mouse-and-keyboard combination.  See the possibilities for alternative pointing devices at and for some really wacky keyboards at  Courtesy of the fine folks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Temporary Greetings and the Out of Office Assistant

Temporary voicemail greetings are useful if you are going to be out of the office for a while, since the greeting will let people who call you know that you can’t get back to them right away. You can also set the greeting to automatically expire on the date & time you specify!

First, log in to voicemail just like you would to get your messages, then:

• Press 82.
• To record your temporary greeting press 3.
• Press 5 to record.
• You must wait for the tone before you start to speak.
• When you are finished recording your message press # to end the recording.
• To play the greeting you recorded, press 2.
• To rerecord the greeting, press 5 while at the beginning of the greeting. Record the new greeting and press # to end the recording.
• To delete a greeting press 76 at the greeting.
• To set the expiration date for your temporary greeting press 9. Enter the month, day, and time pressing # after each entry
• To exit press 4.

The Out of Office Assistant is used by lots of people in a similar fashion - but this is for their email account.  To enable it, go to Tools- Out of Office Assistant-

You can put any message you want in the AutoReply box.  When you select "I am currently Out of the Office" it will stay in that mode until you change it back, but Outlook will remind you every time you log in.

The Rules mechanism can be very useful if you anticipate getting an email from someone while you are away, but you don't want to let it languish in your inbox for days until you return.  You can use rules to manage certain emails while Out of Office is turned on.


This example shows how messages from a certain sender are automatically forwarded to someone else.  There are many other permutations, including forwarding messages with certain words in the subject or message body, or replying with a template.

Just make sure you avoid disaster by making sure that something that gets auto-forwarded isn't something that might offend or embarrass, or worse yet something that might violate a confidence.






Change that Password!

Passwords are an important piece of the Oneonta IT Security strategy. Chief among them is your Oneonta domain password which grants you access to such services as computer logons, e-mail, web site authoring, dial-in privileges and computer registration. Clearly, the risk to our private network systems is great if your domain password is cracked or stolen. It might be some time before the activity was detected as it would be conducted with valid credentials - yours.

Our IT Security Policy ( contains provisions intended to keep passwords secure. These include password expiration (to limit the time a hacker could make use of a stolen password) and password complexity (to make passwords difficult to guess or crack). We will be working toward full implementation of the Password Policy over the coming months. If you have not changed your password in the last six months or so, you can do so at any time by visiting

Your password must meet the following criteria:

  • Your password must be kept confidential and NEVER shared with anyone.
  • It cannot be the same as your first/last name or user-id.
  • It must be between 8 and 14 characters long – you cannot use a blank password.
  • It must contain at least 3 of these 4 character types
    Uppercase letters A, B, C ...
    Lowercase letters a, b, c ...
    Numerals 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Symbols found on the keyboard (all keyboard characters not defined as letters or numerals) ` ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + - = { } | [ ] \ : " ; ' < > ? , . /
  • Your password will expire after 180 days (roughly 6 months).
  • Its minimum age is 7 days (you must wait 7 days after a password change to change it again).
  • The password cannot be the same as any of your last five passwords.

When selecting a new password, you should choose a phrase that is easy to remember but hard to guess such as “2&2isfour” or “ilove Mondays!”  It is also a good idea to change your password early in the day and early in the week. If you change it on Friday afternoon, chances are you will not remember it on Monday morning!  If you have stored your password in any applications (such as Sophos for home use) remember to change it in those applications as well.  Please choose a new password that meets the requirements above and visit  to change it as soon as you are ready.

If you have a question for Computer and Telecommunication Services about:

Computer Problems or Related Issues - Call the Information Technology Help Desk at 436-4567

Telephone Service or Problems - Call the Office of Telecommunications at 436-2577

Directory Assistance - call 436-3500