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


October, 2008

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Securing Paper

When we talk about Information Security, we tend to focus on information stored digitally.  Most of our data is saved in databases and spreadsheets on computers which are connected to a network which is connected to the Internet. 

There is still a lot of information being collected or stored with paper, though, and we must protect it as we do our digital files. The risks to the data are different but the data are just as valuable to us and to a thief. 

Internet hackers cannot access your desk or file cabinet (maybe your coffee maker, though - see but a savvy data thief might visit your office impersonating a service provider, or an opportunistic thief might walk away with a report from your desk.  Most of our offices are fairly open – they need to be in order to provide good customer service to our students and the College community. But here are some guidelines for protecting sensitive information stored on paper:

  • File cabinets containing sensitive information must be locked when unattended.
  • Never leave papers with sensitive information in plain sight.
  • Put them back in the file cabinet or a locked drawer when not working with them even if you are only taking a short break.
  • A few minutes are enough for a thief to recognize valuable information and walk away with it.
  • As we all know, any paper containing sensitive data must be shredded when no longer needed.
  • Any paper destined for shredding must be kept in a locked cabinet or box built for that purpose. Never leave it exposed in your office. At the very least it could mistakenly be added to the paper recycling.
  • Periodically review the contents of your file cabinets and desk drawers. You might be surprised to find paper that should be protected misfiled or forgotten in an unlocked drawer.
  • Always verify the identity of any salespeople or maintenance people that visit your office. We don’t need to be unwelcoming but we do need to be cautious.

If you have any concerns about securing paper in your office, it is best to bring the matter to you supervisor for evaluation.

Need Help? Here are some tips for calling the Information Technology Help Desk

What we’re about

The Information Technology Help Desk is the hub of technology support on campus for faculty, staff, students, and visitors.  Many problems are solved over the phone, but in advanced situations, referral to an appropriate professional staff member or an office visit by appointment may be necessary to fix the problem.  The Help Desk is also responsible for recording and referring technical problems to appropriate departments such as Administrative Computing, Technical Services, Network Operations, and the TLTC.  The Help Desk employs approximately 23 Help Desk Support Consultants (HDSC) who work hard to learn as much of the technology on campus as possible.  They also provide front line support for the Help Desk.  Their task is to gather as much information about a technical issue and troubleshoot the best they can over the phone.

Responsibilities of those making a request

  • Callers should contact the Help Desk while in front of the affected equipment.
  • Be prepared to give complete contact information (user ID, first and last name, department, phone, etc.)
  • Be prepared to provide a clear and specific description of the problem or request.

What to expect from the Help Desk

We will:

  • Gather as much information about the specific problem as possible
  • Log your request into the Help Desk database
  • Attempt to solve the request over the phone
  • Assign the call, if necessary to the appropriate technician
  • Give the customer a call ID or ticket number.

Ways to contact the Help Desk

Phone: x4567
Walk-in: Milne Technology Center

Some tips when requesting assistance

  • Some user account/webservices issues may require you to visit the Help Desk in person to present your college ID
  • If you need immediate assistance, please call us at x4567 as opposed to emailing your request.
  • If at possible, avoid calling the Help Desk near the top of the hour.  This is when classes let out and the Help Desk gets busy!  The staff also change shifts during those 10-15 minutes.
  • Please be patient with us!  Remember – there are a great variety of technologies on campus and many users have unique systems and software.  The HDSC you speak to may not be familiar with software you may use or a program that you are trying to run.  The more specific information you can provide will help us route your problem correctly and get you up and running the fastest way possible!

Phone Scams take sophistication up a notch

As we have reported in previous issues, social engineering, phishing and plain old scams have found new life as technologies continue to evolve.  Now we hear of a new variation where the scammer takes advantage of certain kinds of phone networks to forge a false Caller ID.  Users tend to trust what the Caller ID says, so if a scammer can transmit one that claims to be your bank or your insurance company, they may be able to trick the target into revealing information.  Usually this takes the form of a recorded message asking the recipient to call the institution, and when the recipient does, a recorded message asks for the caller to type his credit card number or other information on the phone's keypad. 

So far this kind of Caller ID spoofing is only occurring on Voice-Over-IP networks like the various digital phone services.  So beware!


Computer Recycling

A lot of us have old computer hardware at home that needs to be disposed of.  This stuff should not end up in the landfill - it contains heavy metals, inks, plastics and most of this is recyclable to one extent or another.  One local company that offers recycling services for computers and related hardware is Edison Computers.  They charge a nominal fee to accept computers, laptops, monitors, printers and other items.  See for details.


Changes in Computer Services

Leon Lewis has joined the Computer Center as its Director.  Leon brings a strong background in higher education and a great deal of experience in supporting technologies for environments similar to ours. Welcome, Leon!


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