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


July, 2008

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If it sounds Phishy, then it probably is

One of our colleagues recently got the following message:

Sent: Friday, June 06, 2008 9:30 AM
Subject: Update Your Account

Dear Account User,

This Email is from State University College at Oneonta webmail user Customer Care and we are sending it to every webmail User Accounts Owner for safety. we are having congestions due to the anonymous registration of accounts so we are shutting down some accounts and your account was among those to be deleted.

We are sending you this email to you so that you can verify and let us know if you still want to use this account. If you are still interested please confirm your account by filling the space below. Your Username, password, date of bith and your country information would be needed to verify your account.

Due to the congestion in all webmail users and removal of all unused Accounts, Webmail would be shutting down all unused Accounts, You will have to confirm your E-mail by filling out your by filling the space below. Your User name,password, date of bith and your country information would be needed to verify your account.

Due to the congestion in all webmail users and removal of all unused Accounts, Webmail would be shutting down all unused Accounts, You will have to confirm your E-mail by filling out your Login Information below after clicking the reply button, or your account will be suspended within 24 hours for security reasons.

You are to send the following information for verification

 * Username: ............................
 * Password: ............................
 * Date of Birth: .......................
 * Country Or Territory: ................

Your response should be sent to admin manager Email:

Waiting to received the details of your two email.

Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his/her account after two weeks of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.

Regard, Customer Care Of Webmail Team

This phishing attempt is so clumsy and poorly written as to hardly merit any comment at all, but it does present an opportunity to remind campus staff that technical support will never, under any circumstances, ask you for your password.  

Some definitions of phrases:

"Phishing": an attempt to gather personal information such as account passwords, credit card numbers, etc, through use of an e-mail or web page

"Spear Phishing": ditto but more targeted – the e-mail may appear to come from your actual Internet Service Provider (ISP), bank, or even the Oneonta Helpdesk

"Vishing": Voice Phishing – the criminals may leave you a message or send you a text message with a phone number to call.

Phishing and related scams are getting more sophisticated and harder to detect. What is your best defense against such attempts to steal your personal information?  At the College we employ a number of defenses against Phishing scams but these will never prove 100% effective.  At home, your ISP may also use some Spam and Phishing filters and your antivirus offers some protection.

The best thing you can do is to be aware that these threats exist and maintain a healthy skepticism. 

  • No legitimate person should ever request that you send them your password through an e-mail or unsolicited phone call.
  • No legitimate person should ever request any other sensitive information (social security number, credit card number, etc.) in this fashion either.
  • If you receive a call, text message, e-mail or pop-up stating that there is some problem with your account and inviting you to click a link or call a phone number to correct the issue, never do so.

Delete the message or hang up.  If you are concerned and want to follow-up, contact the bank, helpdesk or company that supposedly sent the message and notify them about the message you received.  Don’t use the links or phone numbers supplied by the potential scammer!  Use a previously established contact method – the scammers have gotten really good at impersonating legitimate businesses.

Check out On Guard Online ( – a website designed to educate the public about Internet threats.  You can take their Phishing quiz here:  You won’t have any trouble getting the answers right but the information in the explanations is valuable and we all need a reminder from time-to-time!

As always, if you have any questions, contact Lesley Bidwell at x4567 or


Cell Phones and Popcorn

What could they possibly have to do with each other?

As it turns out, nothing.

A recent video making the rounds (several of us got warnings from well-meaning relatives)purports to show how a cell phone has enough radiative power to pop popcorn, leading viewers to conclude that cell phones may be doing something similar to our brains.  Turns out that the video was hatched by a phone headset manufacturer in an attempt to influence customers.

See and for the details.  Want butter with that?


Microsoft Office 2007

Office 2007 is available for your use on campus.  We will be installing it on administrative Secure Desktop machines later this summer – more information will follow - but if you would like it sooner you can open a ticket with the Help Desk at x4567.

There are quite a few cosmetic changes, so if you are a "power user" you may want to register for training courses through the Technology Training Program’s website,  The New Features of Word, Excel and Powerpoint 2007 will be taught on Tuesday, July 31 from 9am-12noon and Monday, August 4 from 1-4pm – register online today!

One of the features of Office 2007 is the ability to save documents as PDF files without requiring a third-party PDF printing driver (CutePDF) or Adobe Acrobat Professional.

The Microsoft Office Save as PDF Add-in can also be downloaded (free) on a personal computer with Office 2007. Visit the Microsoft downloads section on the Help Desk website at


Is it safe?

Have you been annoyed by this warning message in Internet Explorer 7?

This warning message pops up to alert you that a webpage is trying to display secure and non-secure (mixed) content. This often happens with online stores and financial sites, or in our case, with our Image Gallery. You can enable Internet Explorer to automatically allow mixed content, instead of it prompting you at each occurrence by following the steps below.

To allow mixed content:

In Internet Explorer, click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.
Click the Security tab, and then click the Custom Level button.


In the Security Settings dialog box, scroll to the Display mixed content setting in the Miscellaneous section, and then click Enable (see image to right).
Click OK in the Security Settings dialog box, and then click OK to exit Internet Options.


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