Sunday, September 21, 2014

Service Outage Thursday night 9/25/2104


Acting-CIO Craig Kucera announces:

An important and significant upgrade to CWC's network storage infrastructure is planned for Thursday, September 25 beginning at 5:00 pm and lasting until 7:00 am the following morning.

The following services will unavailable during the upgrade:
  • Colleague/WebUI/WebAdvisor
  • Blackboard Transact
  • All Staff and Student LOCAL MyDocs folders
  • PRINTSERV1 (for campus printing services)
  • REMOTE3 (remote access)

MyCentral, Moodle and Google services will be not be affected nor will the ATM and purchasing functions for the Bb Pay Rusty Card.

Please contact me (ckucera@cwc.edu) with any questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Friday, September 12, 2014

Monday MORNING (9/16/2014) Emergency Maintenance on myCENTRAL

Early Tuesday MORNING, September 16myCENTRAL will be unavailable for 2 hours starting at 1:00 am MT.  Service should be restored by 3:00 am MT. During this period, users will be unable to access these services:
  • myClasses
  • myCENTRAL
  • The CWC Public Website (www.cwc.edu)
  • Google Apps including, Drive and Gmail. (If you have already configured both for mobile access, that mobile access WILL remain).
We are working closely with our vendor to improve performance issues and hope that this upgrade will resolve the problems we have been experiencing. We apologize for the inconvenience this outage may cause you.

During the outage, an alternative page will be shown to our users that will allow them to access non-affected services such as myAdvisor, and an explanation as to the cause of the outage for visitors to our website.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014





The rumors ARE TRUE!  There is a new network coming to CWC and life will get better.  There is hope again.  
A future where:
  • You can make and keep computer connections
  • You can count on working and playing on your computer - from every dorm room and apartment.  EVEN WEST Apartments!
  • Fast / Reliable / Everywhere



Five things to know about the wireless network at CWC:
  1. We know it is currently inadequate - especially in housing, and most especially in the three apartment buildings (East/West/Annex)
  2. We have a plan to fix it and will invest over $100,000 this year to do so.  We will start in housing and are scheduled to be done there by the end of this Fall term.
  3. We will need your help.  Workers will need to enter your rooms and apartments.  We will always give you prior notice.  As this is a priority, workers will sometimes start really early in the morning - like 7:00 am this Friday (9/12/2014) in the Annex!!  We will spread this pain around.
  4. No wired connections.  To install the new wireless on the ceiling of your apts/rooms we will need to use the wired network connection that exists now.  For some folks, that means once we install the network this Fall, there will no longer be a wired connection into your room.  For others, that will go away over the Winter break.  We know that for most (all?) of you, wireless is what you prefer - as long as it is fast and reliable.  We commit to making it so.  If your computer does not have a wireless connection - see Scott in the housing office,  He will see what he can do to get your computer a wireless connection.  After the new network is in, we will also start enforcing the requirement that no wireless routers be allowed in housing.  These unauthorized wireless routers emit a signal that interferes with the college signal and will cause others near you to lose their connection.  Besides, with this new good connection available, you will not need to install one of your own.
  5. The new network will be state-of-the-art and the latest and fastest wireless technology.  Older computers will still work - new ones will work faster.  If getting a new computer, make sure its wireless connection is “802.11ac compliant”.  It is the “ac” that is the fastest.  802.11n is fast, 802.11a/b/g is slower.  All will still connect to the new wireless network.

Questions?  Come and let’s discuss them.  John Wood, the college’s Chief Information Officer, and Scott McFarland, Residential Life Manager, will host a Q&A Monday, September 15 3:00 pm in Mote Hall Grand Lobby.  Come and find out anything you want to know about this plan and the new wireless network that will be installed.  

Monday, September 8, 2014


9:49 am UPDATE2:  State reports that the network issue is resolved.


9:23 am  UPDATE:  State reports that issue is not just with Google, but is expaning to Internet service issues.

The State of Wyoming is reporting connectivity problems with Google. We suspect this may have something to do with the state network maintenance performed early this morning - but are not sure of this yet.

If you are having problems getting into your email our advice right now is to keep trying. I got in ok after a few tries. Please spread the word to your co-workers, etc. Once we hear back from the state that this issue is resolved, I will post that as well.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Significant loss of Internet Connectivity this Monday (9/8) early morning

All:  The State of Wyoming just informed CWC (at 1:10 pm today) that our internet connection will be down  from 2 - 6:00 am Monday, September 8.

This means:
  • No internet connectivity on any of our campuses (Riverton Main, Lander, Jackson or SCC)
  • No inter-campus connectivity (ie, Jackson to Riverton, etc) so no ICN
  • No connectivity for our resident students in CWC housing, so no access to myCENTRAL or any of the apps there.
  • No access to myADVISOR for anyone else as this application requires communication with the college's administrative computing system.
However:
From off-campus, users will still:
  • Have access to www.cwc.edu and myCENTRAL
  • Have access to myCLASSES, email and other GAFE (Google Apps for Education), and most other applications  (except myADVISOR)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Data Privacy and Central Wyoming College - Some Musings

Data Privacy and Central Wyoming College - Some Musings

Here are two quick take-aways:

  • Students:  It is not clear to me at this time if STUDENT account's electronic information (email/documents/etc) is legally "private" or not.  It might fall under the State of Wyoming's definition of a "public record."  If the college received an external request for student account e-information, we would seek legal advice on how to respond.  We are also currently in a process with the other colleges and the university in Wyoming to seek a Wyoming State Attorney General's opinion on this matter.
  • Staff:  It seems pretty clear that any e-information in a CWC STAFF account likely DOES qualify as a "public record: - though here too we would likely seek legal advice if confronted with an external request.  My advice (and college policy) is pretty clear on this:  Your staff account e-information has "no legal expectation of privacy."

Read on if you would like some details.

If information is a "public record" then the college is required by law to release it to anyone who requests to see it - unless doing so would violate some other law.  If the requester simply wants to view the information - and comes to CWC to do so - I believe it is required that this information be provided for free.  Otherwise, I believe the college is allowed to charge a "copy charge" to send them a copy of the information.

So here is what happens if an external request comes in to access college information:

  1. The college works with the requester to clearly define the request
  2. College personnel then review the information privately to determine if it is a public record.  For example, an email between two people may or may not be a public record.  If it contains an educational record as defined by FERPA (a federal student information privacy law) it is NOT a public record - and in fact releasing it to an unauthorized person is itself a violation of law.  Likewise for other information like health information (HIPPA), credit card information or a person's Social Security number.  Any such information would either be redacted from the copy of the information released - or not released at all if redaction would still constitute a violation.
  3. Finally, the law requires the college to release anything determined to be a "public record" to the requester.

How could any of this possible affect me, you ask?  I heard a story (which I admit is unconfirmed but sounds plausible to me) of a public college employee going through a nasty divorce proceeding.  Because it was deemed that the employee email was a "public record" the aggrieved spouse did NOT need to prove that access to email was warranted in this case by getting a court order to view the email - they simply needed to make a request for the public record.

My advice:
Don't use your college account for personal communications.  Just don't do it!

John



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Maybe *Worst ever* Internet exploit

Reports (here in the NYTimes for example) yesterday say that a hacker group has managed to gather over 1.2 billion username/password combinations from a wide range of websites. Some 420,000 websites were compromised. Website names have not been released.

I suspect that this is the worst data breech in the history of the internet to date.

You should consider changing passwords on all of the websites where you have accounts. CWC IT folks recommend that you change passwords on all banking and other financial sites, and any other site where you have sensitive data or data that might facilitate identity theft. We strongly encourage you to change passwords on all accounts with usernames/passwords that you use on multiple sites - and to stop doing that!!

We are querying our myCENTRAL vendor to see if we are vulnerable to "SQL injecting" - the technique used in this exploit.

More suggestions:
  • do use strong passwords, 
  • do not reuse passwords, 
  • and change them when we hear news like we heard today. 
  • Even better is to use two-factor authentication (TFA) when it is offered. The most common TFA technique includes sending the user a text message to a mobile device during the login process. The text is typically a number that the user has to enter to complete login to an account. You can expect to see more sites offering, or even requiring, TFA.

(My thanks to Paul Cornia, CIO for NOLS - I blatantly stole much of the text above from his excellent posting advice to all NOLS employees.)