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


October, 2007

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PDA and Smartphone security

PDAs and Smartphones have quickly become standard office equipment – allowing you to check e-mail and browse the web with a convenient, hand-held device.  These devices are essentially mini-computers, making them subject to the same security concerns as computers. Whether the device was purchased for your use by your department or belongs to you personally, if you use them you are responsible for safeguarding the College’s data assets just the same.

Therefore, you should exercise the same caution when using a PDA or Smartphone to access or store information as you do with your computer. 

  • Protect these devices against theft or loss – they are much more likely to be stolen or lost based solely on their size and portability.
  • Always protect your device with a strong password and keep it locked when you are not using it.
  • Never save passwords or sensitive documents on PDAs or Smartphones. Practice caution when using them on insecure networks in hotels and airports – Keep in mind that you may not be the only one viewing the data sent to and from the device. 
  • Viruses and spyware are a threat to Smartphones and PDAs just as they are to traditional computers.  Do not open unexpected attachments or follow e-mailed links with your mobile device.  Don’t download third-party software such as games either; you could be downloading a virus or spyware program along with the software.  Then when you pop it into the cradle and sync it with your office computer, you could transfer the virus or spyware to the computer and to the rest of our network, resulting in performance degradation and exposure or corruption of sensitive data!

If you have any questions, contact IT Security Administrator Lesley Bidwell, x2628 or


Personal Call Policy

This is a reminder of the policy regarding personal use of college telephones by faculty and staff. This policy was established in 1992.

Telephones are provided by the campus and the State of New York for professional use in order to accomplish our work. As such, inappropriate and unreasonable usage of the telephone for personal business is discouraged.

The full text of the College's Personal Call Policy is available at

New York Alert

SUNY Oneonta, in partnership with the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) is in the process of implementing an Emergency Contact System (SUNY NY-ALERT) designed to send e-mail, recorded voice, and text messages to multiple addresses and phone numbers, in response to any event or situation on the campus that poses a serious safety concern, including campus wide weather related class cancellations.

In anticipation of NY Alert being implemented we are collecting emergency contact information. Faculty, staff, and students are strongly encouraged to provide their emergency contact information. 

As of October 26th, 2007:

Out of 1271 faculty and staff members, 58.2% have subscribed, 5.2% have chosen not to participate and the remaining 36.6% have yet to respond.

Out of 5926 students,  59.8% have subscribed, 21.0% have chosen not to participate and the remaining 19.2% have yet to respond.

The emergency contact information you provide will be sent to SEMO by SUNY System Administration. 

It will be sent to no other third parties, public or private.

You may alter your contact information at any time including the option to remove yourself from the system.  Please encourage your colleagues and students to respond by going to the website address

Questions about NY Alert can be addressed to Dr. Barton Ingersoll, Associate VP and Chief of University Police at x3550.

Technical questions about registration can be addressed to Telecommunications at x2577.

Password Expirations

In an effort to bring our security practices in line with our IT Security Program, we have been expiring Oneonta account passwords and requiring employees to select new, secure passwords that will expire every 180 days.  This will make our Oneonta passwords more secure against attempts to guess or crack them and help protect our vital systems and information from theft or attack.

If you have created a new account or changed your password in the last year, you are already complying with the new requirements.  Otherwise, existing passwords are being expired in groups – the first group’s passwords expired last June and the second on October 16th.  Once you have selected a new password, it will expire in 180 days.  You will be reminded by e-mail beginning 14 days prior to the password expiration.  Windows users will also be notified 5 days prior to expiration when logging onto their computers.  You do not need to wait until your password expires to change it.

As always, you should change any password immediately if you suspect that it has been compromised.

This affects Oneonta domain passwords, used to log onto computers, access e-mail, manage web pages, use VPN or dial-up connections, as well as many other services and resources. Whenever you change your password, remember to change it in any applications that store a password such as in Sophos for home use or web authoring programs. This information does not apply to Banner passwords which expire every 90 days.

If you need assistance with changing your password, please call the Information Technology Helpdesk at x4567.

To change your password, visit this site: 

And here are Oneonta’s Password Requirements:


Changes in Networking

Ryan Swan has joined the Administrative Desktop Support Staff.  A recent graduate of SUNY Oneonta, Ryan will specialize in supporting Ancillary Services and Sodexho's technology needs, along with working on conventional desktop support tasks with Pete Solano and Walter Romero.

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