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Connect Securely. Connect Remotely.

Use VPN to connect remotely and securely

Six weeks from now you’ll be Hawaii for winter break (dream with me). You’re really excited to leave work behind but there’s one report you’ll have to finish while you’re on vacation and you’ll need access to email and your departmental network drive.

You’ve read about how to stay safe on public wi-fi and why you should use VPN but you think to yourself, “Do I Really Need to Worry About Security When I’m Using Public Wi-Fi?”

Yes. When you use public Wi-Fi at hotels, airports, coffee shops, etc., you should use VPN to connect securely to the Web and to Boise State services.

Why Use (What Is) VPN?

Virtual Private Network (VPN) software creates a secure and encrypted Internet connection for your computer. Using a VPN means you can safely connect to unknown networks like at airports, hotels or coffee shops without people being able to snoop on your Web browsing or steal data off your computer. VPN also allows you access to Boise State network services like your departmental or personal network drives.

How to Get VPN Software on Your Boise State Laptop

Faculty and staff need to contact the Help Desk to get a VPN account. Then, you’ll need to download and install the Boise State VPN software.

Students can download and use a free service like CyberGhost or follow the links in this article about “Why You Should Start Using a VPN (and How to Choose the Best One for Your Needs).”

Contact the Help Desk at 208-426-4357 (HELP), or chat if you have questions or want to get your VPN set up now–before you take off to Hawaii for winter break.

Rewriting myBoiseState

Rebuilding my boise state

As the hub of your Boise State online experience, myBoiseState gives you integrated sign-on access to many of the services you need as a student, faculty or employee. It also serves as an information gateway for timely notices, systems status, events, campus organizations and social media.

But the current version of myBoiseState has problems we must address. You’ve told us it’s “information overload,” and you’ve asked for new features and customizations we can’t efficiently deliver in the system as it exists today.

So we’re creating a new myBoiseState.

  • In this new system, you’ll get to determine if Facebook or Twitter feeds show up when you log in.
  • You’ll decide if you want to see athletic schedules, campus news, or upcoming campus events.
  • You’ll access more services using integrated sign on, so you won’t have to log in again after signing in to myBoiseState.
  • myBoiseState will work much better on mobile devices, which is vitally important as mobile will soon constitute the majority of our online connections.
  • Most importantly, we’ll be able to scale myBoiseState to add more features and services at regular intervals as time goes on.

This project involves a variety of teams and organizations throughout the University, and won’t happen overnight. We want to do it right, not rush it out and fix it later. You’re invited to keep track of our progress by bookmarking this site, subscribing to our RSS feed, or following us on Twitter @boisestatehelp.

“myBoiseState is your Boise State. Unified. Personalized. Mobilized.”

What do you want to see in the new myBoiseState? Add your voice to the 2,000+ feedback items we’ve received by emailing

Blackboard Downtime Scheduled November 28-29


Blackboard will be unavailable Friday, November 28 beginning at 6:00 am due to maintenance.

The system should be back up and available for use by 6:00 am on Saturday, November 29.

Google Apps Unlimited Storage


A few weeks ago, we told you that Google announced unlimited storage for Google Apps for Education users.

Well, good news!  This feature has been rolled out and you now have unlimited space for your Google Account here at Boise State!

You can now store as many files and email messages as you want.  Individual file sizes have a limit of 5 TB.

If you have any questions about this new feature or would like more information about Google Apps, contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at 208-426-4357 (HELP) or

Email Phishing Attempt on Nov. 6 at Boise State

Email Phishing Attempt Alert

Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, 10:13 a.m.

Boise State Office of Information Technology effectively blocked the phishing link from the compromised account and reset the email account.

If you submitted your Boise State information via the link in this email, contact the Help Desk at 208-426-4357 (HELP) or–your Boise State account may be at risk.

Visit the Boise State Email page on the OIT website to learn more about email phishing safety.

Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

Earlier today, a Boise State University email account was compromised sending over 1,000 phishing emails. The email body asks recipients to log into a fake folder.

This is a phishing attempt: Do not click the link and do not log into using your Boise State Google account information.

If you received this email, simply delete it. If you submitted your Boise State information via the link in this email, contact the Help Desk at 208-426-4357 (HELP) or–your Boise State account may be at risk.

Visit the Boise State Email page on the OIT website to learn more about email phishing safety.

New Video Resource for Faculty

Video at Boise State

What makes a good video? When and how can video enhance your learning objectives? What tools and resources are available to you at Boise State?

Last Spring, eCampus, the Office of Information Technology, Albertsons Library and a select group of faculty got together to define instructional video, research federal requirements and industry standards, and assess available tools and usage at Boise State to develop guidelines to best utilize video for instruction.

The result of the this team’s work is the Instructional Video Guidelines (IVG) page on the Video at Boise State website.

The IVG page defines instructional video and presents guidelines and tips on creating instructional video in the following areas:

  • Instructional Content
  • Accessibility
  • Quality
  • Technical Requirements
  • Branding

Each guideline on the website provides a description, how-to information and an example video when possible. An example instructional content guideline is:

Guideline: Videos should be co-located along with other instructional content.
Description and How-to Information: Embed or provide links to instructional video inline with instructional content. This helps contextualize video content for your students.

Expect additional how-to information and step-by-step guides for creating video using available resources on the Video at Boise State website in the coming months.

Discover how video can enhance your learning objectives by contacting your Instructional Designer.

For more information, visit the Instructional Video Guidelines website. You’re welcome to present feedback via the website.

Cyber Crime and Law Enforcement – NCSAM Week 5

NCSAM Week 5

Cyber crime can happen to anyone. However, many law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of technology to track down cyber criminals. Law enforcement agencies have released apps to help find child predators and have opened advanced labs to analyze malware. Law enforcement is also taking a major role in promoting cybersecurity for the general public, educating the public on how to avoid identity theft and fraud.

Read more about how the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service’s Cyber Intelligence Section protects against and prosecutes cyber crimes.

Here are some tips you can use to protect yourself against cyber crime:

  • Use virus and malware protection on all computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices.
  • Check website security before providing private information or when banking and shopping online. Check that the site is security enabled with “https://”
  • Beware of unsolicited emails or suspicious websites. Never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited email or suspicious website.

For more cybersecurity tips, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Crimes Center or the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign.

If you think you have a virus or malware on one of your devices, contact the Help Desk at 208-426-4357 (HELP), or via chat.

New Features for Google Forms

Google Apps

Google has launched a new update for Google Forms, including custom themes and more ways to create and share.

Themes are an excellent way to personalize your Forms for an intended audience. Add custom images or logos – change font details, text alignment, and color  motifs. Other new features include searchable menus, shuffle questions, limits of one response per person, and shortened URLs, making it easier for people to access your form.

Also, Google will soon migrate and auto-upgrade legacy forms to the new version of Google Forms. This new version increases response rates and hosts the advanced features mentioned above. The upgrade for on October 20th and will continue over the next several days.

After the upgrade is complete, a notification will appear if a newly upgraded form is opened. In this case, it is recommended you then choose a newer theme, or create a customized theme for your older form.

These new features will make it easier to create, customize, and share forms for surveys, assessments, and more. For details, see Google ‘s website.

If you have questions about how to use Google Forms, contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at 426-HELP, or email

Support for Windows 8.1 and OS X 10.10 Coming Soon

Windows 8 dot 1 and Mac O S 10 dot 10

The Office of Information Technology is completing testing on Windows 8.1 and Mac OS 10.10 operating systems, and is aiming to make these systems available to Boise State faculty and staff by the end of the Fall semester.

An enormous amount of work goes into testing desktop operating systems with supported software, as well as preparing the “image” for each system which is used to efficiently deploy the software to Boise State computers.

Both operating systems will be free of charge when we announce availability.

If you have questions about Windows or Mac operating systems, contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at

Free Blackboard Conference at Boise State November 11


Blackboard Conference

Plan to attend “Digital Ecosystems for Success” on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 — a free, one-day Blackboard conference presented the Office of Information Technology and Blackboard Learn.

Discover how Blackboard can improve student engagement, save faculty time, and provide a supporting ecosystem of learning and communication.

Topics covered will include the use of essential Blackboard tools, preventing cheating, and building online communities. Presentations will be delivered by Boise State faculty members and staff, as well as professionals from Blackboard.

The conference will take place 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Registration and refreshments will be in the Simplot Ballroom in the Student Union Building.

A box lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday, October 24.

Register details are available on Blackboard’s website.