Blog from March, 2007

mail2web security changed

The web interface https://mail2web.iu-bremen.de/ to Jacobs University Email uses a certificate for secured connection. The previous certificate is expired, a new one has been installed.

Users of Microsoft Internet Explorer shouldn't notice a difference. Users of alternative browsers will receive a warning message about an unknown issuing authority.

(tick) To access mail2web without security warning, please follow the steps described in How to import Jacobs University Certificates into Web Browsers.

Check for Authenticity

Only accept the connection if the details match, else an imposter tries to intercept your username and password combination!

The certificate information to check for authenticity of the web server:

Fingerprint (SHA1)

08:2B:D3:AE:0F:77:33:4F:B3:BB:A1:E1:70:B1:4D:DD:66:0C:40:2A

A Mozilla Certificate Viewer screenshot shows:

(thumbs up) Admin users are not affected, because they are using Admin Email web access.

Due to recent events, an update of the Symantec AntiVirus Software client, which is in use on Microsoft-based computers at Jacobs University, is required. Unfortunately, this can not be done centrally for all users, but must be done individually per computer.

Please perform the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Close all running programs, especially Microsoft Outlook.
  • Open an Explorer window (NOT INTERNET EXPLORER) and browse to \\antivirus02.public.jacobs-university.de.
  • Use username "cyrus", password "thevirus" to access the files.
  • Choose the appropriate folder (e.g. Antivirus.for.XP.and.Windows.2000.32Bit)
  • Doubleclick "setup.exe".
  • Follow the wizard, accept all questions, choose full installation, click "Next" as often as necessary.
  • Reboot.

(tick) You and others are safer now.

A more thorough walk-through guide, including screenshots, are available at How to install or update Symantec AntiVirus software on Windows.

Due to increasing issues with the CampusNet web server a replacement system is now ready and will be put into operation on

Wednesday 28 March 2007, 15:30.

The operation should take at most half an hour.

(minus) During this time, the campusweb service will not be available.

(tick) Admin users: Client access will not be affected and continue to work during that time.

On Wednesday April 25 2007, the email change to @jacobs-university.de will be conducted.

New Information Available

The changeover has been adapted, see Migration of emails towards Jacobs University for changes to this plan.

Emails coming into or going out of Jacobs University will be rewritten on the email server to read @jacobs-university.de instead of @iu-bremen.de.

That means:

  • Emails sent to @jacobs-university.de will be delivered to the addressed user.
  • Emails sent to @iu-bremen.de will be received as being sent to @jacobs-university.de, and delivered to the addressed user.
  • Emails going out as sent from @iu-bremen.de will be received at the destination as being sent from the user @jacobs-university.de.

Example

An email sent to j.sample@iu-bremen.de will be received in the email box of user j.sample. It will look like as being sent to j.sample@jacobs-university.de.

No immediate action on the user's side will be required. Medium-turn, users should change their email client's configuration settings to use the @jacobs-university.de email address as sender information. Admin Email users won't have to change anything.

Mailing lists and the "uni mail address" field in CampusNet will be adapted automatically.

(info) For now, the server names to use in the email clients are still of the *.iu-bremen.de domain, see here.

(thumbs up) Please also remember to change your email signature according to E-mail Signature, if not already done.

Server Administrators

Email server administrators at Jacobs University, be sure to prepare your email server(s) to receive emails to the modified domain name!

(tick) This procedure has been harmonized with Jacobs University's Datenschutzbeauftragter (Data Protection Officer).

For more information on Email at Jacobs University, continue here or have a look at Introductory IT Information for Faculty, Staff and Admin Members.

In the night from Thursday March 22 to Friday March 23 not only did the campusweb web server experience a hardware failure, so also did one of the database cluster machines, and the failover of the database didn't perform automatically as it had before.

Therefore, CampusNet was unvailable until the campusweb web server was brought up again, and the database was migrated to the second cluster machine, which was ready at around 10:00 today. No data was lost.

A new web server is already installed and waiting to be put into operation by the Datenlotsen next Monday. The database cluster will be overhauled soon. Both activities should be transparent to our users.

Especially in combination with 2007/03/23/teamwork "hickups" on Friday 2007-03-23 one could call today Friday, 13th.

Last night, the teamwork system didn't respond. After restarting and apparently normal operation for nearly an hour, the same effect appeared again, several times.

The cause was determined to be insufficient (virtual) memory, which now seems fixed. teamwork is stable again since ~1pm.

(thumbs up) The (other) good message is, utilization of the teamwork system apparently is increasing and adoption within the Jacobs University community is rising!

On Thursday 22 March 2007 between 07:00 and 08:00 local Bremen time servers and network components will be updated.

Server and network operations will be unreliable. Expect unavailable servers and sudden downtimes of services without prior explicit announcement.

If you have to work on files stored on the server during that time, then before the maintenance hour copy the respective files to your local hard disk, work on it locally, and after finishing your work and after the end of the maintenance interval, copy them back onto the server.

For more details on the maintenance hours see the Maintenance Hours page.

On Wednesday 21.03.2007 starting 20:00 admin member's email, calendar, and contact management will not be available, neither by Outlook client nor web interface. The service will be available again on Thursday morning at 08:00.

On Wed 14.03.2007 starting 19:00 admin member's email, calendar, and contact management will not be available. We expect to be online again after about two hours.

The following graph and table show the "Risk Distribution by Risk Type of February 2007" as detected and acted upon by the Antivirus service as provided by IRC-IT regarding desktop computers.


Risk Type

Number

%

Viral

12523

79.4

Adware

2522

16

Security risk

487

3.1

Non-Viral malicious

135

0.9

Heuristic

52

0.3

Spyware

23

0.1

Trackware

13

0.1

Hack tool

12

0.1

Jokeware

6

0

Dialer

1

0

The data shows, that protection against malicious computer software to protect Jacobs University's users and resources is an ongoing effort.

(lightbulb) Computers not provided by IRC-IT are required to run a current antivirus software as set forth in Requirements for Use of Private Computers in Jacobs University Network.

To ease orientation of new faculty, staff and admin members of Jacobs University, computers prepared by IRC-IT for the University's new members will have the Introductory IT Information for Faculty, Staff and Admin Members attached as a printout. That document also has been amended with a short checklist and important links.

(star) The online information will evolve over time!

(green star) The information given should also be of interest for long-time users of Jacobs University!

On Thursday March 15 2007, between 7 and 8 am, IRC-IT will adapt network services to accomodate for the University's name change.

During that time, short interruptions (a few minutes) of Internet connectivity might happen. Emails will not be lost.

The regular computer user does not have to change anything. Just try again shortly after.

The following paragraph is for server operators and power users only:

If, and only if, you have configured the domain name service (DNS) on your computer or server yourself, change the primary DNS server to the IP address 10.70.0.20, or revert back to DHCP-based automatic network interface configuration. Remove any other name servers. Though, the current DNS server will stay for a few weeks more to ease the transition.

The server Admin02 currently restarts because of a service failure.

We aspect the server up and running again in approximately 20 minutes.

On Thursday 08 March 2007 between 07:00 and 08:00 local Bremen time servers and network components will be updated.

Server and network operations will be unreliable. Expect unavailable servers and sudden downtimes of services without prior explicit announcement.

If you have to work on files stored on the server during that time, then before the maintenance hour copy the respective files to your local hard disk, work on it locally, and after finishing your work and after the end of the maintenance interval, copy them back onto the server.

For more details on the maintenance hours see the Maintenance Hours page.

On March 1st, 2007, email delivery for admin members has been changed.

(thumbs up) No negative effects were reported, the transition went smooth. Admin Email users didn't have to reconfigure anything.

Resulting changes for email usage for admin members are:

  • MS Outlook is client for ALL emails without client-side per-user configuration.
  • The Web interface for ALL admin emails is https://exchange.jacobs-university.de/.
  • Vacation messages can be set (and reset) either in Outlook or via the admin email web interface.
  • Vacation messages work for ALL incoming emails.
  • Admin Email access via Outlook needs VPN Access from outside the admin network for ALL emails.
  • Admin Email access via Web does not require VPN Access any more.
  • Jacobs University Email web access (aka "mail2web") can no longer be used for reading admin emails or setting admin vacation messages.

(plus) More information, including links to "how to"s, is available via the page Admin Email.