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Meeting Minutes: Academic Computing Advisory Committee, 3 December 2014, 2:15 – 3:30 p.m.

Attendees:Chuck Wigley (Chair),Leah MacVie, Sue Margulis, Dennis Mike, Marty Moleski, SJ, Scott Clark, Dan Drew, Mark Yim, Michael Wood, Pat Johnson, Estelle Siener, David Koenig, Mark Gallimore (Volunteer Secretary). 

Meeting called to order. Previous minutes approved.

Several members of ITS/Academic Computing provided important announcements and updates:

I. Software Updates

Estelle Siener:

The latest version of SPSS is ver. 22. Please contact ITS/HelpDesk for an update if you need it. Anything older than ver. 19 might suffer compatibility problems.

We are past the deadline for requesting software to be installed on classroom PCs or Macs. If you need this done, please contact Scott Clark (Mac) or Lisa Mastropaolo (PCs) as soon as possible.

FacTS Center plans to offer a Desire2Learn Bootcamp in January. Details will follow. Even if you have used D2L, this will introduce you to many more features to support your teaching.

Please pass these and other ITS/AC updates reported at this meeting to your dept.

II. CRYPTOLOCKER VIRUS, mail, & .exe FILES

Dave Koenig:

Be especially watchful for malware. Around the Holidays a common malware problem is encryption-locking scams that attack Windows PCs. A popular version of this malware is called CryptoLocker, but many variants exist. These often appear as emails that purport to be from online retailers or shipping firms, telling you about an order sent to you, and including links or attachments. Clicking links or downloading and opening attachments within the email enables the attack.

Canisius-supplied email accounts usually block these kinds of messages. However, these emails might appear in your personal email accounts offered through free services or your internet service provider.

If you are attacked, you will not be able to access your files, and some form of message will tell you that you need to send money in exchange for having your files “unlocked.” Generally, there are no practical means to otherwise decrypt or release your files. Versions of these attacks even cross into USB drives plugged into your laptop, and possibly network or cloud storage.

In ITS/AC we recommend:

– Regularly scan your PCs with suitable anti-malware software. Keep that software up-to-date.

– Create backups that have an “air gap.” That is, after you’ve backed up your files onto a portable hard drive or USB drive, unplug them from your computer.

– Do not open unsolicited attachments arriving via email, even from people you know. (If you do know the sender, contact them to ask if they sent something to you.)

If you suspect that you just activated malware on your PC, shut the computer off IMMEDIATELY. (Possibly, the drive can be removed and the files recovered.)

III. Greatly reduced pricing (hardware & software) for home machines

Scott Clark:

If you are buying hardware or productivity software for yourself (owned by you), visit: www.canisius.edu/newcomputer. Here we have some general advice resources on buying PCs or Macs, and links to a contractor who provides Canisius students, faculty, and staff deep discounts on many productivity software packages, and even operating systems. (At www.canisius.edu/newcomputer, scroll to bottom to see Buying Software). This is for buying your own technology; to request Canisius-owned hardware or software for your work, contact ITS Help Desk.

With laptops, we get generally good deals, but some special sales might be better than ours, based on what’s bundled with the laptop. On the other hand, be aware that you often get only what you pay for; super-cheap laptops probably aren’t that great a deal, when capabilities are considered.

Our software discount provider is Kivuto. You will need to register (create an account) in order to shop.

Different products are available, and at different prices, for students or faculty.

If you have any questions about shopping for hardware, please talk to Dave Koenig, Tom Prince (PC) or Scott Clark (Mac). We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

Marty Moleski asked: Can I get infinite Google Drive Space through Canisius?

Scott Clark: No, not right now. Students have unlimited storage through my.canisius.edu (Google Apps) accounts, but we do not currently offer a Google Apps account to faculty and staff.

Chuck Wigley:

We need to choose a general theme for ACAC meetings next year. One possibility is “online course work another consideration is “innovations in classroom technology.” Members should communicate on this between meetings via email.

Banana Time” is still our Newsletter of record. Please submit content to it.

…And then there was much food, drink, and merriment!

Respectfully submitted,

Mark Gallimore