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Safe Links: another way IT protects you from phishing

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

 In January 2020 Information Technology activated a preventative security tool called Safe Links to protect all staff and students from email phishing attempts.

You might have noticed that some of the links in your emails suddenly started displaying a very long link which starts with followed by the rest of the web link. This is an extra obstacle built in to our Microsoft security features which checks if a site has been listed as dangerous and prevents you from clicking on it. If you do click on it, you will see the following warning:

Definition of Safe Links

“Safe Links is a feature in Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection that provides URL scanning and rewriting of inbound email messages in mail flow, and time-of-click verification of URLs and links in email messages and other locations. Safe Links scanning occurs in addition to the regular anti-spam and anti-malware protection in inbound email messages in Exchange Online Protection (EOP). Safe Links scanning can help protect your organisation from malicious links that are used in phishing and other attacks.”  

With this added feature we eliminated some of the risk facing staff and students when it comes to phishing and other security attacks from hackers. However, this does not mean you shouldn’t still be vigilant when you open an email.

Familiarise yourself with the basic tell-tale signs of a phishing email. Think before you click on a link or open an attachment. Information Technology can only protect you up to a point, the rest is your responsibility – this is especially true in these times when you work from home.



Stay connected using Teams

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

In a previous article we’ve mentioned that Microsoft will no longer use TLS 1.0 and 1.1 after 15 October 2020 and that they will move over to TLS 1.2 for better security.

After the deprecation of TLS 1.0 and 1.1 on 15 October, Skype for Business will no longer show your Free/Busy presence and you will also not be able to use the address book. 

We advise that you Microsoft Teams for collaboration and chat features which were previously available in Skype for Business.

Staff who use the Skype for Business application for their office phone number will still have to use Skype for Business to make and receive external PSTN (Telkom, Cell phone) calls.  This functionality will be moved to Teams as soon as possible and users will be contacted in this regard.

Change in Adobe licensing

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

Adobe has changed the licensing model for all their products to a named user license*. The new version of Adobe DC (Document Cloud), which Stellenbosch University has licensed for 2020 is no longer based on serial numbers.

Historically, a new serial number would be built into a software installation package which would have been centrally pushed out to all Stellenbosch University asset number machines.
This process would result in uninterrupted use of the software as had been the case for the last 4 years.

The new license model now requires staff to have an Adobe ID to use the software. If you are an Adobe Acrobat user, you will receive a notification from Adobe about the expiration of their license over the next few weeks (see example right). This licensing process is only for advanced users who edit and digitally sign PDF documents. 

What are the benefits?

Whilst this is a major change in the way access to the software is managed, the new version and license model comes with a number of advantages including a secure login feature. The new model allows IT to provide end users access to the apps and services they demand for ongoing projects, while establishing the control that IT needs to meet the requirements of the organisation. IT also benefits from a simpler method to maintain compliance as well as management of licenses and services through the Adobe Admin Console.

Who qualifies for a license?

Licenses can only be assigned to a full time university staff member according our license policy. Users will still be able to make use of Adobe Reader and use the PDF function within Office365. 

The migration to named user licenses will proceed in due course. This is just a notification and you have nothing to be alarmed about with regards to your usage of Adobe Acrobat. If any action from your side is needed, we will communicate further.

* Named User Licensing is a software licensing model where software is assigned to an individual instead of a serial number or a device.

Public folder availability after November 2020 

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

From the beginning of December public folders will no longer be a an available functionality for staff. If you are still using public folders to schedule meetings, for example, we recommend that you switch to alternative solutions.

What are public folders?

Public folders are designed for shared access and provide an easy and effective way to collect, organise, and share information with other people in your work group or organisation. 

What does this mean for me?

Although public folders were generally used at the university we now have alternatives which fulfil the same function possibly even better. If you are still using the public folders, depending on what you use it for, we would suggest that you enquire with the IT Service Desk regarding an alternative solution.

What are the alternative solutions?

Room or venue bookings can be facilitated by requesting the creation of a Resource Mailbox. For group collaboration, a team within MS Teams would be suitable for that use case as it allows members of the team to collaborate on documents and keep track of communication within the team.


Microsoft Teams meeting recordings will now be saved to OneDrive and SharePoint

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

What does this mean?

Microsoft has opted to change the storage space where new Teams meeting recordings are stored on, and served from, to OneDrive and SharePoint (ODSP),  instead of Microsoft Stream. This change will occur in the next few months and more information will be made available at a later date.

How does this affect Stellenbosch University?

This change impacts the organisation in several ways:

  • New features

The move to ODSP immediately unlocks long-awaited features including external and guest sharing, with improved transcription quality, speaker attribution, transcript content search, and other features to follow in 2021.

  • Meeting storage

Non-Channel meetings will be stored in the OneDrive of the person who clicked the record button in a special folder labelled “Recordings” – that sits at the top of the recorder’s OneDrive. Channel meetings will be stored in a folder labelled “Recordings” under a folder named after the channel under the Team’s document library.

  • Permissions

All meeting invitees – except for external users – in non-channel meetings will automatically get a shared link to access the meeting recording. External users will need to be explicitly added to the shared list by the meeting organiser or the person that clicked the record button. For Channel meetings, permissions will be inherited from the owners and members list in the channel.

What should I do to prepare?

For now, you as the user should do nothing. This is an automated process being implemented on a server level. We at IT will be testing these new features extensively before any implementation will be made on the user environment. More information will be communicated at a later date.



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