Monday, October 17, 2016

Windows 7: new update mechanisms

Starting this week, CLASSE-managed Windows computers will be adapting to Microsoft's new update system, as described in previous Newsletters. Two unfortunate consequences of this change are:
  • Certain Windows 7 computers will reboot twice in order to complete their Windows updates.
  • Some Windows 7 computers will seem to hang, displaying "Configuring Windows update. Stage 2 of 2" for an indefinite amount of time. If you experience this, just press Ctrl-Alt-Del to log in.

Cybersecurity Awareness: Ransomware

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). Today, we'll be sharing some information about ransomware, which has been much in the news lately.

Ransomware can be disguised as a harmless attachment or an update for a commonly used application, and it will try to trick you into approving the installation of malicious software on your computer. If you give permission for the fake program to be installed, it could take the computer and all of its files hostage until you pay the ransom, at which point it might or might not be released. One form of supposed ransomware simply trashes all of the files that it finds. Not even the authors of the malware can restore them.

To stay safe from ransomware on CLASSE computers, make sure your files are kept on a backed-up CLASSE Samba or nfs directory. If a backed-up file or directory is lost, an uncorrupted version can be recovered from a recent backup.

Some other precautions you can take:
  1. Avoid attachments from unknown senders.
  2. Be VERY suspicious about applications which claim they will update software on your computer.
  3. Syncing files to Box ( also helps mitigate the potential damage done by ransomware, since compromised files can be reverted to an earlier, unharmed version.

To learn more about ransomware attacks in education, see

To read about a major ransomware attack that occurred earlier this year, see

(This article was adapted from a posting on Yammer by Matt Klein.)

General network and server maintenance will occur every Tuesday from 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM. The CLASSE-IT group will always announce any expected disruptions in our NewsLetter and via CLASSE-IT-NEWS-L, but with the size and complexity of our network there is always the potential for something to go wrong. We will do our best to contain all network maintenance and planned outages to Tuesdays from 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM.

Unless other arrangements have been made, CLASSE-managed Windows systems may be updated and rebooted on Tuesday morning at 2:00 AM, so please avoid critical or lengthy operations at that time. For more details, please see SystemExpectations.

Questions or problems? Submit a service request.

Other resources:

Topic revision: r5 - 17 Oct 2016, WilliamBrangan
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