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


February, 2008

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Finders, Keepers...  but maybe Finders, Weepers, too!

One of the most useful technology tools around today is the USB drive (thumb drive, memory stick…). They come in various sizes and are a relatively inexpensive medium for transporting or storing files.  Many computers also have SD ports and can read SD memory cards – the kind used in many digital cameras.  Of course, if you use them, you need to be sure to secure the information contained on them as they are small and portable and easy to lose or leave behind in a computer.  Nothing is worse than lining up a great shot with your camera and finding that the memory card is back home in the computer. 

Well, actually, something is worse – having data on a portable device and having it lost or stolen. That’s why you should encrypt any sensitive data on such a device and make sure you have a backup copy somewhere.

So we know the risks involved in losing one of these devices. 

But what about finding one?

If you found a USB drive or memory card or even a CD you might connect it to your computer or put in your drive to find out who it belongs to.  STOP!  Don’t connect it to your computer!  It could contain a virus or Trojan or some malicious self-executing program such as a root kit that would give a hacker access to your computer and our network.  Leaving such infected devices where someone might find them is a social engineering technique known as a "Road Apple" designed to prey upon your natural inclination to pop that device into your computer and see what’s on it. 

Any data on your computer or even keystrokes typed on your keyboard might be captured and sent to a malicious party.  Or your computer might be joined to a botnet and used to infect other machines.  The risks are serious. The best thing to do with any found computer media is to turn it in to the appropriate lost and found location.  The hackers probably won’t come to claim it but they won’t get to steal your data either.

PINs and Passwords

The college provides many online services for students and employees accessed with an A# or SSN and PIN at  including but not limited to checking on Admissions status, Financial Aid awards, paying bills, registration, room selection, and the ability for faculty to enter grades. 

One of the very first things new employees and students (after being accepted) can do when they receive their PIN is log into webservices and create their Oneonta User Account which includes a new username and password (different than their A# number and PIN) for email, lab access, library services, network services for their personal computer on campus and more.

PINs can be changed at  under the “Personal Information” menu and “Change your PIN” sub-menu. If you have forgotten or lost your PIN you can reset it with the “Forgot PIN” button at the bottom of the login screen:

and by answering your previously entered Question and Answer:

If you don’t have your PIN and don’t know your Q&A, then you can choose to have a new PIN emailed to you by clicking the “Lost PIN Form” link at the bottom of the page.

Passwords can be changed at  by clicking on the “Change Password” button and providing your username and old password. If you don’t know your old password and need to reset your password then you can click the “Reset Password” button on this same page. This will take you directly to the “Reset your Computer Account Password” menu within  once you’ve entered you’re A# or SSN# and PIN to validate who you are.


Changes at CATS

The Department of Telecommunications welcomes aboard Curt Underwood - a new Technical Specialist working with Chris Frattone and George Couse.  Curt's from Unadilla, and most recently worked as a field technician for Time Warner Cable.  The day he started here he jumped straight into the telecom wiring of the new Learning Commons space in the basement of Milne Libary - a trial-by-fire if there ever was one.



Curt with George working on a new telecom room

Space Station Gazing

The International Space Station is nearing completion in orbit 200 miles up - and since its orbit covers most of the planet, there are times when (weather permitting) you can see it pass overhead!

The website provides tracking information and visibility guides for ISS passes predicted about a week ahead - click this link for more information - and armed with this knowledge you can go out in your backyard and check out this interesting sight.  It looks like an extremely bright star, and since it is moving at 17,000 miles per hour it will cross your little piece of sky in about two minutes.  Occasionally you can catch a glint of bright sunlight that reflects from its solar panels.

The next week offers several favorable passes - March 1st in the southeastern sky from 6:11 to 6:15 PM, March 3rd also in the southeastern sky from 5:20 to 5:22 and March 4th in the northern sky from 5:40 to 5:44 PM.  The last two will be tricky because the sun is still up, but still possible to spot because of its brightness.

The station orbits the earth once every 80 minutes, but its ground track is different every time.  When it passes within five hundred miles of Oneonta in the hour after sunset or before sunrise, it is a clearly visible and absolutely punctual object.

When you're out watching, say a silent hello to the international crew up there - the American Commander Peggy Whitson, Russian Yuri Malenchenko and Frenchman Léopold Eyharts.

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