Digital Identity Guidelines

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provided updated guidelines for memorized secrets (passwords) in June, 2017. (special publication 800-63B)

The new guidelines include the following language:

“Verifiers SHOULD NOT require memorized secrets to be changed arbitrarily (e.g., periodically).

However, verifiers SHALL force a change if there is evidence of compromise of the authenticator.”

“Verifiers SHALL require subscriber-chosen memorized secrets to be at least 8 characters in length.  Verifiers SHOULD permit subscriber-chosen memorized secrets at least 64 characters in length.”

“When processing requests to establish and change memorized secrets, verifiers SHALL compare the prospective secrets against a list that contains values known to be commonly-used, expected, or compromised.  For example, the list MAY include, but is not limited to:  Passwords obtained from previous breach corpuses, dictionary words, repetitive or sequential characters (e.g. ‘aaaaa’, ‘1234abcd’), or context-specific words, such as the name of the service, the username, and derivatives thereof.”

The account lookup code will be changed to bring WOU credentials in alignment with the new NIST standards.

Forcing users to change their password frequently could actually make systems less secure.  In most cases, passwords are exploited immediately.  It is typical for a user to use a weaker password if they are required to change it often.

A long password is stronger.  A 6-character password can be cracked in 11 hours, while a 9-character password takes 10 years, based on using the ASCII character set.  The new account lookup system will contain the ability to use UNICODE characters also, making a password virtually impossible to break in a lifetime.

Account lookup will be modified during January / February, bringing it in compliance with the current NIST guidelines.

February 5, Banner will be production in the cloud.  Banner authentication will be via SSO, which aligns Banner access with the memorized secrets set with account lookup.

Banner in the Ellucian Cloud

Banner is currently hosted at University Shared Services Enterprise (USSE) on the Oregon State University campus.

Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Tech, Southern Oregon University, and Western Oregon University have all made the decision to move to the Ellucian Cloud (EC).  Ellucian is the company that owns Banner.

EC is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).  WOU’s instance of Banner will be hosted on an Oregon AWS site.

Why move Banner to another hosting site?

  • Oracle and Ellucian are no longer supporting Banner 8, effective December 30, 2018.  EC resources are sufficient to successfully implement the Banner 9 infrastructure that is required to meet the deadline.  (more on Banner 9 in a future post)
  • EC provides us with a Disaster Recovery plan that includes failover to one of two other Oregon AWS sites.  If all three Oregon AWS sites are inoperable, then WOU Banner will be failed over to one of the Virginia AWS sites.

When will WOU go production on EC?

  • Access to Banner at USSE will be terminated at 5:00pm on Friday, February 2, 2018 and WOU will be live on Banner at EC at 7:00am on Monday, February 5, 2018.

How will I access Banner on EC?

  • Both WolfWeb and Banner INB will continue to be accessed though the Portal.  UCS will change the links to each system during the go-live weekend.
  • WolfWeb can be accessed from any browser, while Banner INB requires Internet Explorer (IE).
  • In an effort to strengthen security, off campus access to Banner INB will be available only through VDI.  (https://wouvdi.wou.edu)  There will be no changes to off-campus access to WolfWeb.
  • If you have shortcuts saved to your browser, those will no longer work, post migration weekend.

How is the migration going?

  • The migration effort includes modifying many integrations and job submission server parameters.  A team of technical and functional staff have been working with Ellucian on the cloud migration project since the third week of August.  All this effort is coming together and we expect a successful transition.

Schedule for functional testers:

  • Another test export of both Degree Works and the Banner database will occur on December 19, 2017.  Ellucian will have the refresh ready for us the following morning, December 20, 2017.
  • The final test export will be performed January 12, 2018.  Ellucian will have refresh completed the following morning, January 13, 2018.
  • A code freeze will occur on January 12, 2018 and will be in effect until go-live weekend.

Two-Factor authentication

Account security can be enhanced with 2-factor authentication.

 

Why would I want to use 2-factor authentication?

If you use the same password for many of your accounts, your credentials are probably published on the dark web.   Several years ago, I was approached by a questionable vendor that provided me with many of your passwords.   I alerted campus when this occurred. My password was included on the list.

Lessons learned:

Use a different password for each of your accounts.

Change your password frequently.  (https://wou.edu/accountlookup)

Use a long password.

Utilize 2-factor authentication when it is available.

2-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security.  After you successfully enter your userid and password, the system will ask you for some type of token.  Google Authenticator is a great place to get your token.  You can run Google Authenticator on your iPhone or Android device, providing you the token.  New tokens are produced every 30 seconds.

Google Authenticator can be found here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.authenticator2&hl=en

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-authenticator/id388497605?mt=8

Amazon, Amazon AWS and Google all provide support for 2-factor authentication.  That means you can turn on 2-factor authentication for all your Google Apps.

Google help can be found here:

https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/185839?hl=en

Amazon help can be found here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201962420

 

 

Phishing and other e-mail traps

Always view e-mail suspiciously!

 

E-mail security infrastructure  (On-campus and off-campus)

  • Every day, the WOU anti-virus, anti-spam filter stops 200,000+ e-mails from being delivered  (true for both on-campus and off-campus viewing of e-mail)
  • When the WOU intrusion protection system detects “Ransom-ware”, it sends a note to the border firewall and tells it to no longer allow the “Ransom-ware” intruder onto the campus network, thus protecting your computer.
    • The one case of “Ransom-ware” that was not stopped by the IPS this year, encrypted the users local computer and 70,000 files on his departmental drive.
    • We had snapshots of all the files on the departmental drive and were able to recover the encrypted files.
  • When reading your e-mail outside of WOU, if you were to click on a bad link that connects you to “Ransom-ware”, you are no longer under the protection of the IPS.
    • A member of the local Monmouth community was asked to pay $1,000 to un-encrypt his files after being hit by “Ransom-ware”.
  • Another common scheme is to ask you do perform some task, posing as someone you know and trust.

Recommendations:

  • Don’t click on URLs before you know where they will lead.
    • Shortened URLs can be dangerous  http://goo.gl/fPKDds
      • unshorten.it can be used to expand a shortened URL, also providing the site’s trustworthiness
      • Best practice is to:
        • Hover over the link and verify the link is legitimate OR
        • Type the link in manually
        • Never click on the link, the URL that is displayed, may not be the underlying URL
    • Watch for slight differences in URLs  (ex:  www_wou.edu instead of www.wou.edu
  • UCS will not ask you for your password or SSN in an e-mail
  • When in doubt about the source of an e-mail, full headers will provide you further data in regards to the legitimacy of the e-mail  (partial headers)
    • To display full headers:
      • Google mail: open message, select the icon that provides you with the option to reply-all.  Select “Show original”
      • Thunderbird:  open message, select view, select headers, select all
      • Outlook:  open message, select tags. The Message Options dialog box is displayed. The internet headers are shown in the Internet headers field at the bottom of the dialog box.

Additional references:

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure — (VDI)

What is VDI?

  • Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a collection of desktop operating systems, hosted on a collection of virtualized servers.

What does the VDI infrastructure look like?

  • There is a collection of 400 virtualized Windows 7 desktops ready to be accessed
  • Current utilization is 100 – 130 concurrent users
  • If desktop utilization becomes greater than 350, then 25 additional Windows 7 desktops are automatically built, giving us 425.  This will be repeated as concurrent user demand increases.  Build time for the 25 additional desktops is 15 – 20 minutes
  • When you logout of a desktop, the image is destroyed and rebuilt from the golden image  (no more virus worries!)
  • There are 7 virtual servers dedicated to VDI.
  • VDI runs on Solid State Drives
  • VDI is load balanced across two gateways
  • VDI servers are located, both in the Data Center and DeVolder

How can VDI be accessed?

  • At various locations on campus, including the Hamersly Library, Wyse terminals are directly connected to VDI.
  • IMG_0217
  • VDI can be acessed with a web browser
    • https://wouvdi.wou.edu
      • Select the icon on the right side of the screen labeled, VMware Horizon HTML Access
      • Use your Pawprint login credentials to authenticate
      • Select the “Lab Stations” icon to connect to Windows 7

Will I have access to my network drives?

  • Yes, H:, I:, J:, P:, etc are all accessible

What software is available on the Windows 7 virtual desktop?

  • Microsoft Office Suite, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox
  • ArcGIS, BlueJ, eclipse, Fathom, Foxit Reader,Geo Gebra
  • GS View, Ghostscript, Green Globs, Escape!, GSP
  • SPSS,Kinovea, LEGO Mindstorms, Maple, MatLab, TeXworks
  • Printkey, Python, QuickBooks, QuickTime, RealNetworks Suite
  • Subversion, VLC,  WinDirStat, WinEdit, WinRAR

Additional Functionality?

  • Select the down arrow in the top middle of the screen.
    • This will display a down arrow.  Select the down arrow to display menu options
      • Options include
        • Send control-alt-delete message to Windows
        • Toggle to full screen
        • Paste text
        • Disconnect
        • Help
  • Transfer data to and from USB drive attached to local computer
    • Install VMware Horizon Client on your local computer  (an alternative to the web client
    • Select Connection, then USB from the VMware Horizon Client menu
      • Select Automatically connect when inserted (you will now be able to copy files to / from networks drives from / to local USB storage

 

 

WordPress — Summer Resources

Danielle Gauntz, Web Desinger, had her baby daughter on July 3, 2015.  She will be back, providing full time web support on September 8, 2015.  Her tentative plans include working 10 hours per week, starting July 20,

Shandelle Pepper is the technician providing Word Press support through December.  Don’t hesitate to give her a call.  She is glad to meet with you one-on-one or as a group. Her contact information is:

  • e-mail  peppers@wou.edu
  • phone 503-838-8493

WordPress resources can be found here.

 

 

The Demise of Windows XP

Windows XP support has ended, as of April 8, 2014.  Microsoft suggest that you are five times more vulnerable to security risks and viruses, which means you could get hacked and have your personal information stolen, if you continue to run Windows XP.

By default, Windows XP computers will be blocked from operating on the WOU network, after July 1, 2015.  If you have a critical need that requires Windows XP, please send me a note and I will design an alternative operating path for you.

If you don’t know which operating system you are using, contact the Service Request Desk at 88925 and they will help you identify the OS.

 

 

Security Cameras

  • Deployment of cameras began approximately twelve years ago
  • Currently 170 cameras installed
  • Located in smart classrooms, computer labs, parking lots, building entrances, ball fields, …
  • Cameras record on motion, no sound is recorded
  • Recordings are stored 7 – 10 days
  • The newer cameras are HD 5 megapixel cameras
  • Review of camera footage is most often done after a theft or damage to property, but includes inclement weather, construction progress, classroom support, …
  • Three UCS employees and Public Safety can directly access video recordings

Wireless Infrastructure

Utilization

Rogues and Interferers

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

  • Example wireless statistics for MacBook Air
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n are available in all WOU wireless locations
  • 802.11 ac deployment was begun in new locations in December 2014.
  • To take advantage of the higher speeds available with 802.11 n/ac, multiple antennas are required.  This is referred to as MIMO (multiple input, multiple output)
  • Frequency
    • 802.11 b/g/n — 2.4Ghz
    • 802.11 a/n/ac — 5.0Ghz
  • Channels
    • 802.11 b/g/n
      • Available channels include 1 – 11
      • The effective channels include — 1, 6, 11.  Utilizing other channels in the 2.4Ghz range will cause interference to the channels on either side.
    • 802.11 a/n/ac — The effective channels include — 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64,100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 132, 136, 140, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165
  • Speed — theoretical
    • Wireless is a shared resource.  Each user shares the bandwidth with every other user using an access point.  If there is a slow user connected to an access point, that slows down access for every other user.
  • 802.11 n — 300Mb/s — 100Mb/s per antenna  (MIMO)
  • 802.11 ac — 1.3Gb/s — 400Mb/s per antenna (MIMO) on 5Ghz
  • 802.11 ac — 450Mb/s — on 2.4Ghz
  • 802.11 a — 54Mb/s
  • 802.11 b — 11Mb/s
  • 802.11 g — 54Mb/s
  • Year developed
    • 802.11 b — 1999
    • 802.11 a — 1999
    • 802.11 g — 2002
    • 802.11 n — 2009
    • 802.11 ac — approved January 2014

Security Infrastructure

Phase 1

Phase 2