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Fall 2014 Faculty/Staff Edition

eCommunicator is a quarterly newsletter about technology tools, services, and support at Northwestern University.

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NUIT Events & Presentations

What’s New & Changing in IT?


Faculty/Staff Edition Fall 2014

What's New and Changing in NUIT?

“POODLE” Security Vulnerability

A worldwide Information Technology security vulnerability named “POODLE” was disclosed on Tuesday, October 14, 2014.

This vulnerability allows attackers to target unprotected connections such as public Wi-Fi to steal logins and other institutional or personal data. Attacks are also possible on wired or secured wireless connections, but much less probable. This affects only online services using Secure Sockets Layer Version 3 (SSLv3) and there are currently no known public exploits of this vulnerability.

Major current internet browsers are updating to address the POODLE vulnerability and all users should ensure that they are using the most updated version of any internet browser. Users can also follow these instructions for disabling SSLv3 in their specific browsers.

To mitigate this threat, Northwestern system administrators should also turn off support for SSLv3 at the server level. Northwestern University Information Technology is working collaboratively with the technical community to limit exposure of campus systems to the POODLE vulnerability.

“Shellshock” Security Vulnerability

A major worldwide Information Technology security vulnerability named “Shellshock” was disclosed on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. The vulnerability affects a large portion of Unix-based operating systems, including Apple’s Mac OS X and Linux. Windows machines are not affected by this vulnerability.

Apple has released a security update to address this vulnerability titled "OS X bash Update 1.0." Red Hat released a third patch for RHEL over the weekend of September 26. The bug is being actively exploited. System administrators should ensure that all their systems have been updated with this patch:

Northwestern University Information Technology is working collaboratively with the IT@NU technical community to patch systems as they become available limiting exposure of the campus systems.

We will continue to provide additional information, as required on the NUIT website at NU’s Shellshock web page.

Xfinity on Campus TV Service Available to Students in University Housing

As of September 8, undergraduate students living in University-managed housing can access the new Xfinity on Campus television service. Students indicated a preference for the live and on-demand content offered by Xfinity after Student Affairs and NUIT conducted a pilot last year asking students to test possible replacements for NUTV, including Xfinity and Hulu Plus.

Students can access more than more than 130 live TV channels, including every major broadcast network, as well as cable channels ranging from ESPN and other sports networks, such as The Big Ten network, Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports, to AMC, Comedy Central and MTV.  In addition, eligible students will be able to access content on several websites and mobile apps, ranging from WatchESPN to FXNOW.

In addition to all the live TV and On Demand Choices, eligible students will be able to upgrade their service and gain access to premium channels for a fee, including the NFL Network, HBO, Showtime and STARZ.

In the coming months, students will be able to access the Xfinity On Demand Library using the “Xfinity TV Go” app for Android and iOS devices. The On Demand library includes current seasons of thousands of TV shows and movies.

This service is possible thanks to a partnership with Student Affairs, NUIT, and Comcast. Northwestern is the first university in the Midwest to offer Xfinity on Campus, and one of only eight universities to offer the service in the U.S.

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