Alert: COVID-19 Phishing Scams on the Rise

Dear SJSU faculty and staff,

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost everything about our lives, changing how we work and interact every day. It’s also created a rapidly-changing environment where hackers and scammers are trying to capitalize on our fears and anxieties. Attacks related to COVID-19 started circling as early as January and have only proliferated since.

COVID-19 Phishing
The most recent trend has been focused on the upcoming stimulus package, with emails featuring subject lines like “URGENT: COVID-19 stimulus check delivery blocked. Please accept delivery here to continue with shipment.” Other recent email attempts include:
  • Posing as the government and asking you for banking information before sending your stimulus money
  • Posing as aid organizations and accepting donations, but taking your money instead
  • Sending links to “information” about COVID-19 cures/vaccines that install malware when you open them

This type of attack, called “phishing,” is an attempt by criminals to gain access to your SJSU and personal accounts. As many of you are currently working and lecturing from home, it’s especially important to be vigilant. Home computing devices and home networks do not have the security defenses of our campus network and systems. Duo Two-Factor Authentication can effectively help protect your account from these kinds of attacks. Students, faculty, and staff can also download Sophos Anti-Virus for free on home computers.

Reputable Resources
  • The Federal Trade Commission is a reputable source of information on this topic and has multiple posts about how to identify and avoid COVID-19 scams.
  • Additionally, the US Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre issued a joint activity alert titled, “COVID-19 Exploited by Malicious Cyber Actors.” The alert discusses the exploitation of virtual private networks, phishing emails and text messages about COVID-19, and websites deceptively advertised as COVID-19 sites.
  • For more approachable security awareness content, NINJIO is offering a series of 10 free videos about being data secure while working from home.

Phishing Awareness Program
You can also visit SJSU IT’s  How to Spot a Phishing Attempt page to read about our ongoing Phishing Awareness Program. As part of this program, you will periodically receive simulated phishing emails that imitate real attacks. These emails are designed to give you a realistic experience without putting you or the university at risk for a security breach. If you fall for our fake messages, there’s no judgment. We’ll just send you tips and tricks to improve your phishing recognition skills. We have run this program many times over the last few years and the response has been great.

If you ever receive a request for your login information, you can always contact the SJSU IT Service Desk at (408) 924-1530. Visit our blog or website for more information on How to Spot a Phishing Attempt or sign up for our ongoing phishing education program. You can also visit Google’s site to see how reporting phishing emails in Gmail helps prevent future attempts. For tips on how to use Zoom securely, download our Zoom FAQ PDF.

Best regards,

Hien Huynh
Information Security Officer
Division of Information Technology

SJSU IT Update During Shelter-in-Place

Campus Colleagues,

I want to take this opportunity to provide you with a technology update.

Thank You
Before I begin, I want to thank you for your patience as we worked out the final details over the last couple of months.  We’ve been building our digital transformation Work Anywhere infrastructure and systems over the last three years and the last four weeks’ smooth operation has been a small silver lining for what we’ve all been going through.  Below are some questions we are receiving and I thought it would be good to share with all of you.  

Laptops and Accessories
The SJSU IT Equipment Loaning Program continues to support the needs of students, faculty, and staff.  We have loaned out over 120 laptops and other accessories over the last month.  If you or your student have an urgent need for a computer,  please contact us on this website.   

We are monitoring inventory and planning on keeping up with any new demand, but there is some risk for supply due to the high demand for PCs worldwide.  

Cybersecurity
We are also starting to see an uptake in cybersecurity-related events, which often happens during crisis events. In the next couple of weeks, we will be more intentional on relaunching our training offering on our cybersecurity program again. We wanted to wait until the campus was in a good place before proceeding.

Manage Your Voicemail
Checking and managing your campus voicemail from home is easy. We’ve posted the process to the Work Anywhere website as well.  Here’s how: 

  • Step 1: Dial the Main Number (408) 924-6800 (or 4-6800 from on-campus).
  • Step 2: When the greeting begins to play, press *.
  • Step 3: Enter your extension number, then press #.
  • Step 4: Enter your password, then press #.

Add Voicemail to Email Services
We can also help you set up email forwarding of your voicemails so you don’t have to dial in. Get an email transcript from the message left in your voicemail box.  Just submit a ticket in iSupport asking for the service to get started. 

Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)
If you need to use a virtual lab for instruction, you can access Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) at https://desktop.sjsu.edu using your SJSUOne ID and Password. After logging in, you’ll see the labs, desktops, and applications relevant to you. If it’s your first time using VDI, you’ll be asked to install the Citrix Receiver. Accept the default options and complete the installation. 

VDI allows students to access labs or software, anytime, anywhere, from any device. VDI is cheaper and faster to set up than a traditional computer lab and gives our students the flexibility to access lab-grade tools from off-campus. 

Currently, the College of Engineering, College of Social Science, and College of Business have deployed VDI to many of our on-campus computer labs as well as virtual labs for online classes. 

For more information, please read the instructions at How to connect to your SJSU virtual lab. If you have any questions, please contact Atul Pala.

Customer Service
It’s also more important than ever that SJSU IT delivers effective and efficient support. I am very pleased to say that despite the huge changes we have experienced since transitioning to online modality, our overall customer satisfaction remains very strong. For March, SJSU IT Support closed 2,369 tickets, with an average resolution time of less than 2 days and our average customer service rating improved to 4.7 out of 5 (compared to 4.53 over the last six months). I want to recognize all the student assistants, the staff, and the management team in the IT Division. Without their hard work and commitment to SJSU IT’s digital transformation initiatives, we would not be where we are today. 

Zoom FAQ
SJSU IT and eCampus have created an extensive Zoom FAQ, attached to this email, answering questions found on various websites and forums. Ongoing training for Zoom on security, privacy and Do’s and Don’t are available from eCampus.  We are also attaching a quick-reference Do’s and Don’ts sheet. While we use Zoom as part of our CSU-provided and vetted set of online tools, it is up to individual community members to decide if Zoom is the appropriate tool for their needs.

Personalized Zoom Security Check-up
If you’re feeling uncertain or would like to ensure that all of the Zoom security features are set correctly, we are offering a new service:  Personalized Zoom Security Checkups for all faculty and staff.  We will have one of our IT service staff work remotely with you to ensure all your Zoom security settings are correctly set.  

Quick Snapshot
I wanted to give you a quick snapshot of the SJSU IT current usage for some of our key systems. Also, I want to share with you some details about SJSU IT Support to give you a sense of the quality of work that is being done, despite the challenges.  

As you would expect, we are seeing big increases in our external tools and decreased usage of the internal network and systems. Below is a table that highlights some of the largest changes.  

A quick look at some of the statistical changes around COVID-19's shelter-in-place

As always, you can go to the Work Anywhere website to find information and resources to support working, learning and teaching from home. 

 

Thank you,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and Chief Information Officer

Proactive Zoom Security Measures

Dear Colleagues: 

You may have read recent articles and news stories regarding security and privacy concerns with Zoom. As much of what we previously did face-to-face is now happening over Zoom, it’s important we understand what potential security issues exist within this platform, how some of these concerns may be addressed by enabling existing Zoom security features, and the new measures Zoom is taking to protect its users. SJSU IT and eCampus is committed to working with faculty, students, and staff to ensure appropriate security precautions are in place and to relaying our community’s concerns to Zoom.     

SJSU IT is actively monitoring news coverage of Zoom. Our Information Security Officer and Zoom account administrator are reviewing reports from information security researchers who have uncovered and documented vulnerabilities as they are published. We are in daily contact with other CSU Zoom administrators, Information Security Officers, and security industry leaders to ensure we understand the ramifications of any issues.  

eCampus and SJSU IT Resources
SJSU IT and eCampus have created an extensive Zoom FAQ, available here, answering questions found on various websites and forums. Ongoing training for Zoom is available from eCampus and within the next few days. eCampus will also be rolling out new training for faculty on Zoom security, privacy, and the Do’s & Don’ts of working with Zoom. We’re also sharing a quick-reference Do’s and Don’ts sheet.

SJSU IT Proactive Changes to Zoom Defaults
To improve overall Zoom meeting security and control who joins a Zoom meeting, we will be changing the default setting to only allow authenticated users to join meetings. This will require all participants to authenticate to SJSU Single Sign On before entering a meeting. Hosts will be able to change this default setting to not requiring authentication when scheduling a meeting with external participants. Please look for a message in the next few days with additional details and the specific date this change will be made. 

Zoom’s New Security Toolbar Icon for Hosts
Meeting hosts will now see an option in the Zoom meeting controls called Security. Visible only to hosts and co-hosts of Zoom Meetings, the new Security icon provides easy access to several existing Zoom security features. The Security icon replaces the Invite button in the meeting controls. The Invite button has been moved to the Manage Participants panel, and hosts can add additional guests there. This new icon will help hosts quickly find and enable many of Zoom’s in-meeting security features.

Zoom toolbar with new security button

By clicking the Security icon, hosts and co-hosts have an all-in-one place to quickly:

  • Lock the meeting
  • Enable the Waiting Room (even if it’s not already enabled)
  • Remove participants
  • Restrict participants’ ability to:
    • Share their screens
    • Chat in a meeting
    • Rename themselves
    • Annotate on the host’s shared content

Google Hangouts Meet Added to Canvas
In order to provide our faculty with additional options who are hosting small-session discussions, eCampus and SJSU IT have enabled Hangouts Meet as an option in Canvas.

It is also important to note that the Chancellor’s Office carefully assessed Zoom’s security provisions during the procurement process and ensured that the systemwide contract prohibits the company from selling personal data from any member of our CSU community. Based on what is known today, the Chancellor’s Office does not perceive that Zoom puts students’ staff or faculty members’  privacy at risk when used with good practices.   

While we use Zoom as part of our CSU-provided and vetted set of online tools, we are not advocating for Zoom. It is up to individual community members to decide if Zoom is the appropriate tool for their needs. To assist you in making this important decision, SJSU IT has developed and shared a frequently asked questions and answers document relating to Zoom use, privacy, and security and will keep you up-to-date on any Zoom issues that may impact our SJSU community. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.  

 

Best regards, 

Hien Huynh
Information Security Officer

Simon Rodan
Professor, College of Business, Statewide Senator and liaison to the statewide Information Technology Advisory Committee  

Bob Lim
VP Information Technology and Chief Information Officer 

Ahmed Banafa
Cybersecurity Expert and Faculty member at the College of Engineering

Leslie Albert
Associate Professor, College of Business, Director of the Center for Organizational Resilience

Zoom Bombing

Campus Colleagues,

I want to make you aware of a new kind of phishing attack that’s growing quickly in the wake of a global switch toward teaching, learning, and working remotely — “Zoom Bombing.”  

Zoom bombing is when an unwanted participant joins your Zoom meeting. Sometimes attackers are joining just to be a nuisance, but for others, the aim is to slip in unnoticed as you share documents with protected information on them or discuss confidential data. 

While SJSU already has some extra protocols in place to help keep you secure, I want to give you some quick tips to further help you prevent Zoom bombing.

  1. Keep Meeting URLs Private – Don’t share them anywhere that’s accessible to the public. Just keep it to the group of people you’re sure you want to be there.
  2. Keep Meeting Passwords On – These are on by default, so all you have to do is put in a password when prompted and leave them on. 
  3. Lock your meetings – When a meeting is locked, no one can join. Learn how on the SJSU IT Securing Zoom Meetings page. 
  4. Double-check your Zoom Google Calendar invites – If you add a Zoom meeting to your calendar or create a Zoom meeting in your calendar using the Zoom Plug-in, the calendar entry may include the Zoom meeting password. Depending on your settings, this may expose the password to anyone who views your calendar. Make your calendar entry private or edit the entry to remove the Zoom meeting password.

For more details on each of these tips and some more information on staying secure while working from home, visit the Work Anywhere Zoom page. You can also find information on the Work Anywhere FAQ about how to send data securely using DocuSign and safely access SJSU data systems remotely. 

 

Thank You,
Hien Huynh
Information Security Officer
Division of Information Technology

Improving Your Zoom Connection

Hello everyone:

We are monitoring the critical technology issues that universities and businesses are experiencing using Zoom and their networks. We are seeing reports that there are more instances of audio or video in Zoom becoming choppy or distorted. This seems to mostly be issues of local bandwidth, PC activity, or home WiFi setups. So I wanted to send some information about what you can do to improve your online experience. 

Run a Speed Test
The first thing to do is to figure out how fast your internet is currently. You can type “internet speed test” into a search engine.  If your speed is much slower than what you’re paying for, you may want to contact your ISP.

Make sure your system requirements are correct
Make sure that the computing device you’re using supports Zoom. These are the system requirements for PC, Mac, and Linux from Zoom: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362023-System-Requirements-for-PC-Mac-and-Linux  

Use the best Internet connection you can. 

  • Wired connections are faster and more stable than wireless (WiFi or cellular) connections.
  • WiFi connections are faster and more stable than cellular (3G/4G/LTE) connections.

Plan for Zoom meetings, and as often as possible, join Zoom meetings from a location where you can use a fast, reliable, wired Internet connection. 

If you are using WiFi, check your router.
Problems with wireless connections are usually easy to fix. For detailed information about your WiFi setup, please see Enhancing Your WiFi-Powered Zoom Meeting.  Some quick tips for improving WiFi signal include:

  • Try bringing your computer or mobile device closer to the WiFi router or access point in your home or office.
  • Upgrade your WiFI router firmware. Check your WiFi router support site for firmware upgrade availability. 
  • If necessary, consider using a WiFi extender to increase the distance and strength of your WiFi signal.
  • If you use a cable connection, use a DOCSIS 3.0 or higher cable modem to improve internet performance.

Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking.
When your microphone is on, Zoom will devote part of your Internet connection to an audio stream for you, even if you are not speaking. Mute your microphone when you do not need it, and you will allow Zoom to use your Internet connection more effectively.

Stop your webcam video when you don’t need it.
If your instructor or moderator is okay with you doing so, start your video only when you need to show yourself on webcam, and stop your video when it isn’t required.

Disable HD webcam video.
Sending high definition (HD) webcam video requires more bandwidth than sending non-HD. Disabling HD video will free up more of your Internet connection for other parts of your Zoom meeting. How do I disable HD video in the Zoom Client? From within the Zoom Client: 

  • Click the “Home” tab.
  • Click ” Settings.”
  • In the Settings window that opens:
  • Click the “Video” tab.
  • Uncheck “Enable HD.”
  • Close the Settings window.

Close other, unneeded applications on your computer.
Zoom meetings can demand significant memory and processing power from your computer. Closing other applications — ones you do not need during the session — will help Zoom run better.

Avoid other activities that will steal bandwidth.
Don’t start other bandwidth-intensive activities just before, or during, a Zoom meeting. On your Zoom device—and as much as possible, on different computers and devices that share your Internet connection—avoid:

  • large downloads
  • large uploads
  • streaming video (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, YouTube)
  • cloud backups (e.g., Carbonite, CrashPlan)
  • cloud file synchronizations (e.g., OneDrive, Dropbox)
  • other high-bandwidth activities

Communicate with the instructor or moderator of your Zoom meeting.
If the best Internet connection you have for Zoom is a slow one, such as a weak cellular data connection, let the person or people running your session know ahead of time.

 

Best regards,
Bob Lim