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Archive for February, 2009

Does Telstra give you The Pips?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Telstra gives many people The Pips! You know – the pips that you get when you answer a long distance phone call made from a land line.

Once upon a time long distance phone calls had to be connected manually with the assistance of a telephone operator. When long distance phone calls began to be made automatically, and the operator assisted service was withdrawn, Tetstra added The Pips such that callers would know that the call would incur higher charges.

No more.

During June 2009 Telstra will remove this service and such calls will be connected silently thereafter.

So, Telstra won’t give you The Pips ever again. Well, …, at least not the long distance phone call Pips.

“The new network” — coming soon!

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

This information is directed at those UNE staff members who have, as a job function, the role of managing and supporting network connected devices in academic and administrative areas.

As most people will have heard me say, many times, the new network will implement contemporary best practice for security and, from the end-users perspective, is role-based. That means that devices connected to the network will be authenticated to the network with an assigned role. Eg desktop computers will have a client role, servers (central and departmental) will have a server role, MFDs have an MFD role, etc. [In the main I’m talking about core-UNE devices; non-core entities like ABRI, Services UNE, UNE Partnerships, will be dealt with differently].

In most cases it will be extremely obvious which role a device will fall into. But, as we come closer to moving to this long-awaited new network, you need to think about network connected devices that you might currently think of as being “client” but, from a security perspective, are really “server”. You need to identify devices that wait for incoming connections from external users and serve data (whether it be web pages, files or database requests).

If such a service is running on a desktop machine then you need to think of it as a server and ensure that UNE’s server policy is being applied. If a device is a “server” then it can’t also be a “client” — different security policies will apply. Where possible, consider moving services to a central servers (whether web server or file server or whatever).

I don’t need to know which devices are “servers” just yet – I just need you to think about it and identify them in your minds.

Also, for your information, “client” devices in your department will operate on different subnets to those “servers” in your department. To ensure a smooth transition on the new network, you should ensure – right now – that whenever a client device refers to a server, it does so by hostname (eg exchange.une.edu.au) rather than by IP address (eg 129.180.3.56).

Don’t reveal your username or password

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Spammers need computers from which to send out their gadzillions of spam emails. How do they do this?

Spammers are good social engineers. One tactic they use is to send out legitimate-looking emails to ISP customers, Corporations, and university staff and students with some urgent-sounding reason for the email recipient to email them their username and password. The spammers will then use this information to access mail servers (via something like UNE’s Webmail service) and spew forth their spam.

At UNE we will never send you an email requesting that you send us your username and password. If you receive such an email purporting to come from, or on behalf of, ITD at UNE, please delete immediately.

Campus network update

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

The upgrading of the campus network continues. Much of the work that has been undertaken to date is invisible to most users. Recent work has been taking place in the Data Centres and the core switch locations.

There are well over 100 network equipment rooms and cupboards on the main campus and every one of them has been visited and assessed to ensure that it is cabable of housing the new network switches that are to be installed. It turns out that many of them required upgrading; specifically, they required larger equipment racks to be installed.

This work has now been completed.