Announcements

    University Scheduled Phone Outage March 13

    The university will have a scheduled telephone outage on Thursday, March 13, beginning at 6 p.m.and ending at 6:45 p.m. This planned outage will affect all incoming and outgoing calls on the Hattiesburg campus, which includes local, local area, long distance and emergency calls. It will also affect any calls from the Gulf Coast campuses to numbers outside the 228 area code as those calls are redirected through the main campus.

    Please note you will experience a brief disruption of service for phone access during this time. All scheduled outages and maintenance will have current up-to-date news on the iTech website under recent news.

    If you need to address an issue concerning this outage, contact the iTech Help Desk at 601.266.HELP (4357) before Thursday, March 6.

    02.20.14 Scheduled Email Maintenance for Faculty/Staff Email

    iTech will have a scheduled maintenance window today, on Thursday, Feb.20, beginning at 9 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m. for faculty/staff email.  This planned outage could potentially cause a brief disruption of service for email access from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. All scheduled outages and maintenance will have current up-to-date news on the iTech website at www.usm.edu/itech under recent news.

    If you need to address an issue concerning this outage, contact the iTech Help Desk at 601.266.HELP (4357).

    02.20.14 iTech Security Announcement: Phishing E-mails

    Recently, the Southern Miss community has been receiving phishing E-mails prompting you to restore your e-mail quota by clicking a link to clear up space. WARNING: this is an attempt to steal the password used for your email and SOAR accounts.  No one from iTech will ever ask you for your password via E-mail. That belongs to you and should be kept safe. 

    Beware of Cryptolocker Virus

    A relatively new ransom ware trojan virus has been actively attacking campus users and computers. This virus is best known as Cryptolocker.

    Cryptolocker’s goal is to encrypt your data and request a payment in order for you to retrieve it.  Once your files are encrypted, there is no way to decrypt them without paying the ransom.  You will no longer have access to your files. A screenshot of the Cryptolocker ransom page can be seen below:

    Currently, this will only affect Windows based computers but is expected to follow suit of "FBI Ransomware" and "Browlock"; viruses that infected Apple and Linux operating systems.

    The main entry points of this virus are by counterfeit emails with the virus attached (email attachments), downloads from infected web sites, and inclusion in additional malware downloaded by other trojans already infecting a computer (botnets). 

    Currently, antivirus applications have been able to detect Cryptolocker, but none have been able to successfully block it before it encrypts files.  

    Paying the ransom is not recommended, however, once your files are encrypted, the only sure way to get them back without paying up is from a backup.  Prevention is much better than a cure. Some way to protect your files are to:

    • Be cautious of email attachments
      • Avoid opening attachments that you weren’t expecting, or from people you don’t know well.
    • Patch your operating system and applications.
      • If your computer a part of the University's Active Directory environment, your computer will have the latest security patches.
    • Use your antivirus program
      • Run up-to-date antivirus software and be sure to have it check for new virus definitions at least once a day. If your computer a part of the University's Active Directory environment, this will be done automatically. Our latest antivirus (Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection) is available via the iTech Software Downloads page.
    • Secure your data backups
      • Make regular backups of your files. If you are using iTech's Eagle Backup system, there will be multiple versions of your data stored and will increase the likelihood of recovery if you were to be infected.  If you are using other means of data backup such as Dropbox or Carbonite, be aware that they can potentially back up your files for you, but they won’t help with recovery if you happen to get infected.

    If you believe that you are infected with any malware, and not just Cryptolocker, contact the iTech Help Desk at (601) 266-HELP (4357) or Helpdesk@usm.edu for assistance.

    Potential Disruption to Online Systems, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 17

    Access to online systems, including usm.edu, for all Southern Miss campuses may be intermittently disrupted Thursday, Oct. 17, between 6-8 p.m..

    This potential disruption is necessary to improve the services of both local and non-local communications and has been scheduled during the fall break in an effort to have the least impact possible.

    If you have any questions, contact the Help Desk by phone (601.226.4357) or email (HelpDesk@usm.edu).