27 Jul / 2016
Check out our latest website launch!
The University hosts visitors from academia, private and public sectors, industry, and government to participate in research, educational and other scholarly activities. The Academic & Research Visitors website exists to provide assistance to visitors before and during their stay as well as assistance to University faculty and staff when bringing short and long term visitors to campus.
The new website is maintained by the Office of Export Controls and works closely with associated departments and groups.
07 Jun / 2016
FIS is pleased to announce that Garrett Liebenguth has accepted a full time Systems Engineer position in Technical Services effective May 23rd, 2016.
Garrett joined FIS as a Systems Engineer contractor on March 21st, and was previously a Infrastructure Engineer supporting various technologies at Red Square Systems and AllCovered. Garrett holds a Bachelor’s of Science in MIS/DS from IUP and has over 10 years of experience performing advanced systems administration, Windows Server management, VMware, and other critical technologies. His responsibilities involve all aspects of server system administration, implementation, and support. His experience and knowledge will be an asset to Server Computing. He is located at 1917CL and reports to Dan Mahaven.
Welcome to FIS Garrett!
04 May / 2016
The 2nd Annual Staff & Faculty Appreciation Picnic kicked off today at noon with music, food and prizes! We rounded up a few of the best #pittpicnic posts and videos from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!
— Patrick Gallagher (@PittChancellor) May 4, 2016
— Hail to Pitt (@PittTweet) May 4, 2016
— Kim Getz (@kim_getz) May 4, 2016
— Pitt Careers (@Pitt_Careers) May 4, 2016
— Pitt Univ Registrar (@PittRegistrar) May 4, 2016
— Hope & Terzo (@PittPeregrines) May 4, 2016
— Pitt Volleyball (@Pitt_VB) May 4, 2016
— Dietrich School (@DietrichSchool) May 4, 2016
A video posted by Angelo Long (@djmidas) on
19 Apr / 2016
FIS has been ranked the #2 Support Center for Overall Customer Satisfaction during the 2016 HDI Conference! FIS has been listed among the top support centers worldwide on the HDI Elite 50 list for a fourth year in a row!
HDI is a worldwide professional association and certification body for the technical service and support industry. Support centers are ranked by the HDI Customer Satisfaction Index Service based on data they compiled via benchmarks, reports, and customer feedback. Data from last calendar year was compiled and a list of the top 50 outstanding technical service and support centers across the world was tabulated. This prestigious award illustrates Financial Information Systems’ ability to achieve the business and financial goals of the University by providing value through the strategic use of people, processes, and technology.
During the conference, our very own Carrie Armstrong presented a session entitled, “Providing Superhero Service”. This session covered what FIS Customer Support does to ensure our customers receive that superhero service including analyst satisfaction, support team dynamics, interacting with customers outside the support desk and proactively keeping customers informed.
Carrie has worked in the IT service and support industry for more than 16 years. Carrie has been an officer for the HDI Steel City chapter for eight years, and she currently serves on the HDI Member Advisory Board. She was named the 2014 HDI Local Chapter Officer of the Year and her team was ranked #1 in the 2015 HDI CSAT Elite 50.
|2||University of Pittsburgh||Financial Information Systems|
|4||Bank Fund Staff Federal Credit Union||IT Service Desk Portal|
|5||Synergis Technologies, Inc.||Synergis Software|
|6||Financial Services – Banking|
|7||Ameritas IT||Ameritas IT Support Center|
|8||Glatfelter Insurance Group||GIG Support Desk|
|9||The Legislative Data Center||Legislative Data Center – Service Center|
|10||PepsiCo||Europe – SER – Service Desk – Greece|
06 Apr / 2016
Spring cleaning season is upon us! Perhaps your inbox could benefit from some downsizing and organization. Maybe you’re interested in optimizing your smartphone’s performance to suit your lifestyle. Here are some of the best productivity apps included in the FIS App Catalog to help freshen up your smartphone and your outlook on productivity this spring.
Lifestyle and Productivity
Tapingo, a mobile food ordering application, provides direct service from 38 locations in Oakland and surrounding areas. Locations include Mad Mex Oakland, Panera Bread, and Chipotle. Users can place a custom order and either pick it up or have it delivered to a chosen address.
Eventbrite is an event application that allows users to create, promote, and buy tickets to events in 21 countries. Eventbrite is active in Pittsburgh, with events spanning from charity events to industry showcases and conferences. Eventbrite can help facilitate business growth and individual networking through both posting and promoting events and making attending events in the area as easy as the push of button.
The Dictionary.com app, a mobile offshoot of the popular website, offers voice search, audio pronunciation, translator, and word origin and history. The app also offers an offline mode and is optimized for the Apple watch. While the Dictionary.com app is equipped to help you in your moment of need (spelling, definition, and synonyms and antonyms) the app keeps things light with quizzes, Words of the Day, and original content to supplement and enhance learning and curiosity.
Business and Security
As the number of strong passwords we create to access our data and services increases, remembering them all can become a chore, if not a gamble. MiniKeePass, a password storage application, can securely store your passwords on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 7 or later.
One of the blessings (and to some, curses) of the smartphone is the ease with which users can view and respond to email. Microsoft acquired Acompli in 2013 and turned their email app into the mobile version of Microsoft Outlook. Outlook supports most of the popular email services. The Verge named it the best email app for iPhone stating, “If you want full control over your inbox and the services that surround it, Outlook is your only choice.”
With all of the features and functions of Skype, Skype for Business (formerly Lync 2013 on iOS) provides users with a simple way to meet and chat with members of their institution or business groups. Instant messaging, video conversation, content sharing, and meeting scheduling are all available on the app. Skype for Business is available to all Pitt students, faculty, and staff making it an indispensable and convenient resource for anyone looking to take full advantage of teamwork and communication within the workplace.
Apps Available through the FIS App Catalog
FIS offers mobile device support through our mobile device management system which includes access to our Apps Catalog. The App Catalog includes:
- FIS Custom Apps for departments
- University-related apps like Tapingo, Pitt GameDay and UPMC Health
- Office Suite apps likes Word and Excel
- Travel and leisure apps like Kayak and Yelp
Learn more through our Mobile Device Support Policy or contact us with any questions.
25 Mar / 2016
We are pleased to announce that Matthew Yoschak has been promoted to Lead Systems Engineer in Server Computing, and Chynna Sherry has been promoted to Senior Support Analyst in Customer Support!
|In Matt’s eight years of service with FIS, he has implemented and maintained numerous high visibility projects that are critical to our success. Matt has improved our infrastructure by recommending and taking the lead deploying cutting edge technology, and is called upon to resolve the complex issues that emerge in our environment. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to FIS!|
|Chynna has provided a leadership role in our problem management process and has led several important projects within the Customer Support team. Chynna’s duties include analyzing and troubleshooting technical support requests, application testing, user documentation and training, and team projects. In addition to providing outstanding customer service, she takes initiative to create new projects and looks for improvements in our existing processes. Chynna was also the recipient of the 2015 HDI Pittsburgh Analyst of the Year Award!|
Congratulations Matt and Chynna!
21 Mar / 2016
Our latest project has just been completed!
The Global Operations Support website exists to provide guidance and support to faculty and staff who will be either conducting work outside the United States or are coordinating international work domestically on behalf of the University. You will find information on travel, conducting research, business processes, international payment information and inter-institutional collaborative efforts.
The new Global Operations Support Manager is under the University Center for International Studies and works closely with associated departments and groups.
14 Mar / 2016
One of the most common methods that cybercriminals use to gain sensitive information is known as ‘phishing’. Phishing occurs when you receive a message requesting personal information (social security number, email address, birthday, etc.) that appears to come from a reputable source (your bank, business, etc.). Phishing attacks come in different types (spear phishing, whaling, clone phishing, etc.), but the general premise remains the same.
While most phishers are primarily looking to steal your personal information, phishing is also a method used by hackers to install malware onto your computer.
Phishing attacks have become very sophisticated, but they are still vulnerable to a watchful eye and a little common sense. Since your personal data and security are at stake, it is extremely important to know how to identify phishing, and to know what steps to take if you think you are the target of a phishing attack.
How to Identify a Phishing Attack
Inconsistent Email Address
Here’s a typical example of what a phishing email might look like. Take a close look at the sender’s information and email address. In the above example, note that the sender is S-tandard Bank. Also, the email domain “alert-std.co.za” does not match the format at the bottom of the message, “standardbank.co.za.”
False Sense of Urgency
Note that the email from “Amazon,” states “***DON’T WAIT! The Link Above Expires on 12/28!” Scammers try to create a false sense of urgency to get you to react quickly and emotionally. Always take a couple extra seconds to really examine what you are reading before clicking any links.
Note again how the email address does not end in “amazon.com.”
Questionable Information Requests
Phishing attacks will frequently ask for information that they either don’t need or should already have. As a rule, reputable businesses will never ask for your account name, account number, password, Social Security number, etc. There was a recent phishing scam that appeared to come from the IRS, asking for account information from the victim’s financial institutions. If there’s anyone that doesn’t send emails like this, it’s the IRS.
If You Suspect Phishing
There are a number of steps that you can take if you suspect that a message you have received is a phishing attack.
- Verify the identity of the sender. For example, if you receive an email that looks like it’s from PNC Bank, call or email their customer support team to confirm. It’s important not to reply to the email itself, as any links in the message will not point back to a legitimate business entity. If it looks like a friend or coworker sent the message, follow up with them in a separate email (again, do not reply to the original message).
- Change any relevant passwords. Changing your password is almost never a bad idea, and having unique passwords for each site/service that you use is a best practice.
- Go back to the official source. Try to always directly type the web address of the site you want to access in your browser, instead of clicking on links from emails or social media networks. As mentioned, avoid links in the original message, as they will most likely redirect to a fraudulent site.
- Trust your instincts and err on the side of caution. If an email or website doesn’t look or “feel” right, there’s probably a reason.
If you think that your work email has been targeted by a phishing attack, please contact FIS via our Support Portal, or call us at 4-FIS1. If your personal email address has been targeted, please report it to any of the following agencies:
- Federal Trade Commission
- US Computer Emergency Readiness Team
- FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center
- Anti-Phishing Working Group
- PhishKillers Blacklist
For More Information
For additional background and tips, check out the articles in the FIS Knowledge Base, or read any of the following:
29 Feb / 2016
The FBI and Apple are currently locked in a legal battle surrounding the iPhone left behind by one of the San Bernardino mass shooting suspects, Syed Farook. Stay informed with FIS on the timeline, details, and stakes in the world of cybersecurity in this pivotal case.
Browse the Article
What Is a Backdoor?
What is the All Writs Act of 1789?
Who Else Has Weighed in on the Issue?
What Might This Mean for Smartphone Users?
Update: iPhone Unlocked without Assistance from Apple
The case from which the below letters stem, the San Bernardino shooting in December of 2015, has led Apple and the FBI into an intense legal battle concerning the FBI’s demand that Apple build a “backdoor” into Syed Farook’s iPhone, which was upheld by a federal judge. The phone, according to the FBI, could contain information related to the San Bernardino attack and Farook’s wife, Tafsheen Malik’s pledge to ISIS on Facebook.
On February 16th, Apple CEO Tim Cook posted the following letter on the Apple website stating,
“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand. This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake. … While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
Click on the letter below to read more.
On February 21st, FBI Director James Comey posted the following letter on The Lawfare Blog, a blog dedicated to “…that nebulous zone in which actions taken or contemplated to protect the nation interact with the nation’s laws and legal institutions.” The Lawfare Blog is published by the Lawfare Instritue in cooperation with the Brookings Institute.
James Comey writes,
“We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly. That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.”
Click on the letter below to read more.
What Is a Backdoor?
Kim Zetter at Wired penned the article Hacker Lexicon: What Is a Backdoor? in December 2014. The quote that follows is a summary of the article that was posted within it:
A backdoor in software or a computer system is generally an undocumented portal that allows an administrator to enter the system to troubleshoot or do upkeep. But it also refers to a secret portal that hackers and intelligence agencies use to gain illicit access.
In the case of the iPhone, the FBI is requesting that Apple build software that disables the feature that wipes all data from the iPhone after too many incorrect password attempts. In this case, the backdoor that the FBI is requesting falls under the latter half of Zetter’s definition: “A secret portal that hackers and intelligence agencies use to gain illicit access.”
Apple is arguing that in making such a backdoor would compromise the security of all of Apple’s devices, if not more. Tim Cook, Apple CEO states:
The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.
Conversely, James Comey, Director of the FBI, states:
We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly. That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.
Thus, one could summarize the FBI vs. Apple legal battle as such: Apple feels the FBI’s request compromises their commitment to encryption and could create a gap in security wide enough to be applicable across devices and accessible to hackers with malicious intent, compromising the personal data (such as photos, financial data, and passwords) of their customers. The FBI states that their intention is to enter one phone, Syed Farook’s, with the hopes of reaching a conclusion regarding the presence of information on the phone that could shed light on the attack and potentially lead to more terrorists, and specifically, members of the group ISIS.
What is the All Writs Act of 1789?
The All Writs Acts of 1789, which was invoked by the federal judge upholding the FBI’s request that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone, is summarized according to Laura Sydell of NPR thusly:
That law, the All Writs Act, is all of two sentences in length. It gives judges the authority to issue any order necessary — within the law — to further litigation before the court. The relative clause says:
“The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.”
A “writ” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “an order or mandatory process in writing issued in the name of the sovereign or of a court or judicial officer commanding the person to whom it is directed to perform or refrain from performing an act specified therein .” Its origin is Middle English, from Old English, with its first known use dating to before the 12th century.
The All Writs Act has been previously used in legal cases involving phones in 1977, in a case involving the FBI and the New York Telephone Company. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the FBI, requiring the New York Telephone Company to install a “pen register,” a device that records calls to and from specific phone numbers, in this case, two numbers that were suspected in an illegal gambling case.
Who Else Has Weighed in on The Issue?
In an interview with Financial Times, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has stated,
“This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information. They’re not asking for some general thing, they’re asking for a particular case…Apple has access to the information, they’re just refusing to provide the access, and the courts will tell them whether to provide the access or not.”
However, in a later interview with Bloomberg, Gates stated that he was “disappointed” with headline that stated he sided with the FBI in the case but that he does “…believe that with the right safeguards there are cases where the government, on our behalf — like stopping terrorism, which could get worse in the future — that that is valuable” and that “These issues will be decided in Congress.”
Microsoft as a company began their involvement in the FBI vs. Apple legal battle by offering only mild support to Apple, stating on February 18th:
“Reform Government Surveillance companies believe it is extremely important to deter terrorists and criminals and to help law enforcement by processing legal orders for information in order to keep us all safe. But technology companies should not be required to build backdoors to the technologies that keep their users’ information secure. RGS companies remain committed to providing law enforcement with the help it needs while protecting the security of their customers and their customers’ information.”
As of February 25th, however, according to Chris Welch at The Verge:
Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith has announced, “We at Microsoft support Apple and will be filing an amicus brief next week.” An amicus brief is a “friend of the court” filing that allows parties not directly involved in the case to weigh in.
Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued this formal statement regarding the FBI and Apple’s current case:
“We condemn terrorism and have total solidarity with victims of terror. Those who seek to praise, promote, or plan terrorist acts have no place on our services. We also appreciate the difficult and essential work of law enforcement to keep people safe. When we receive lawful requests from these authorities we comply. However, we will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems. These demands would create a chilling precedent and obstruct companies’ efforts to secure their products.”
Former NSA contractor and current director at Freedom of the Press tweeted:
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 17, 2016
Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
1/5 Important post by @tim_cook. Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy
— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016
3/5 We build secure products to keep your information safe and we give law enforcement access to data based on valid legal orders
— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016
4/5 But that’s wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices & data. Could be a troubling precedent
— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016
— Jack (@jack) February 18, 2016
What Might This Mean for Smartphone Users?
Some parties, such as Edward Snowden, given his statement above and others on Twitter, suggest that the real goal of the FBI is to expand surveillance on phones and online correspondence, using the rhetoric of stopping terrorism and terrorists to achieve this goal.
Additionally, the use of the All Writs Acts is under scrutiny for its age, with opponents questioning whether a law in created in 1789 can apply to the iPhone and cybersecurity. Pundits also suggest that if the FBI succeeds in requiring Apple to construct the backdoor at the federal or Supreme Court level, then other world powers’ governments could do the same, at the advantage or expense of citizens.
Finally, while it can be argued that common people do not have much control in the actual legal proceedings between the FBI and Apple, it can be argued that Apple stands to lose thousands of customers if the FBI succeeds in their case against Apple. In a democratic system such as the United States, the people do have some level of social power in the form of free speech and the rights to assemble and support or protest either Apple or the FBI. It is important to consider government dialogue as well as multinational business goals when considering whether or not to support a specific side of the argument: Apple and their supporters or the FBI and their supporters. At the same, it’s important to stay mindful of your rights and responsibilities as a consumer and citizen of the American political and technological worlds.
Update: iPhone Unlocked without Assistance from Apple
In a statement from the Justice Department on Monday, March 28th, the FBI has dropped their case against Apple seeking to unlock the final remaining iPhone in the San Bernardino mass-shooting. The decision to drop the case seems to be linked with U.S. law enforcement’s claim that the iPhone has been unlocked without assistance from Apple, but with help from an undisclosed company outside of the FBI.
If the iPhone has been unlocked, some are now worried about the overall security of the iPhone and are interested in learning the process used to unlock the iPhone in question. Apple’s lawyers have expressed public interest in this information with the intent of strengthening the overall security of the iPhone. However, the government could choose to classify the information, barring Apple and others from accessing it.
No information regarding the contents of the iPhone has been released. Meanwhile, the possibility of not finding relevant information is still a potential.
Both Apple and the FBI have stated that they will continue working towards their goals, Apple regarding securing users’ data from interpersonal and governmental attacks, and the FBI regarding their ability to “obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety” with or without “cooperation from relevant parties.”
18 Feb / 2016
Welcome to the TIL (Today I Learned) blog series about social and tech industry trends that affect your everyday life. Today, we delve into a few of the many social media platforms!
Currently, most websites have a social aspect to them. Yelp reviewers are connected to each other through shared locations and the comments section of a website that posts articles about news or culture connects users by facilitating conversation. Overall, it is important to remember that while each social media platform has a function it excels at, there are diverse ways to use a social media account on any platform to achieve social or business goals. Additionally, it is important to remember to be considerate of not only your privacy and security concerns, but also those of people your interact with and post about on social media. For example, consistently posting about your and others’ locations through restaurants you visit or places you frequent could create a portrait of your whereabouts that others could exploit. Do not be afraid to talk to your friends about how they feel about being tagged in posts, photos, and locations, as social media should and can enrich social life both online and offline.
Four years ago, Douglas Wray of The Franklin Institute posted this photo on Instagram using donuts to explain social media:
On February 3rd, 2016, he posted:
It’s been four years since this Instagram changed my life. It’s funny to think both how much as changed in the social media landscape and also how much of this is still true today. #SocialMedia #SocialMediaExplained #Donuts #FourYears #Facebook
In the past four years, social media has become an integral part of daily life. Platforms such as Snapchat, Tumblr, Vine, and WhatsApp have dramatically changed the social media landscape and become household names. In this post, we will profile the major social media platforms and their uses, with examples from The University of Pittsburgh’s own social media presence. A comprehensive list can be found at Social Media at Pitt.
Perhaps the most ubiquitous social media platform, Facebook most immediately connects its users to their real-life social network. Users can also join “groups,” such as private groups for coworkers, public groups for sports fans, and secret groups for friends. Event details can also be posted on Facebook, allowing hosts to keep track of potential attendance and contact those invited. Facebook additionally has options for businesses and professional and public personalities. “Sharing” and “liking” photos, links, and quick personal thoughts and questions are the foremost methods of communication on the site. Be conscious of how your friends feel about being tagged in posts, photos, and locations and never share any personal information that could lead to the discovery of your passwords or personally sensitive data.
While Twitter is still primarily a site for sharing thoughts in the form of 140 character “tweets” and creating discussion through the use of “hashtags,” Twitter has also become a popular site to share photos, videos, and links. Direct communication between users is facilitated tagging in a tweet, such as at “@PittTweet The weather in Oakland is beautiful today!,” or in a direct, private message between users (known as the “direct message”). Twitter “lists” can be used to keep up with your favorite writers, activists, or actors by grouping their profiles into one feed. In regards to privacy, users can have their tweets available for public or private viewing, sharing only with the users they personally select.
Pitt prof and pianist and producer Geri Allen is up for a Grammy this evening!https://t.co/I6Y4nAJUeo
— Hail to Pitt (@PittTweet) February 15, 2016
Instagram allows users to utilize their smartphone’s camera feature to post photos with filters to enhance their appearance. Instagram easily facilitates cross platform posting; if enabled, Instagram posts can be shared to your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Flickr, and Swarm accounts. Instagram is perfect for managing your personal brand, sharing your creative work, and more recently, has become a site to market services and promote both online and brick and mortar shops.
Mini Cherry Cheesecakes – small enough you can have more than 1! #valentinesday #pittsweets A photo posted by Oakland Bakery and Market (@oaklandbakery) on
While not commonly thought of as a “social media” site, YouTube is a video sharing site where content can be uploaded by users. Users can subscribe to a video creator’s channel to receive notifications when a new video is uploaded, comment on videos, give a thumbs up or thumbs down to a video, and share and embed video links. There is a vast amount of social communities on YouTube, such as makeup artists, amateur mechanics, and film and music reviewers. Be considerate of your identity when posting to YouTube via videos or comments, as your likeness and Google account will be affiliated with your contributions.
LinkedIn bills itself as the “world’s largest professional network.” Users create profiles to list their skills, job experience, and qualifications. LinkedIn users can create their network through adding colleagues and connections who are also users of the site to build a more robust portrait of their professional network and gain endorsements of their skills. Most of LinkedIn’s revenue is made from selling user’s information to recruiters and sales professionals, so avoid LinkedIn if this is an issue for you.
Pinterest is a photo sharing social media platform which allows users to create “boards,” not unlike mood boards, spanning a diverse range of topics, such as cooking, style, and gardening. Users can view public boards created by other users and create secret boards that are private from user’s views. Any image from the Internet can be posted to Pinterest, as long as it exists on a webpage. Thus, Oakland bakery could “pin” photos of their confections to a board featuring baked goods, and potentially be noticed by other users interested in baking and baked goods. As always, be considerate of those in your photos and be aware that Pinterest assumes ownership of your photos after you post them to the site.