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.
10 Feb / 2016
For smartphone users, storage limits can be quickly and easily reached, especially the longer you own a specific device. To control this, consider making some of these tips, as profiled by Mashable, part of your smartphone routine.
Determine Your Storage Capacity
A helpful first step in reclaiming your smartphone’s storage space is assessing your phone’s storage and what kind of files and data are occupying the most space on your device:
iOS through iPhone:
To view where you’re using most of your storage, go to the Settings app, then choose General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage. You’ll see how much you’ve used, how much space is available and what apps is taking up the most space. Remember, your operating system and updates will take up space as well.
After you have identified the types files and data that are occupying the most space on your device, you can begin to clear space on your smartphone.
iOS through iTunes:
Open iTunes on your personal computer and connect your device. Select your device and hover your cursor over a content type, such as Audio or Photos, to view the amount of space it takes up in relation to how much space is on your device overall. After you have identified the types files and data that are occupying the most space on your device, you can begin to clear space on your smartphone.
Android through your Mobile Phone:
Go to Settings > General > Storage to have your phone calculate the amount of space used by Apps, Downloads, and Audio in relation to overall space on your device.
After you have identified the types files and data that are occupying the most space on your device, you can begin to clear space on your smartphone.
Time to Clean Up
Delete Old or Unused Apps: Do you still have last year’s viral game or app downloaded on your phone? Has it gone untouched for months? If so, it’s time to clean out your applications. Similarly, if you have multiple apps that have the same function, such as photo editing apps, pare them down to one to two depending on your needs.
To delete an app on iPhone, long press on an app’s icon until all your apps start to shake. Then, tap the X in the corner of any app you want to delete. If there isn’t an X, that means it’s a native app and you can’t delete it. In this mode, you can also move your apps around. To exit this mode, press the home button and your apps will stop shaking.
To delete an app on Android, go to the app drawer and long press an app’s icon and drag it to the “uninstall” message that appears after the long press. (If this app has a shortcut on the home screen, dragging it to “remove” will only remove it from the home screen instead of uninstalling it from the device. Similarly to iPhone, if the “uninstall” option does not appear, the app is native to your device and cannot be uninstalled from your phone.
Delete duplicate photos, videos, screenshots, or downloads.
Move videos, photos, and screenshots to more permanent spaces such as your personal computer or a cloud service for those with files taking up the majority of space on their device.
- Moving your files to a personal computer or cloud service has the added benefit of effectively backing up files formerly only found on your phone.
- iCloud, Box, Flickr, Microsoft One Drive, Google, and Amazon are cloud options that could meet this need. Consider security, ease of use and price when choosing a cloud option on which to back up your files.
Change Your Usage Habits
Consider the types files and data that occupied the most space on your device:
If music was an issue, consider switching from downloading and storing music locally on your device to using a streaming service or joining a music subscription service. Some such services include Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and SoundCloud.
While these apps and services can alleviate storage issues, they may not offer offline streaming of tracks and if they do, it may impact your device’s storage.
If photos and video were an issue, ensure that 4K video recording, if possible on your device, is not a default setting. 4K video files are much larger than HD and full HD video files and are unviewable unless shown on a 4K TV or computer monitor.
If you are an Android user, consider using a mircoSD card to move files from internal storage to the microSD card.
Removable memory cards allow users to expand internal storage and offload files. If your Android phone does not include a file manager to move files form internal to microSD card storage (and vice versa), Mashable recommends the free file managers ES File Manager or File Manger.
iPhone, however, is not eligible for this storage tip as they do not have microSD card slots.
04 Feb / 2016
We are pleased to announce that Maya Bayer accepted a position as a Web Developer in FIS Technical Services effective January 25, 2016.
Maya holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from the University of Algiers. She previously worked for MetaTechnical as the Chief Web Designer and Front-end Web Developer. Maya’s responsibilities include design and maintenance of all departmental web sites in the care of FIS as well as custom graphic designs for our custom applications. She is located in 1900 Cathedral of Learning and reports to Rich Welsh.
Please join us in welcoming Maya to FIS and the Technical Services team!
25 Jan / 2016
A list of the Worst Passwords of 2015 was published this month by SplashData, a company specializing in password management software.
If your passwords are among the those listed or similar, it might be time to consider creating and utilizing stronger passwords. FIS has multiple Knowledge Base articles to assist with the creation of secure passwords.
Avoid dictionary words but consider password phrases, repeated characters, and patterns found on a typical keyboard.
Save the spouse’s, child’s, pet’s names and other personal information for security questions for two-step authentication, but choose the ones that are most unique to you and least guessable. Consider what information regarding such answers can easily be found on your social media profiles.
Be sure to include at least three of the following four character types in your passwords – even if the account in question does not require them and it is possible to include them:
- Uppercase letters (A through Z)
- Lowercase letters (a through z)
- Numerals (0 through 9)
- Non-alphabetic, special characters (!, $, #,%, and others)
Learn about Accounts & Passwords on the FIS Knowledge Base.
- Why does my password expire and why do I have to change it?
- Why does my password need to be so long?
- Why shouldn’t I use common words for my password? They are easier for me to remember.
- Why shouldn’t I use personal names or numbers for my password?
FIS ensures that our customers change their passwords every 60 days, or approximately 2 months. This is to ensure that if a hacker obtains an encrypted password, there is a chance that it will be changed by the customer before the hacker enters the account.
Not all accounts that require a password require customers to change their passwords after a set amount of time. However, it could be a good habit to bring in the new year to change your passwords every two months or so!
Read more about University Accounts and Password Durations.
Questions about changing your FIS Password? Consult the Changing Your FIS Password Article to familiarize yourself with the ways in which you can change you password:
- The Windows Change Password Screen – a voluntary way to change your password
- At the initial login message when your password has expired
- Call FIS Customer Support to reset it
14 Dec / 2015
Full technical and functional assistance for all systems, hardware, and software supported by FIS will end at 5:00 PM on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 and resume at 8:00 AM on Monday, January 4, 2016.
As in prior years, only emergency technical and functional support will be available during the Winter Recess and will not include such things as development work, web updates, equipment moves and installations, loaner equipment requests, application configuration, software deployments, training, or new account creations.
To receive timely service, it is important to follow the instructions below to initiate a request for service. Please do not call, leave a voice-mail message, or e-mail a FIS staff member directly to initiate a request for service. All requests will be responded to during the hours listed below according to the levels outlined in the Service Level Agreement. When requesting service, it is important to provide a telephone number where you can be reached during the support hours.
|Date||Hours of Operation|
|Thursday, December 24||Closed|
|Friday, December 25||Closed|
|Monday, December 28||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Tuesday, December 29||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Wednesday, December 30||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Thursday, December 31||9:00 AM – 3:00 PM|
|Friday, January 1||Closed|
|Monday, January 4||Resume full operations at 8AM|
To initiate an FIS request for service, use the following methods:
During Operating Hours
Outside Operating Hours
|FIS Support Portal
Submit a ticket for all requests
|FIS Emergency Support Hotline
Dial 412-624-FIS1 (3471)
|FIS After Hours Critical Support Hotline
Dial (866) PITT-FIS
*Please call this hotline if the portal is unavailable or there is a critical issue that needs attention immediately.
**Please call this hotline outside of operating hours for issues that severely impact immediate productivity.
To initiate a PRISM request, use the following methods:
|Submit a Help Ticket||Dial 412-624-HELP (4357)|
Happy Holidays from FIS!
07 Dec / 2015
Our latest project has just been completed!
The Policy Review Committee for Patents, Copyright and Conflict of Interest is charged with reviewing and rewriting the University’s policies on patents, copyright, and conflict of interest to be aligned and supportive of improving the ability of our faculty to work productively with external partners and effectively translate research and scholarship in ways that will support the University’s shared goal of enhancing the beneficial impact of our work on society. The committee is committed to actively engaging the Pitt community in the policy review process and encourages continual feedback and suggestions.
This website functions as a portal for faculty, staff, and students to learn information about these policies, to stay up-to-date with the activities and progress of the committee, and to provide input into these policy changes.
27 Oct / 2015
Brought to you by SecuringTheHuman.org, FIS’ Security Awareness Training partner.
A security program that can run on a computer or mobile device and protects you by identifying and stopping the spread of malware on your system. Anti-virus cannot detect all malware, so even if it is active, your system might still get infected. Anti-virus can also be used at the organizational level. For example, email servers may have anti-virus integrated with it to scan incoming or outgoing email. Sometimes anti-virus tools are called ‘anti-malware’, because these products are designed to defend against various types of malicious software.
These attacks exploit vulnerabilities in your browser or its plugins and helper applications when you simply surf to an attacker-controlled website. Some computer attackers set up their own evil websites that are designed to automatically attack and exploit anyone that visits the website. Other attackers compromise trusted websites such as ecommerce sites and deploy their exploit software there. Often these attacks occur without the victims realizing that they are under attack.
Code that is designed to take advantage of a vulnerability. An exploit is designed to give an attacker the ability to execute additional malicious programs on the compromised system or to provide unauthorized access to affected data or applications.
A security program that filters inbound and outbound network connections. In some ways you can think of firewalls as a virtual traffic cop, determining which traffic can go through the firewall. Almost all computers today come with firewall software installed. In addition, firewalls can be implemented as network devices to filter traffic that traverses through them.
Malware – Virus, Worm, Trojan, Spyware
Malware stands for ‘malicious software’. It is any type of code or program cyber attackers use to perform malicious actions. Traditionally there have been different types of malware based on their capabilities and means of propagation, as we have listed below. However these technical distinctions are no longer relevant as modern malware combines the characteristics from each of these in a single program.
- Virus: A type of malware that spreads by infecting other files, rather than existing in a standalone manner. Viruses often, though not always, spread through human interaction, such as opening an infected file or application.
- Worm: A type of malware that can propagate automatically, typically without requiring any human interaction for it to spread. Worms often spread across networks, though they can also infect systems through other means, such as USB keys. An example of a worm is Conficker, which infected millions of computer systems starting in 2008 and is still active today.
- Trojan: A shortened form of “Trojan Horse”, this type of malware appears to have a legitimate or at least benign use, but masks a hidden sinister function. For example, you may download and install a free screensaver which actually works well as a screensaver. But that software could also be malicious, it will infect your computer once you install it.
- Spyware: A type of malware that is designed to spy on the victim’s activities, capturing sensitive data such as the person’s passwords, online shopping, and screen contents. One popular type of spyware, a keylogger, is optimized for logging the victim’s keyboard activity and transmitting the captured information to the remote attacker.
A patch is an update to a vulnerable program or system. A common practice to keep your computer and mobile devices secure is installing the latest vendor’s patches in a timely fashion. Some vendors release patches on a monthly or quarterly basis. Therefore, having a computer that is unpatched for even a few weeks could leave it vulnerable.
Phishing is a social engineering technique where cyber attackers attempt to fool you into taking an action in response to an email. Phishing was a term originally used to describe a specific attack scenario. Attackers would send out emails pretending to be a trusted bank or financial institution, their goal was to fool victims into clicking on a link in the email. Once clicked, victims were taken to a website that pretended to be the bank, but was really created and controlled by the attacker. If the victim attempted to login thinking they were at their bank, their login and password would then be stolen by the attacker. The term has evolved and often means not just attacks designed to steal your password, but emails designed to send you to websites that hack into your browser, or even emails with infected attachments.
A psychological attack used by cyber attackers to deceive their victims into taking an action that will place the victim at risk. For example, cyber attackers may trick you into revealing your password or fool you into installing malicious software on your computer. They often do this by pretending to be someone you know or trust, such as a bank, company or even a friend.
Unwanted or unsolicited emails, typically sent to numerous recipients with the hope of enticing people to read the embedded advertisements, click on a link or open an attachment. Spam is often used to convince recipients to purchase illegal or questionable products and services, such as pharmaceuticals from fake companies. Spam is also often used to distribute malware to potential victims.
Spear phishing describes a type of phishing attack that target specific victims. But instead of sending out an email to millions of email addresses, cyber attackers send out a very small number of crafted emails to very specific individuals, usually all at the same organization. Because of the targeted nature of this attack, spear phishing attacks are often harder to detect and usually more effective at fooling the victims.
This is any weakness that attackers or their malicious programs may be able to exploit. For example it can be a bug in a computer program or a misconfigured webserver. An attacker or malware may be able to take advantage of the vulnerability to gain unauthorized access to the affected system. However, vulnerabilities can also be a weakness in people or organizational processes.
13 Oct / 2015
Marking its fifth year on October 1, STOP. THINK. CONNECT. is simple, actionable advice that everyone can follow to stay safer and more secure online. National Cyber Security Awareness Month will launch with a focus on making this basic advice a guiding principle so that we can navigate the Internet ‒ and our digital lives ‒ safely and more securely.
STOP: make sure security measures are in place.
THINK: about the consequences of your actions and behaviors online.
CONNECT: and enjoy the Internet.
Below are tips and advice on staying safe, securing your devices and being a good online citizen.
Keep a Clean Machine
- Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
- Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
- Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, your smartphones, gaming systems and other webâ€enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
- Plug & scan: USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.
Protect Your Personal Information
- Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.
- Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
- Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.
- Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
- Own your online presence: Set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.
Connect with Care
- When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often the ways cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or, if appropriate, mark as junk email.
- Get savvy about Wiâ€Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
- Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security-enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.
Be Web Wise
- Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information, share with friends, family and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.
- Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true or asks for personal information.
- Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.
Be a Good Online Citizen
- Safer for me, more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
- Post only about others as you have them post about you.
- Help the authorities fight cybercrime: Report stolen finances, identities and cybercrime to http://www.ic3.gov (the Internet Crime Complaint Center) and http://www.onguardonline.gov/file-complaint (the FTC).
Visit http://www.stopthinkconnect.org for more information.
09 Oct / 2015
October is designated as National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
Throughout the month, we’ll be posting ways to stay safe online. We use the internet more every day than we realize, from banking, shopping and staying in touch with loved ones. Everyone has a role to play in cybersecurity, whether it’s protecting their families from identity theft, protecting their workplaces from cyber attacks, or protecting their communities from cyber predators.
Here are some tips to stay safe online:
- Set strong passwords and don’t share them with anyone;
- Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates;
- Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about Internet safety;
- Limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely;
- Be cautious about what you receive or read online—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is; and
- Visit www.DHS.gov/StopThinkConnect to learn more about how you can help strengthen America’s cybersecurity.