Blackboard Ally now enabled in all courses

In order to help instructors and students transition to online learning, Blackboard Ally for LMS has been enabled in all Blackboard courses. Ally helps make digital course content more accessible by automatically providing alternative formats (such as semantic HTML, audio, ePub, and electronic Braille) and providing instructor feedback and guidance on fixing accessibility issues in a course. Please visit the UA Technology Accessibility website for more information.

Extortion Phishing Emails

OIT has received reports that some campus users have received extortion phishing emails. These emails include threatening language and also a compromised password found in a dark web credential dump. The email attempts to scare the recipient into giving up more information, including a Bitcoin payment. To be timely, the email even includes information about the Coronavirus. 

These types of emails are scams. If the password the malicious actor provided in the email is a password you have used, change it anywhere you may have used that password. Do not provide any further information, and delete the email. If you have any further concerns, contact OIT security at security@ua.edu.

Phishing Alert – Feb. 29

Saturday, Feb. 29, many UA students received a phishing email with the subject “Internship opportunity or Temporary Personal Assistant” This email is a scam attempt, not a legitimate job opportunity. 

Remember to notice the red flags of phishing emails. Look at the from email address of the email, and hover over links before you click to see the web address.

If you did receive an email like this, and you did provide any sensitive information, please contact the IT Service Desk at 205-348-5555 or itsd@ua.edu.

Phishing Alert – Feb. 28

Friday, Feb. 28, many UA students received a phishing email with the subject “THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA PART-TIME JOB OFFER” This email is a scam attempt, not a legitimate job opportunity. 

Remember to notice the red flags of phishing emails. Look at the from email address of the email, and hover over links before you click to see the web address.

If you did receive an email like this, and you did provide any sensitive information, please contact the IT Service Desk at 205-348-5555 or itsd@ua.edu.

2020 Tax Tips

Some data suggests that tax fraud is declining in response to increased security from the IRS and private entities, but that doesn’t mean hackers have given up hope! Beware of the following tax scams this tax season.

Phone Scams

Do not fall for scam phone calls where the caller pretends to be the IRS – this includes voicemails! Mobile phone service providers have gotten better at marking spam calls, but that does not prevent scammers from leaving voicemail messages. Some may request sensitive information while others request wire transfers. Remember that the IRS relies on traditional mail, not phone calls or emails.

Phishing Emails

Phishing remains the weapon of choice for scammers. In phishing emails, hackers pose as legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies or government organizations. According to the FTC, a typical consumer who is tricked by an IRS phishing email loses $1,000 in the scam. Remember the red flags of phishing.

Accountant Fraud

According to the IRS, almost 54% of taxpayers use a paid tax preparer. Do your research and use a credible tax partner or service. Ask your accountant what cybersecurity data precautions they have in place. You are the customer, and you have a right to know!

Protect your Information

Do not give out any personal information over the phone or email, and remember that should the IRS need to contact you, they will reach out through mail.

If you have any sensitive, tax documentation on your computer, remember to delete it after use. For example, if you download tax documents from myBama, remember to delete the file from your downloads folder after printing or storing in a secure environment. Review additional cybersecurity tips on the OIT website, and contact the IT Service Desk if you have any questions.

O365 Mailbox Migration

UA faculty and staff mailboxes will soon transition to the O365 cloud environment.

OIT is working with divisions and colleges across campus to migrate OIT-supported faculty and staff email mailboxes to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud environment. Hosting email in the cloud offers many benefits including business continuity, infrastructure cost savings, real time updates without system downtime, and email accessibility anywhere with an internet connection.

Migrating to O365 is a project that OIT has been working towards for over a year. OIT migrated their own mailboxes to the cloud in the fall of 2019.

“If we’re going to ask the campus community to make a change – we’re going to be the first to experience that change,” said Deputy CIO Mike Shelton. “We’ve performed testing within our own organization, as well as several pilot groups across campus. I’ve been very pleased with how smooth the testing has been.  We’ve really experienced minimal issues thanks to extensive planning and testing by our OIT project team.”

Project Progress

The Honors College, Registrar’s Office and some mailboxes from the College of Arts and Sciences were moved to the O365 cloud environment earlier this month. The School of Social Work and College of Education are the next groups to be migrated.

“Our current focus is to migrate all colleges this spring before many faculty members leave campus for the summer,” said Meagan Bennett, OIT director of customer relations. “We’ll shift our focus to more operational entities in the summer months.”

Colleges and divisions will be notified of their migration at least two weeks before their mailboxes will be migrated. The mailbox migration itself requires no action from the mailbox owner. After a mailbox is migrated, individuals will need to reconfigure their email settings on mobile devices, and login to Outlook on desktops.

Migration Preparation

To prepare for email migration, OIT encourages faculty and staff to upgrade the Office software on their computers to the latest version, Office ProPlus. By upgrading Microsoft Office to ProPlus, users can ensure they receive real-time software updates from Microsoft. ProPlus allows Microsoft to push updates as they become available directly to the machine, no future manual Microsoft Office updates required.

UA faculty and staff can login to the Microsoft Office portal, portal.office.com, with their mybamausername@ua.edu email address and myBama password to download Microsoft Office ProPlus.

“Having desktop software up to date will speed up the migration process,” said Shelton. “We have an aggressive timeline to migrate all OIT-supported mailboxes to the cloud to ensure a consistent experience for the campus community with all mailboxes being housed on one platform.

FA Email Addresses

A separate project is in motion to unify the Finance and Operations email platform with the University’s email platform in the Microsoft Office 365 cloud environment.  

“Having a unified email platform is going to bring many benefits,” said Shelton. “This will create a more efficient and seamless user experience across Finance and Operations and the remainder of the campus community.”

Individuals in Finance and Operations will be notified directly in advance of any mailbox migration.  

We’re Here to Help

Additional details about the mailbox migration project, Office ProPlus, and step-by-step instructions for software installation are available on the OIT website.

Box to End Support for High Sierra

Effective April 30, 2020, Box will no longer support Box Sync, Box Tools, Notes for Desktop and Box Drive on Mac OS X 10.13 (High Sierra). Box will continue to support Box applications on the latest two versions of Mac OS X (Mojave and Catalina). To continue to receive Box support and the latest security patches, ensure your Mac System is upgraded to either OS X 10.14 (Mojave) or OS X 10.15 (Catalina).

Phishing Alert – Feb. 13

Thursday, Feb. 13, many UA students received a phishing email with the subject “UA PART TIME JOB OPPORTUNITY” This email is a scam attempt, not a legitimate job opportunity. 

Remember to notice the red flags of phishing emails. Look at the from email address of the email, and hover over links before you click to see the web address.

If you did receive an email like this, and you did provide any sensitive information, please contact the IT Service Desk at 205-348-5555 or itsd@ua.edu.