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News from the Office of Information Technology

Max’s Minute: Mad Max’s Crazy House of Research Computing

Max Davis-Johnson

NEW! IMPROVED! Mad Max returns to offer a SCREAMING deal for Boise State University researchers: FREE high-performance computing and storage!

Thanks to a recent grant from Dr. Inanc Senocak in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Boise State now offers more than 200 teraflops of processing power for our research community, and access to some of the largest high-performance computing clusters in the country.

Mad Max explains it all, and offers a deal researchers CAN’T refuse!

Visit the Office of Information Technology’s Research Computing website for details.

NCSAM: Critical Infrastructure and the “Internet of Things”

national cyber security awareness month

The Internet underlies nearly every facet of our daily lives and is the foundation for much of the critical infrastructure that keeps our nation running. The systems that support electricity, financial services, transportation, and communications are increasingly interconnected.

By working together, we can rest assured knowing our homes and businesses will have power, our transportation systems will get us where we need to go, and our communication systems will help us connect at work and at home.

Just as critical infrastructure is essential to helping Americans live their everyday lives, a growing “Internet of Things”—the ability of objects and devices to transfer data—is changing the way we use technology and helping people live more efficiently.  The Internet of Things encompasses the devices that are embedded with computers and, through a combination of sensors, connectivity to the Internet, and human activity, work to connect our lives to the digital world.

Simply put, we are connected and online 24/7 even when we’re not at a computer.

Consumers play an important role in securing critical infrastructure not only by practicing good cyber hygiene themselves, but also by encouraging the many companies and organizations they do business with to adhere to high cybersecurity standards. On an individual basis, consumers can:

  • Make a plan to help keep your employees and community safe during an emergency and enhance your ability to recover operations quickly if you run a business. If you are an employee, ask your management whether there are plans in place and request a copy.
  • Report suspicious activity.
  • Make informed decisions about connecting devices to your networks. Visit US-CERT Tips.
  • If you manufacture devices, check out the Small Business Association’s cyber course.

By working together, we can protect the critical infrastructure on which we all we rely, keeping ourselves, our families, and our communities safer and more secure.

Security, Homeland. National Cyber-Security Awareness Month Week 3. 1 October 2014. Web Site. 10 October 2014. <>.

A short video by Intel gives an explanation of the “Internet of Things” and what it means to our Infrastructure and daily life. Even though it is a type of sales ad, it gives very good information the “Internet of Things” operates and how everything is connected:

By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. Jonathan Strickland takes us on a tour through a living room of the future to see how this “Internet of Things” (IOT) will impact our daily lives:

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2014 Archive

If you would like more information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month, or have cyber security questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at or (208) 426-4357.

The Data Doctor is In!

Reporting Services

Business Intelligence and Reporting Services (BIRS), along with Institutional Analysis, Assessment and Reporting (IAAR), are presenting “Data Doctor” drop-in labs for myInsights and Pyramid reporting services this fall:

  • Wednesday, October 15, 8:30 am – 10:00 am (Employee Learning & Development Classroom, PAAW Building)
  • Thursday, November 6, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm (Room 208, Riverfront Hall)
  • Wednesday, November 19, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm (Room 208, Riverfront Hall)
  • Thursday, December 4, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm (Room 208, Riverfront Hall)

Please bring your reporting questions and issues to the drop-in labs, describe your symptoms, and a Data Doctor will prescribe the cure!

More information about using Pyramid Analytics and myInsights reporting services can be found on the Reporting Services website.

NCSAM: Secure Development of IT Products


This week’s theme for National Cyber Security Awareness Month is the secure development of IT products.

According to

“Building security into information technology products is key to enhanced cybersecurity. Security is an essential element of software design, development, testing and maintenance. The software we use everyday on our phones, tablets, and computers may have vulnerabilities that can compromise our personal information and privacy.”

Boise State’s Information Security Services team is always involved in the design, development, testing and maintenance of software here at the University. This helps keep our programs safe from cyber attacks.

However, no matter how much you test software, vulnerabilities can still be present. This is why it is so important to install updates anytime you receive a notification to do so.

You can find more information about the importance of installing updates and other ways to stay safe online by reading this article on the Information Security Services webpage. It also includes a short video to watch.

If you would like more information about NCSAM or have any cyber security questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at or (208) 426-4357.

NCSAM: Stop.Think.Connect.


As we mentioned yesterday, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).  Our first theme to celebrate is Stop.Think.Connect.

Stop.Think.Connect is a national campaign to raise awareness for cyber security education. This program began four years ago and, although we highlight it during NCSAM, it goes on all year.

The main ideas behind Stop.Think.Connect (courtesy of are:

STOP: Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.

THINK: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or your family’s.

CONNECT: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.

You can read more by visiting the Boise State Information Security Services webpage. They’ve included a 30-second video that explains the Stop.Think.Connect campaign.

There’s also a great tip sheet on If you like, download the PDF version of the tip sheet, print it out and post it near your computer as a good reminder of ways to stay safe online.

If you would like more information about NCSAM or have any cyber security questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at or (208) 426-4357.

Network Maintenance October 12

The Office of Information Technology will perform network maintenance on Sunday, October 12 between 6:00 am – 8:00 am. Voice and data services will be unavailable in the following locations:

  • Micron Engineering Center
  • Engineering
  • Extended Studies
  • Taco Bell Arena
  • Football Complex (entire complex)
  • Lincoln Parking Garage
  • REC Center
  • Norco School of Nursing
  • Small Business DevelopmentCenter
  • Euclid Mods
  • Manitou Mods
  • Technical Service Building
  • Yanke facility
  • University of Idaho Water Center
  • Donna Larson Park
  • HML Building
  • Environmental Research Building
  • Architects & Engineering Services
  • Facilities, Operations and Maintenance
  • OIT Business, Network Services, and System Engineers
  • Electrical Shop
  • Lock Shop
  • Mechanical Technology Building
  • Tech Help
  • Gage Street
  • Risk Management & Internal Audit

For more information, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at

National Cyber Security Awareness Month


NCAM_StopThinkConnect_Slider620October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)! That means it’s a good time to remind yourself of ways to stay safe and secure online year-round.

It has always seemed fitting that October was chosen as the month to remind everyone how to stay safe online, since becoming a victim of online scams, phishing attempts, and malware infections can be just as scary as anything you might see on Halloween.

Although you can tell yourself that zombies and ghosts aren’t real, you can’t say the same about things like cyber threats and crimes.  They are very real and the best way to protect yourself is to be informed.

Boise State’s Information Security Services team has a webpage dedicated to NCSAM that explains more about the campaign and offers some tips, including a short 30-second video.

We highly recommend you take a few minutes to read the information they have posted.  Also, be on the lookout for more tips to be posted throughout the month.

You can also browse  and to learn ways you can help keep the Internet a safer place.

If you would like more information about NCSAM or have any cyber security questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at or (208) 426-4357.

Drive for Education: Unlimited Bookbag for the 21st Century


Reposted from the Google for Education blog; p

In a little over two years, Drive has become the cloud storage and sharing solution for more than 190 million people worldwide who use it regularly at home, work and school. For many of the 30 million students and educators using Google Apps for Education, Drive has even replaced their bookbags. Why lug around piles of paper or overstuffed binders when every type of document or file can be retrieved from the nearest Chromebook, tablet, smartphone or browser?

Earlier this year, we introduced Drive for Work—a premium version of Google Apps for Work—and now we’re bringing that same power to schools. Today we’re announcing Drive for Education, an infinitely large, ultra-secure and entirely free bookbag for the 21st century.

Drive for Education will be available to all Google Apps for Education customers at no charge and will include:

  • Unlimited storage: No more worrying about how much space you have left or about which user needs more gigabytes. Drive for Education supports individual files up to 5TB in size and will be available in coming weeks.
  • Vault: Google Apps Vault, our solution for search and discovery for compliance needs, will be coming free to all Apps for Education users by the end of the year.
  • Enhanced Auditing: Reporting and auditing tools and an Audit API easily let you see the activity of a file, are also on the way.

All of this comes with the same world-class security that protects all Drive users. Every file uploaded to Google Drive is encrypted, not only from your device to Google and in transit between Google data centers, but also at rest on Google servers. As always, the data that schools and students put into our systems is theirs. Classroom, which recently launched to Google Apps for Education users, makes using Drive in school even better by automatically organizing all Classroom assignments into Drive folders. And Google Apps for Education remains free to nonprofit educational institutions with no ads or ads-related scanning.

We want educators and students who use Google Apps for Education to be able to focus on the learning experience—not the technology that supports it. With Drive for Education, users can put an end to worries about storage limits and more easily maintain a safe, effective and compliant learning environment.

Statement on “Shellshock” Security Vulnerability


A critical security vulnerability, nicknamed “Shellshock,” appeared in the news this week.

The “Shellshock” security vulnerability is a bug within Bash, a free piece of software found in a majority of servers, routers, computers and other items connecting to the internet. This Bash bug can potentially be leveraged to take control of a machine or device.

The Office of Information Technology’s server and security configurations have blocked scans this week from people outside the University attempting to exploit the Shellshock bug on Boise State systems. Our Information Security Services department is actively monitoring these exploit attempts, and working with technologists across campus to ensure updates and patches are applied to mitigate system vulnerabilities.

If you have questions or want more information about Shellshock, contact the Office of Information Technology at


Simplified Sharing Experience in Google Drive


Google has launched a new way to quickly share Docs and other files in Google Drive. You can now get a “shareable link” to your file with just one click.

To access this feature, click the blue “Share” button from within a Doc (or select a file/folder in Drive and click the person icon). The sharing window will pop up and “Get shareable link” will appear in the upper-right corner.

Image: Get shareable link

When you click “Get shareable link,” the link to the Doc is copied to your clipboard, making it ready to quickly paste in an email.

The permissions of the Doc change so that anyone in your particular Boise State domain (either for faculty/staff or for students) who has the link can view the document.  If you’d like for them to have more authority, select either the “can edit” or “can comment” options from the dropdown.

Image: Simplified sharing in Google Drive

As always, if you want to designate specific permissions to certain people, add their name or email address to the People field.

You can read more about this new sharing feature on Google’s blog.

For more details about sharing in Google Drive, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at 208.426.4357 (HELP), or email