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New e-waste bins at IT

Monday, October 4th, 2021

 As part of the campus “Going Green” project Facilities Management will be placing e-waste bins at selected spots on campus. We encourage staff and students to use these bins for any non-asset e-waste.

Two of these yellow bins (see example right) will also be located at IT. A bin will be placed at the IT HUB by the entrance and a second one will be placed at the IT Main building in Hammanshand Rd at the service entrance (facing IT the door on your right) Both bins will be just inside the buildings by the doors. 

WHAT IS E-WASTE?

Electronic waste (e-waste) or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) are the terms used to describe old, end-of-life or discarded appliances using electricity. It includes computers, consumer electronics, batteries etc. which have been disposed of by their original users.  More on e-waste.

We encourage all staff and students to use these bins for any non-asset e-waste. Bins will be serviced by Wasteplan and weekly inspections will be made by the university’s Wasteplan site supervisor to assess when a collection is needed.

For assistance and enquiries please email fmhelpdesk@sun.ac.za.

 

Remember to check your Junk Email folder

Monday, August 30th, 2021

To ensure that staff and students aren’t exposed to malicious phishing or spam emails our system administrators and security team had to enable a stricter spam filter earlier this year as added protection.

A spam filter assigns every message, received and sent, a spam confidence level based on the likelihood that the message is spam. Depending on its level an inbound message may be relayed directly to the user’s Junk Email folder. The filter looks at certain criteria contained in the email it rates, for example too many hyperlinks or a suspicious file attached. Tweaking the filter can be tricky – we don’t want you to miss important emails, but at the same time it’s our responsibility to protect you and all our staff from harmful attacks. 

For this reason, it’s important that you regularly look in your Junk Email folder in case the spam filter might have relayed it there. 

The main purpose of Microsoft Outlook’s Junk Email Filter helps is to reduce unwanted email messages in your Inbox. Junk email, also known as spam, is moved by the filter away to the Junk Email folder. This is done at an institutional level by Microsoft (as mentioned above), but you can also flag or “un”flag messages from a person or company as Junk email.

How to change your spam filter’s preferences.
How to tag an email as junk mail.
How to report spam or junk email to Microsoft. (downloadable PDF-document) 

If you have any questions, please log a request on the ICT Partner Portal.

Extra layer of security added to campus computers

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

Cyber crime is a constantly evolving field. Even though the majority of viruses were created as pranks, it’s essential to stay informed of the various risks that exist on the internet if you want to stay safe online. Here’s a breakdown of the basics: 

Malware, or malicious software, is a catch-all term for any type of malicious computer program. Malware is the most common type of online threat.

Ransomware is an emerging form of malware that locks the user out of their files or their device, then demands an anonymous online payment to restore access.

Adware is a form of malware that hides on your device and serves you advertisements. Some adware also monitors your behaviour online so it can target you with specific ads.

Spyware is a form of malware that hides on your device, monitors your activity, and steals sensitive information like bank details and passwords.

The world of cyber crime is very similar to that of technology. Every year, new trends, breakthroughs, and tools emerge.

You’ve probably noticed a Malwarebytes Threat Scan icon on your desktop or laptop (Figure 1). Don’t worry, this isn’t a brand-new type of malware. Stellenbosch University’s IT department has added an extra layer of security to campus computers.

Figure 1

Malwarebytes Incident Response is the trusted standard in automated endpoint remediation. Unfortunately, with the current environment, some malware will return after removal and Malwarebytes will prompt you to initiate a restart (Figure 2).

Figure 2

This is because the malware will sync to your browsers profile and will be synced back to your device after it has been removed.  If you are experiencing such daily prompts for restarts by Malwarebytes, we suggest that you log a request on the ICT Partner Portal for a technician to assist with further remediation.

[ARTICLE BY BRADLEY VAN DER VENTER]

Microsoft Teams performance tips

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

Many SU staff members have experienced lost connections during a Teams meeting or sometimes have technical glitches such as poor or broken voice connections. With this short article, we provide some tips to ensure that your next Teams meeting has minimum disruptions. The tips are split into three categories:

  1. Good practices
  2. Preparing for a trouble-free meeting
  3. Steps to take if you experience a poor connection

The good practices include:

  1. Regularly shut down and restart your PC – at least once a day. The shut down and restart cleans the PC of processes taking up resources. A good habit is to shut down at the end of the workday, and start fresh in the morning.
  2. Regularly run updates, ensuring that the operating system and applications are up to date. This should happen almost automatically on University owned PCs.
  3. Regularly run virus checks.

Preparing for a trouble-free meeting – especially important if you are the host or presenter for a meeting:

  1. Close all unnecessary applications.
  2. Test if you have sufficient Internet bandwidth available. You can do this by running an Internet bandwidth test at Speedtest by Ookla – The Global Broadband Speed Test.
    For voice only and sharing images you need less than one MB/second. For sharing applications and using your webcam, you need between 1 and 2 MB/s.
    For video you preferably need 2 MB/s.
  3. Test if your PC has sufficient resources.
    For Windows 10 press Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
    For a Mac the equivalent is the Activity Monitor: Press Command+Spacebar to get the Spotlight search field. 
    Start typing “Activity Monitor.”
    The CPU usage percentage should be under 50% and memory usage below 60% before you start MS Teams.
  4. If your MS Teams app was open before a meeting, quit and start MS Teams again at least 10 minutes before your meeting.
    To do this right click the Teams icon on the task bar and Quit, then start again.

5. If you share your Internet with other users (e.g. at home), ensure that the others know and do not hog the Internet connection. (e.g. do not play video, stream content, run updates).
Turn the camera off and use audio only if  the speed test or PC resources tests did show limitations.

6. If you are the host or presenter and have doubts about your Internet connection, rather work from your office on campus where you are unlikely to run into limitations. Use Ethernet (a cable connection to your router) rather than Wi-Fi if you have Ethernet available.

7. Have a second device with Microsoft Teams as a standby, e.g. a mobile phone with an LTE data connection. Practice switching devices so that you are familiar with how it works before you host a meeting.

Steps to take if you experience a poor connection:

  1. Turn the camera off if it was on.
  2. Turn off incoming video: (last item under the three dots menu).
    You will still be able to see shared screens and comments.

3. Switch to another device as a last resort, for example MS Teams on your mobile phone or tablet.

Adjust your font size

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Are the characters in your emails suddenly substantially smaller than a year or two ago? Not? Then you are clearly still too young. For the rest of us – you know who you are, I see you squinting at your screen – there is a solution.

We all know you can change the font of your text in Outlook, for example. The only problem is that the receiver on the other end will have to also read your email in Tahoma size 16. Ideally you should only use a font size of 11 or 12 whether you work in a Word document, in Teams or compile an email. Instead of changing the default font in your applications, there’s another way. 

  1. If you are working on a laptop or tablet with a touch-pad you can access the Text Zoom function by stretching two fingers away from each other. This will activate the zoom function and whatever you read on the screen will be enlarged.
  2. If you are not working on a laptop or don’t have a touch-pad, open a new email (or reply to one) go to Format Text on your Outlook menu bar and select the Zoom option. It will give you the option to enlarge the text up to 200%. (See below) 

        3. The same can be done if you have a mouse with a scroll wheel button to adjust text zoom level (see below)

      4. Not all apps support the Text Zoom by using the touch-pad or Ctrl + mouse wheel. Here is another method for Windows 10 if you want to change the size of text, apps & other items for all Windows apps, other than just Outlook & MS Teams.  Just right-click anywhere on your desktop. Select Display Settings and choose the % you want to enlarge it with.

If you are still struggling you are welcome to log a request for one of our technicians in the ICT Partner Portal.

 

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