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Information Technology Services University of Illinois Springfield


Information Technology Services is always looking for ways to improve our services and we welcome your suggestions.

Suggestions and Questions Submitted and ITS Responses

Suggestion: I hope we reach a conclusion about making Microsoft Office 2007 available to faculty soon. Vista aside (office 2007 runs fine on XP) many students are submitting materials using 2007 and some formats are incompatible. Granted that the students can be instructed to change the output format for older, but this is a hassle that will only get worse as more students adopt this new software.

ITS Response: Since Office 07 underplaying technology and the interface is significantly different from Office 03, we are hesitant to recommend it to the campus community until we are ready to provide adequate support and training. We are working on addressing the training and support issues and anticipate that we will be able to take a position on the upgrade before the fall semester. Meanwhile, we will post instructions on how to save documents in a compatible format on our web site and on Blackboard.

Please note that ITS now fully supports Office 07. Both versions (03 & 07) are available in computer labs and classrooms.

Suggestion: I would like to have a POTS connection in the townhouses so that I could use Tivo, a fax machine, and other devices that need an RJ11 POTS data connection.

ITS Response: The phone lines in the townhouse apartments are intend to provide voice communication for student residents. The choice for using VOIP was determined after much investigation and discussion. There are always exceptions to most broad based decisions.

We are willing to investigate an amicable solution so that the TIVO device could be programmed and receive updates to the television program schedule. As for FAX machines we have already installed a fax line for a student who successfully presented his case to the housing office.

Question: Recently I have received a number of apparently virus-infected e-mails that get quarantined by Outlook – usually in the form of supposed online greeting cards. Is there a way to screen and delete these items before they end up in my e-mail system?

Answer: The greeting card email that is being quarantined is not actually infected with a virus. (It contains a link that if clicked will download a trojan from a web link.) Technically these messages are more like spam than viruses. Spam is very hard to block without blocking legitimate email. Much of this spam comes from compromised machines all over the world.

There are many guards in place. We do not accept connections from known spamming addresses. Microsoft Intelligent Messaging Filters are installed on the email servers and flags email according to an internal alogarithm. In the server antivirus software Groupshield, we are currently blocking email with the phrase: card from a *!. Groupshield is catching thousands of these hourly. 60-70% of all spam email messages received here are actually deleted at the server level. Viruses that are not caught at the server level are supposed to be caught by the workstation antivirus software that scans email. The McAfee Antivirus and Virex (for Mac) programs are treating these greeting card emails like they contain a virus (W32/Zhelatin.gen!eml) since it contains a link to a possible trojan download. That is where you are receiving the quarantined message from, the desktop software, which means it is doing its job.

The amount of this kind of spam has tripled in the last few weeks along with a new form of .pdf spam. Our server software and desktop software are both working to capacity to block the growing amount of spam that is flooding the world at the moment. We encourage users to delete any email if they do not recognize the sender. Users definitely should delete email that has been quarantined.

Question: When I get a message like this, I get nervous, because I never sent such a message. It suggests to me that our computer security has been breached, and I’ve been getting 1 or 2 a day now. Or, does it just mean that someone else somewhere get hold of my address and is using it in a completely unrelated way that I/we can do nothing about?

Thanks for any insight and/or help that you can provide.
From: System Administrator
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 10:19 AM
To: xxxx
Subject: Undeliverable: RE:Returned mail: see transcript for details

Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.

Subject: RE:

The following recipient(s) could not be reached:

xxxx@hemscott.net on 8/22/2007 10:19 AM
The message could not be delivered because the recipient’s mailbox is full.
< smtpin0.mail.uk.uu.net #5.2.2 SMTP; 552 5.2.2 Over quota>

Answer: A favorite technique of spammers is to ‘spoof’ return e-mail addresses, making it look as if the mail came from someone else.

The technique is also often used by virus’s as a means of concealing the origin of the propagation. On infection, the virus will often try to perform searches for e-mail addresses within the address book of a mail client, and use those addresses in the From field of e-mails that they send, so that these e-mails appear to have been sent by the third party.

So if your email address was in someone’s contact list that has such a virus it could send email and put your address in the From field. The email system receiving the mail would see the email as coming from your mailbox. Since this mail message was sent to a person whose mailbox was full the undeliverable was sent back to you because that is were it looked like it came from.

If the mailbox this was sent to had not been full, the piece of email that looked liked it came from your mailbox would have probably been marked as junk mail and discarded. We receive thousands of pieces of this kind of email a day. Most of the junk mail that enters our junk folders have ‘spoofed ‘ addresses. That most spam and virus generated email use ‘spoofing’ is a large part of the problem with trying to stop this growing world-wide problem.

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