13 Sep / 2018
Scammers pretending to be the Chinese Consulate office have recently started contacting people in the hopes of obtaining your bank account or credit card information. This social engineering attack has been recognized by the Federal Trade Commision (FTC). An attack like this reminds us that scammers are always trying new tactics to rob people by simply tricking them into making a mistake. This article intends to help you learn how these attacks work and how to identify them.
What is Social Engineering
According to SANS.org, social engineering is a psychological attack where an attacker tricks you into doing something that you shouldn’t do. This concept is not new. Con artists have been attempting to steal money from unknowing people for thousands of years. Scammers are essentially con artists using today’s technology to aid them in stealing. What makes this tactic so effective is that today’s technology allows them to not be physically seen and contact millions of people around the world either by phone call or email.
Take for example the recent attack from scammers pretending to be the Chinese Consulate. According to the FTC’s website, people across the country have reported getting a call or message saying they have to pick up a package at the Chinese Consulate office, or they need you to give them information to avoid being in trouble with the Chinese Consulate. We actually had multiple people at FIS receive this phone this week! This type of phone call is a perfect example of what social engineering is and what it is trying to accomplish.
Another example is a CEO fraud, which is an email attack that most often occurs at work. The way this attack work is a scammer researches your company and identifies the name of your boss or coworker. This is especially easy to obtain here at the University of Pittsburgh as most information like this is public knowledge. The attacker then creates an email pretending to be that person which asks you to take some sort of action such as wiring them money or emailing sensitive company/employee information.
You should know that social engineering attacks are not limited to emails and phone calls. They can occur in any form. The best thing you can do is be as informed as possible on the subject and never, ever send money or sensitive data over the phone or via email if someone is asking for it.
How to Detect a Social Engineering Attack
While social engineering attacks are dangerous and tricky, stopping such an attack is simpler then it seems. Often times, common sense is your best defense. Listed below are some of the more common clues of a social engineering attack.
- Someone creating a sense of urgency that requires immediate action. For example, you may receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from a computer support company that tells you your computer is infected and you need to purchase their security software or risk losing all of your computer data.
- Someone asking for information they should not have access to such as bank account numbers or social security numbers.
- Someone asking for a password. Legitimate companies will not ask you for your password.
- Something that seems too good to be true. For example, being notified you won an iPad or the lottery.
- Receiving an email from a friend or coworker that contains verbiage that does not sound like it’s from them.
If any of those scenarios occur, you should take appropriate action such as hang up the phone or delete the email. In the instance of receiving an odd email from a friend or coworker, it is recommended to reach out to them through some other means of communication. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal or review your security awareness training.
06 Sep / 2018
We all know the role that social media now plays in the world. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and LinkedIn, social media has become nearly inescapable. While these sites are amazing resources for connecting people across the globe, they all come with risks. These risks not only could affect you but also your friends, family, and employer. This article is going to cover some key steps for securely using social media.
Perhaps the most important and obvious step towards securely using social media is to be careful of what you post. Even if you enable privacy features and think your posts are not viewable to everyone, you should still post with the mindset that it can be viewed by everyone. If it could negatively impact your reputation and future, it should not be posted on any social media platform.
Even though privacy features should not be viewed as a filter that blocks your posts from being viewed by anyone, they should still be enabled. Almost all social media sites have strong privacy features. However, with strong privacy features comes change and confusion. You should make it a habit to check for any changes and to confirm they are working the way they are intended.
Another seemingly obvious security step is to create a strong, unique password. This has been drilled into all computer users head’s but it is still avoided by many people. The reason for its avoidance is simple. People have a hard time remembering complex passwords and do not want to have to remember passwords for multiple systems. While we recognize the annoyance in having multiple complex passwords, it is still a key step in securely using not only social media sites but computers in general.
Unfortunately, creating a strong password for all of your accounts is no longer enough. You should still have a strong password but you should also enable two-factor authentication on all of your social media accounts. Pitt has already enabled two-factor authentication when logging into my.pitt.edu in order to protect you from people who could potentially obtain your password. While this may seem like more work, your personal information will be substantially more secure. To look at it another way, you would not want simply having your ATM card as a way to withdraw money. Banks knew this and decided a pin was also necessary to access the features of an ATM card.
You should also be careful of what you click on when using social media sites. There is a good chance you can be tricked into providing personal information by clicking on a fraudulent post or link. If a friend’s post seems suspicious you should avoid accessing it.
Being careful of what you post, creating a strong password, enabling two-factor authentication, and being careful of what you click on when using social media sites are all effective ways to securely use social media. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
30 Aug / 2018
We are pleased to announce that Amani Hill has accepted the Support Analyst position in FIS Technical Services, effective August 27, 2018. Her responsibilities include analyzing and troubleshooting technical support requests, user documentation creation, customer training, and ITIL process management.
Amani recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Science while simultaneously working. Additionally, she has an extensive background in customer service. Her experience and knowledge will make her a valuable asset to Customer Support. Amani will be located in B44 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Carrie Armstrong.
Amani was born in the capital of Missouri, Jefferson City, but she currently lives east of Pittsburgh with her fiance, Brennan, and Chihuahua, Aladdin. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and watching anime. Her favorite restaurant is Smoke BBQ Taqueria in Lawrenceville. If she could meeting anyone, Amani would like to meet Rob Zombie.
Please join me in welcoming Amani to FIS and the Technical Services team!
Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to continue our discussion on Microsoft Planner. Part I on Planner focused on what it is, how to access it, and how to create buckets and tasks. Part II is going to focus on how to check on the status of tasks and view the schedule for the various tasks that have been created.
How to Check on the Status of Tasks
To check on the status of tasks, click “Charts” which will be located underneath the various Teams channel spaces (discussed in Part II of Teams). Charts will display the status of the tasks. It lets you know which tasks have not been started, are in progress, late, or completed. It will also display the various buckets that were created as well as your team members. The team members section will show the status of their individual tasks.
View Schedule for Various Tasks Created
Next to Charts is “Schedule” which functions hand in hand with checking on the status of tasks. Schedule will display the various tasks that have been assigned and their status in calendar format. It will allow you to see when the start date and end date of the task. Also, you can open the task directly from the calendar. You can also change the display between week and month.
This ends the series on Planner. As you may have noticed, it is a relatively straightforward and lightweight program that definitely has its advantages as a task manager.
Continue to check the FIS website for more exciting articles on Microsoft Office 365 applications. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to move on from Teams (Part I, II, III and IV) and start to discuss Microsoft Planner. Part I is going to focus on what it is, how to access it, and how to create buckets and assign tasks.
What is Planner
Planner provides a hub for team members to create plans, organize and assign tasks to different users, and to check updates on progress through dashboards. In other words, Planner is a task manager and is a great way to organize teamwork. It is a great solution for those without an extensive background in Project Management, and it has tight integration with Office 365 for ease of access. Listed below are many of the features of Planner:
- Create new plans, assign tasks, and share files with others
- Organize teamwork and collaborate on projects in a simple, visual way
- Chat with others to make sure you’re on the same page
- Keep track of your team’s progress and stay on top of your project
- Works within Microsoft Teams
- Access the application from anywhere on any device
We will be getting into more detail of Planner features, but that list gives you a pretty basic idea of all its capabilities. As a result of all those functions, it can be overwhelming when viewing and using it for the first time. Let’s start with possibly the most important and easiest part. How to access it.
How to Access Planner
Planner can be accessed by going to portal.office.com, logging in with your Pitt Credentials, clicking “Explore all your apps”, and selecting the Planner icon. There is currently no locally installed application. It can also be opened within Microsoft Teams. To open it within Teams, click on your team channel, select the plus symbol at the top of the page, and choose Planner. You will be prompted to enter a tab name. Once it is accessed, the next step towards effectively using it is creating buckets and assigning tasks to individuals.
How to Create Buckets and Assign Tasks
We are going to focus on using Planner within Teams as the ease of access is one of the program’s greatest benefits. Buckets should be thought of as the event or project. To create a bucket, simply click “Add New Bucket” and enter a name. Within each bucket, you can assign tasks to individuals. To create a task, click the plus symbol, enter a task name, set a due date, and assign the task to an individual. More details can be included by clicking on the task you created. You can include a description of the task as well as add checklists, comments, and attachments. You can also include a start date and adjust the due date. From the assignee’s perspective, they will receive an email and can open their assigned task from the message’s contents.
Thus concludes the first part on Microsoft Planner. Please check in next week to find out more about this exciting and useful application. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to continue discussing Teams. Part I discussed what Teams is, how to access it, and how to create a team. Part II discussed the various channel spaces within the team you created. Part III focused on meetings, managing your team, and apps. Part IV is going to focus on Polly as well as briefly touch on chat, activity, T-bot, and search.
Polly is a bot that allows you to create polls. It can be downloaded through apps and integrated into Teams as its own tab. You can view the various polls you created, view poll results, and see who created polls once Polly is its own tab on the team channel you created. To create a poll, go to the conversations tab on the team channel you created. Once there, click in the “Start a new conversation. Type @ to mention someone” field. Enter @Polly and type in your question and poll options. For example, “Do you like Microsoft Teams? Yes, No” and hit enter. Polly will then create the poll for you. Keep in mind Polly cannot have more than five options as of right now.
Chat functions in much the same way as Skype for Business. It allows you to directly chat with members of your team. The member of your team who you are chatting with is the only person who is able to see what is being discussed. Chat also gives you the option to audio and video call. This option is located in the top right-hand corner of the chat you are within.
Activity keeps track of what’s going on within Teams. Each new or unchecked activity will be highlighted in bold. When you click on an activity, you will be directly taken to the section of Teams that it occurred in. Activity also contains a filter option. Filter allows you to sort by unread, mentions, replies, following, likes, missed call, voicemail, and apps.
T-bot is located within the chat location. It provides answers to questions about using Teams.
Search is just like it sounds. It will allow you to search for anything that was mentioned within Teams. It is located at the top of the application at all times.
This ends the series on Microsoft Teams. Please check in next week as we delve into Microsoft Planner. For more information, please submit a help ticket through the FIS portal.
30 Jul / 2018
We are pleased to announce that Kimberly Phillips has accepted the Engagement Analyst position in FIS Technical Services, effective July 23rd, 2018. Her responsibilities include supporting critical business strategies by managing application development and website projects, engaging stakeholders, and providing user experience and quality assurance.
Kimberly holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business Administration concentrating on Information Systems Management and Statistics.
She obtained both degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. Kimberly has over 15 years of experience in various business and systems related roles. She previously worked for 10 years at Pitt in various positions with the most noteworthy position being Project Manager/Business Analyst at FIS. Kimberly will be located in B-44 Cathedral of Learning and will report to Carol Zielinski.
Kimberly is married and has three children, two daughters, Lexi (15) and Gigi (13) and a son, Brennan (10). She also has two dogs, Tasha and Bailey, but at one time her family had nine pets! Kimberly enjoys reading, candy crush, leading Girl Scouts, biking, martial arts, traveling, and learning new things. Her favorite restaurants are Nicky’s Thai Kitchen and Bahama Breeze. If she could have any job, she would like to be a shark on Shark Tank.
Please join us in welcoming Kimberly to the Technical Services team!
Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to continue discussing Teams. Part I discussed what Teams is, how to access it, and how to create a team. Part II discussed the various channel spaces within the team you created. Part III is going to focus on meetings, managing your team, and apps.
Meetings is a clickable icon that is located in the sidebar on the left-hand side of Teams. It allows you to schedule, edit, join, accept, decline and cancel meetings as well as view your Outlook calendar on a day to day basis. The meeting invites you send will come into an invitee’s Outlook inbox. So it works in conjunction with Outlook. To create a meeting, click the “Schedule a meeting” icon at the bottom of the page. At this point, you will be able to enter the title, location, start time, end time, and details of the meetings. To invite someone to the meeting, start typing their name in the “Invite Someone” field and they will appear in the drop-down below. Once the meeting starts the interface is very similar to Skype for Business. In fact, Teams Meetings will eventually be taking the place for Skype for Business. Also, you are able to record your meetings in Teams.
Managing your team
Managing your team provides you with a wide variety of options such as: adding members, changing members role permissions, adding channels, adding a team picture, changing guest role permissions, etc. To manage your team, click on the ellipses icon next to the team you created and select “Manage team” from the available drop-down options. This is where you can add members and change their permissions. To add a member, click the “Add member” icon on the top right-hand side of the page, type in their name and click “Add”. The other options manage teams provides is channels, settings, and apps. Channels allows you to add channels and settings provides you with multiple options mainly involving permissions. Apps will be discussed below.
Apps displays a list of programs that you have integrated with Teams. A default set of applications is listed that is entirely organization based but you are able to add apps. To add apps, click the “Go to store” icon located in the top right-hand corner of the page and select from a very large list of programs. Apps can also be added as tabs to your team channels. To add an app as a tab, go to the team channel you created (in previous parts of this series the channel is General) and click the “+” icon at the top of the page. A list of apps will appear. Select the app you want to add. At this point, it will let you name the tab and add any appropriate content.
Thus concludes the third part on Microsoft Teams. Please check in next week for the last part on Microsoft Teams. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to continue discussing Teams. Part I ended with how to create a team. Part II on Teams is going to focus on the channel spaces within the team you created.
There are three different channel spaces contained within the team you created. The spaces are conversations, files, and notebook. They are accessed by clicking on the team you created and selecting a channel (for example, General). Once on the channel, the spaces are at the top of the screen. The channel space we are going to start with is conversations because it is more than likely what you will use the most.
Mainly, conversations allows you to live chat with other members of your teams. If you want to address someone specifically with the teams conversations channel, type the @ symbol and a list of the various members of your team will appear. Simply select their name and type in your message. Everyone will be able to see the message but the person you specifically addressed it to will get a notification. If you wanted to address your team members in a more formal way, you can use the formatting option. The formatting option lets you add a subject to your message, change font options like color and size, and mark the message as important. This would be useful for creating an announcement to your team. You can also create announcements and mark them as important. A few other less important but fun options conversations provides is the ability to add stickers, add GIFs, and create memes. Lastly, conversations contains a “Meet Now” icon. Meet now works like a skype meeting. You can record the meetings and save transcripts.
The second channel space we are going to discuss is files. Files is pretty self-explanatory. It lets you create or upload documents. If you are creating a document, it will open in the online version of the program you are using which doesn’t have all of the features of the locally installed versions. However, the online versions are more than suitable to use when creating basic word documents, excel spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations. Once the document is created or uploaded, it is stored in the files channel space. At this point, you can open it in SharePoint and a site will be created.
Notebook usage varies based on the team you created. Since part one of this series advised that the team you are most likely going to want to choose is PLCs, the notebook usage example will be PLCs. The PLC Notebook is essentially a digital three-ring binder that works in conjunction with OneNote. OneNote within Teams functions as if the program was installed locally on your computer. You are able to create sections which look like tabs in a binder and pages within those sections. This feature could be very helpful when dealing with large projects that involve multiple meetings. Each meeting could have its own section and the various things discussed can have their own pages.
Thus concludes the second part on Microsoft Teams. Please check in next week to find out more about this exciting and useful application. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
Today is the start of a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. This series intention is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to begin this series with Microsoft Teams. Part I on Teams is going to focus on what it is, how to access it, and how to create a team.
What is Teams
Microsoft’s training demonstrations describe Teams as “A hub for teamwork that provides people with a single place to communicate and collaborate with others.” It was created and designed with the express purpose of having everything customers need to perform their job function from a single application. Listed below are many of the features of Teams:
- Seamlessly integrates with Outlook
- Access OneDrive without opening a new window
- Access all of your OneNote folders
- Collaborate in real time with Office Suite files (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
- Communicate in real time with colleagues
- Streamline workflow by using a staff notebook
- Links to other cloud storage
We will be getting into more detail of Teams features, but that list gives you a pretty basic idea of all its capable of doing. As a result of all those functions, it can be overwhelming when viewing and using it for the first time. Let’s start with possibly the most important and easiest part. How to access it.
How to Access Teams
It can be accessed by going to portal.office.com, logging in with your Pitt credentials, and clicking on the Teams icon. This will open up Teams in a browser tab. A desktop version is also available. It can be installed on the machine once the browser-based version of Teams is open by clicking on the “Get app” icon located in the bottom left-hand corner. Once it is installed, the next step towards effectively using it is creating a team.
How to Create a Team
To create a team, select the “Teams” icon located on the left-hand side and click “Join or create a team” at the bottom. Click “Create a team” and choose between Classes, PLCs, Staff Members, and Anyone. The teams you are more than likely going to want to choose are either PLCs or Staff Members. PLCs should be chosen when colleagues need to work with other colleagues. Staff Members should be created by an admin or supervisor for employees that work for them. Enter the name of your team, an optional description, and choose whether the team is public or private. Private means only team owners can add members whereas public means anyone in your organization can join. The last step is to add people to your team and make them either members or owners. At this point, the team you created will appear within the Teams section with a channel titled “General” appearing underneath the name of the team you created. Channels are a way to organize the team you just created. For example, if you are working on a project that involves multiple tasks, you can create various channels associated with the specific tasks of the project. To add a channel to a team, click the ellipses icon directly to the right of the team you created and select “Add Channel.” Enter the channel name and an optional description.
Thus concludes the first part on Microsoft Teams. Please check in next week to find out more about this exciting and useful application. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.