College of Arts & Letters

AL Tech Committee | Members | Charter | Meeting Topics

AL TECH Agenda – November 8, 2013

MRP 5000 - 10:00 to 11:30

  • Open Forum
  • Crypto-Locker Threat
  • Software Distribution Update (Munki/Kbox)
  • 3D & 2D Printing Services Report
  • Job Request Email
  • Software Accessibility Policy
  • Computer Upgrade Policy Discussion
  • Media Server Progress

Crypto-Locker Threat

CryptoLocker is a Trojan horse which surfaced in late 2013. A form of ransomware targeting Microsoft Windows-based computers, CryptoLocker disguises itself as a legitimate attachments. When activated, the malware proceeds to encrypt certain types of files stored on local and mounted network drives using public-key cryptography—with the 2048-bit RSA private key stored on the malware's control servers. The then displays an on-screen message which offers to decrypt the data, but only if a payment (through either Bitcoin or a pre-paid voucher) is provided within a certain deadline; the malware threatens to delete the private key if the deadline passes. If time does run out, the user must use an online service provided by the malware's authors to purchase the key, paying a significantly larger amount in Bitcoin. Although CryptoLocker itself a trivial to remove, researchers have considered its encryption to be practically impossible to break to the length of its key, with some believing that paying the ransom is the only effective means of repairing a computer affected by CryptoLocker.
We are testing a method to prevent the delivery of the payload for Crypto-Locker. We have had one instance of this ransom ware appear on campus.


Software Distribution Update

PCs get optional installs from the website http://irt-kbox.csus.edu
Java is not being updated by KBOX. IRT is investigating why its not. ASTRA issues occurred with older versions of Java.
MUNKI (mac) reports show that users are not self-initiating software updates. We are considering adding a nag dialog box on a 2-7 day basis.


3D & 2D Printing Services Report

  • 3D Printing now available. First student print completed.
  • Since start of semester $3954 in print cards purchased, $2040 in prints completed.
  • Current amount of 3D materials used $1742 (mostly from INTD projects)
  • Info on making models and submitting for builds is on lab info wiki.

Job Request Email

The IT shop is considering implementation of an automated ticket/work-order system. Part of this project is (re)establishing a job request email address (alrequest@csus.edu or alworkorder@csus.edu). Mail sent to this address will automatically generate a ticket, and send a confirmation reply to the requestor. Further communication via this address with the ticket# in the subject will automatically get added to the ticket.

We are currently evaluating options for the ticket software, and these email addresses are not yet tied into the system.


Software Accessibility Policy

Sacramento State Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP)

Purpose of the Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan In compliance with California Government Code Section 11135 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the University must apply accessibility standards to Electronic and Information Technology (E&IT) products and services that it buys, creates, uses and maintains. When systems, software or processes do not meet requirements of Section 508, an alternative access plan must be developed to address the accessibility issue. This form is used to describe the alternate access plan. Plan approval from ATI Exceptions Committee is required before the procurement can commence.

Most software used in the Arts & Letters Student Computer labs do not meet all of the requirements of Section 508, we need to develop an EEAAP for that software which means the instructors/departments need to know how to handle an accessibility need.

Example for a LaCie 324i LCD Monitor –

As stated in the exception request and EEAAP document, the department does not anticipate any specific accessibility concerns with the LaCie 324i product. This EEAAP is being developed to fill the gap in accessibility documentation due to the lack of VPAT from the manufacturer. Below is a description of the process that will be used to handle unforeseen accessibility needs.

Students in advanced video classes are told to contact their faculty instructor if they have any technical or other difficulties with the equipment in the advanced video lab. Should an accessibility need arise, the student can follow this established process and contact their instructor to describe the problem. If necessary, within one week a representative from the Communications Studies department will meet with the student and any other involved individuals to determine the precise need and develop a plan to accommodate. The Communications Studies department will provide whatever resources are necessary to meet the accessibility needs of the student. The implementation of whatever alternate access or other accommodation is determined to be necessary should not take more than two weeks from the time that the need is reported. After the plan is implemented, the faculty member will follow up with the student to ensure that their needs have been addressed in a satisfactory manner.

Because the Closed-Caption capabilities of this monitor are undocumented, the Communications Studies department will, if needed, make available a separate display that is capable of displaying the required captioning for the content that needs to be viewed. While this substitute display will not provide the color fidelity and other features of the more advanced LaCie monitor, it will fill the need for caption viewing, should such a need arise.

For next meeting we will develop a boiler plate form for software in the labs and begin filling our forms for non-compliant software.


Computer Policy Discussion

Something that needs to be discussed is the issue of users wanting to keep their old equipment after receiving upgrades. This ends up with us supporting more computers than we can handle, especially ones that are very likely to fail. Our discussions led to the following things…

  • Promoting the backup of data will cut down on data loss of older computers
    • Action - Come up with estimates on various backup methods for users data on laptops/desktops
  • Moving to more cloud storage can reduce the damage to laptops moving between offices, classes and home
    • Postponed - Current infrastructure is not ready for an all cloud based storage for the whole college, perhaps a small test group.
  • We need some way to determine the actual usage and needs of faculty for technology, and not just wants
    • Postponed - A survey will not get actual NEEDs assessed. Installing monitoring software will not be helpful planning growth. This is a hard one to solve.
  • A four year refresh cycle is working, but not everyone needs it every four years.
    • Action - Modify asset tracking to allow the postponement of upgrades by a year.
  • People need to feel good about giving old equipment back, some loss counseling would help if they understood their pet computer will be put to good use somewhere.
    • Action - Write up procedures for decommissioning of old equipment for review and make available so customers know where their old equipment is going.
  • A one for one trade, new computer for an old one from the department. This will cut down on expansion of technology scale.
    • Action - Try this out with this years upgrades. Confer with Chairs about changes.