Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Students: Get Connected!

The Information Technology Services (ITS) Help Desk is here to assist you - email or call 651-696-6525. If you bring a computer, smartphone, tablet or gaming device to campus, it must be registered before connecting to the College network. Registration simply associates your name with your device(s), so that we can contact you quickly if there are problems.  To register, launch a Web browser and go to

Want to get on wireless?  The 'Macalester-Student' wireless network segment is set aside for your use. To get on it, you must enter a wireless 'key' one time. (The 2014-2015 student wireless key remains the same as it was last year, so if you are returning, you should be good.)  The key has been emailed to you via the "ITS-Alerts-Student" list on Wednesday 8/27.

Please do not share this key - if you do, you may compromise the security and confidentiality of your data.  Be assured that guests have their own dedicated network segment ('Macalester-Guest,' which does not require a key.  Have Mom and Dad use this one.)

If you have any difficulty with your computer, stop by the drop-in sessions in Neill Hall 304 on Thursday, August 28th and Friday, August 29th between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. If you are unable to attend a drop-in session, the ITS Help Desk in Neill 314 will also be open 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday 8/30, Sunday 8/31 and Monday 9/1.  New students, check out the First Year "Techlist" for more information on campus computing:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Communications from Macalester's ITS

Welcome (or welcome back) to Macalester College, from all of us in Information Technology Services! We will tell you whenever there's something important happening with information technologies at Macalester.  We send advance notice of scheduled system downtimes, planned maintenance, new developments and other issues that affect you.  Our primary communication venues are this Notices and Alerts blog (hint: you're reading it now) and the Daily Piper, published by the Communications & Public Relations office.  Check these sources first. 

When unplanned system events or problems arise, we also use 'ITS-Alerts' e-mail lists to reach faculty, staff and students.  We try to notify you of significant technical events. We realize you prefer messages that are brief, clear, relevant and infrequent. ITS staff will always communicate with you using our own Macalester accounts or with Macalester distribution lists, such as ITS-Alerts.  All ITS staff are listed in the online Directory, and all of us include accurate contact information in messages we send.

Don't be fooled by "phishing" scam emails. These fake messages look like official communications from banks, government offices or Macalester ITS. They try to trick you into revealing confidential information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, supposedly "to verify your account" or "confirm your email." If you reply, your information can be used to perpetrate fraud in your name, or even get access to your bank accounts, medical records, etc. You should never reply to a phishing scam or click links in it. If you are suspicious of any email you receive, please call our Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

How can you recognize a phishing scam?  Here are some common clues.

*No legitimate institution will ask you to divulge personal or account information via e-mail.  ITS staff will never do so.  This clue alone is a dead giveaway.

*Phishing scams often ask for information that a legitimate sender should already have.  (Why would your bank ask you for your account number? Why would ITS staff ask for your e-mail username?)

*The message uses generic phrases like "Dear Account Holder" or "Dear Property Owner" rather than your name.  (If you have an account with a firm, wouldn't they use your name in correspondence?)

*The message originates from someone you do not know, with a 'From:' address that seems odd. The signature will be vague, probably not the same as the 'From:' address, possibly a meaningless phrase like "Account Team" or "Financial Services."

*Bad grammar, misspellings, clumsy punctuation, odd capitalization, and broken or badly-written English are nearly ubiquitous in phishing scams.

Remember, ITS staff will NEVER ask for your password via email!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Faculty/Staff Wireless Key Changing Tuesday 8/26/14

Faculty and staff members: the 'Macalester' segment of our wireless network is set aside for your use. Students and guests have their own segments. To access your wireless network, you need to enter a wireless 'key' one time for the entire year. The current key will be replaced with a new key by 8:00 AM on Tuesday August 26. Faculty and staff will receive the new wireless key via ITS-Alerts email on Friday August 22. If you need assistance changing your wireless key, please call the ITS Help Desk at 651-696-6525.

Please do not share the faculty/staff key with others. Doing so may compromise the security of your data. As noted, both students and guests have their own network segments.