Fall 2006

Illegal File Sharing

The sharing of copyright material via common file sharing programs such as LimeWire is not only a potential resource abuser and a security risk, it is illegal. Using MTSU and state resources for unauthorized copying and/or distribution of copyright protected information, music, video, and software is prohibited.

The Recording Industry Association of America and other organizations have reported large losses of revenue due to this illegal sharing of copyright material. Some have recently fought back in the form of lawsuits targeted at users. There have been instances where huge fines have been levied on those participating in such peer-to-peer file sharing.

Beyond the copyright issues, the use of such programs can present a huge security risk. File sharing programs, by nature, turn your desktop machine into an Internet file server. As such, it has the potential to expose every file on your system from temporary documents containing sensitive data to cached web history. It also can open the door to allow a user to take over the machine.

File sharing of music and videos can consume resources to the point of preventing others from using the network effectively. There have been instances where machines set up to share such files on campus have had dozens of connections from both on and off campus, each using a significant amount of bandwidth. This creates bottlenecks for all users trying to use the Internet and campus resources.

These activities are prohibited by the MTSU Information Technology Resources Policy as well as state and federal laws and regulations. Those doing such face the possibility of disciplinary action.

From resource hogging to disciplinary action to legal fees and fines, the savings incurred from not purchasing the material is far outweighed by the costs.

IT Security is Everyone's Responsibility

In today's world there are an ever increasing number of services available online and with each one, there is potential for misuse. There are a few main types of threats that one may encounter online:

  1. Viruses - These are malicious programs that require human intervention to spread such as viewing an email or copying files from one computer to another. Viruses may perform a number of undesirable actions such as stealing information and passwords, sending out spam or even rendering the computer unusable.
  2. Worms - These are similar to viruses, but worms spread automatically without human intervention.
  3. Spam - This is a broad range of unwanted emails, but spam may contain viruses or fraudulent content such as phishing schemes.
  4. Phishing Schemes - This is a special type of email or other communication that tries to trick the user into giving out personal information.
  5. Hacking Attempts - This refers to someone directly trying to infiltrate a computer system.

Some of the threats above relate to the idea of "social engineering"; where people with malicious intent use non-technical means to trick others. This can be seen when information is given out in a phishing scheme by the victim and not by a programming flaw. Another example of social engineering is if an attacker calls someone claiming to be a computer support technician and asks for information such as a password.

It is also important to be aware how you use sensitive information, such as social security numbers, driver's license numbers, financial account information and date of birth. All bits of information can be used to commit identity theft. If this data is not encrypted or scrambled, then it may be possible for third parties to intercept the information. Email and sites which do not begin with "https:"; are not encrypted and should not be used to communicate sensitive information.

There are several things that you can do to help ensure your safety while online:

  1. Install antivirus software, keep it up to date and perform weekly scans.
  2. Install any patches for your operating system. If you are running Windows, you can download the latest patches from http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. It is important to note that Microsoft will never send patches via email, and you should disregard any emails claiming they contain Windows patches as attachments.
  3. Do not open suspicious email. This is one of the most common ways virus spread. Many viruses spoof the <From:> address so it appears to come from someone you know, so do not automatically assume that it is safe because you know the sender. Newer viruses also do research and can customize the subject line to look like it contains familiar information. If you do open a malicious email, an updated antivirus program and operating system will help reduce the threat, but can not totally protect you.
  4. If you use Instant Messenger, only allow messages from people on your "friends"; list and be wary of any files sent to you that you did not request.
  5. Be suspicious if you receive an email claiming to be from a financial institution or other business that has personal information. Phishing emails routinely use the actual graphic files from banks to make them look official, and sometimes they can use personal information obtained through other means to look official.
  6. When entering sensitive information online, make sure the browser has a padlock icon and the address starts with "https."; This indicates that the site is encrypted, and third parties can not view the data as it travels on the Internet. Also make sure the site actually belongs to the intended party, and it is not a site set up to take advantage of careless users.
  7. Never email sensitive information since email is inherently insecure and not encrypted.

Social Security Protection

ITD has set up a security website at http://www.mtsu.edu/~security which contains useful information and links relevant to the most recent security issues at MTSU. There has been a rise in the number of cases where Social Security numbers have been lost due to theft or misplaced deliveries. Once someone has another person's Social Security number, they can use it to assume the victim's identity or access additional information or accounts. It is therefore vital to keep this information protected. Here are a few items to keep in mind:

  • Social Security numbers should only be used when absolutely necessary, not just for convenience.
  • Many Social Security number thefts occur because someone copied a file onto a home computer or laptop and then the computer is stolen.
  • If you must transmit a Social Security number across a network or the Internet, it must be encrypted. This turns the number into a seemingly random collection of characters and only the proper recipient can decrypt it back to normal.
  • Never send Social Security numbers via email. It is not encrypted when transmitted and the mailboxes are usually not encrypted either. A legitimate company will never ask for this information in an email.
  • If you must enter a Social Security number on a Web site, first verify that the Web site is the actual one asking for the sensitive information and not a Web site trying to trick you. After making the confirmation, make sure there is a locked padlock in the
  • browser and the address starts with "https.";
  • Even when a Social Security number must be on a computer and is not being transmitted across a network, it needs to be encrypted. There are ways to encrypt folders on hard drives so that only the authenticated user can view the data.
  • There have been computer viruses that send out random files to random recipients - even if the data is encrypted on the hard drive, it can still be at risk if the computer is infected.
  • If someone contacts you and requests a Social Security number, do not give it out. If your job requires you to give this out, always verify that you are communicating with the intended party and the party needs your Social Security number for a legitimate, business need.

Clean Access aids wireless and residence hall networks

The wireless and residence hall networks utilize a system called Clean Access. A Cisco product, Clean Access provides not only a method to authenticate to the network but also an increase in security by checking for up-to-date antivirus and operating system software installation. It also has the capability to scan for computer vulnerabilities that worms and viruses try to exploit.

When first connecting to the wireless and residence hall networks via a Web browser, the user is redirected to the Clean Access login page. Users enter their PipelineMT information, or they may choose to hit the Guest Access button for limited Internet access. The network is open to all computer platforms including Windows, Linux, MacOS, and PDA operating systems.

For Windows machines, a small piece of software needs to be downloaded to the machine for access. This software, called Clean Access Agent, further takes advantage of Windows-specific features to provide a sophisticated method of ensuring the machine is as safe as possible for network access.

ITD continues to deploy and implement new proactive measures so that network connectivity for all is as fast, reliable, and safe as possible.

Use your MTSU email to communicate with faculty

When students use commercial email accounts for communicating with faculty, it is possible that their messages will be caught by MTSU's spam software and not delivered. To avoid this risk, ITD recommends that students use their MTSU email accounts to correspond with their professors.

All students have Internet access to their MTSU email through PipelineMT. Using of PipelineMT also increases the probability that a message will be delivered as expected. Once a message is sent using PipelineMT, it stays within the university's computer system and does not go onto the Internet.

Reaching the Help Desk

The MTSU Help Desk is here to assist on all technological needs throughout the University. The ITD Help Desk is available from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the basement of the Cope Administration Building. At all other times, the Help Desk can be found in the Business Lab. The Help Desk is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week except on University holidays and when classes are not in session. You can reach the Help Desk by dialing ext. 5345 or by emailing help@mtsu.edu.

InfoMT Kiosks

There are four InfoMT kiosks on the MTSU campus. The kiosks are self-service devices that allow students and visitors to access various kinds of information.

With InfoMT students can:

  • search for open course sections
  • view their personal information such as:
    • grades
    • student account balances
    • financial aid status
    • addresses
    • degree audit progress reports
    • admission status
    • class schedules

Campus maps and frequently asked questions are also available on InfoMT.

Locations are:

  • Keathley University Center (1st floor)
  • Kirksey Old Main (main floor)
  • Business/Aerospace (south entrance)
  • Walker Library (study room at main entrance)

Computer Labs

MTSU has a plethora of computer labs available for student use.

Three "University Computer Labs" are available for all students, faculty, and staff with a current MTSU ID. These labs are:

University Computer Lab, College of Business
Business and Aerospace Bldg., S137
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
ext. 5515

University Computer Lab, Computer Science Department
Kirksey Old Main, KOM 350/351/360
Monday through Thursday - 7:30 a.m. - 9:15 p.m.
Friday - 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday
ext. 2144

University Computer Lab, Instructional Technology Support Center (ITSC)
McWherter Learning Resources Center Pentium Lab 101A
Monday - 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Tuesday - 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday - 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Thursday - 9:30 p.m. - 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Friday - 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday
ext. 5191

Instructional Media Resources Computer Center
McWherter Learning Resources Center LRC 101
Monday through Thursday - 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday - 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday - 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday - 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
ext. 2 892

Residents of Corlew, Lyon, Smith, Womack Lane, and WoodFelder residence halls have access to computer labs in their buildings.

In addition to the University Computer Labs, many departments have labs for classes, research, and general use. These include:

  • Aerospace
  • Agriculture
  • Art
  • Biology
  • BMOM
  • Chemistry
  • Continuing Studies
  • Developmental Studies
  • Educational Leadership
  • Elementary and Special Education
  • English
  • Foreign Languages
  • Geography and Geology
  • History
  • Health and Human Performance
  • Human Sciences
  • Industrial Studies
  • Journalism
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Nursing
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Radio/TV/Photography
  • Recording Industry
  • MTSU ID Card

Your MTSU ID is your key to experiencing everything this university has to offer.

The card identifies MTSU students for access to campus services and privileges. With the ID card, you can check out books at the Walker University Library, be admitted to the Student Recreation Center and campus computer labs, cash checks, and buy tickets to campus events.

In addition, students can use the card to receive student health services, vote in student government elections, use student meal plans, and gain admittance to residence halls. It is important to remember that students need the MTSU ID card to pick up any financial aid checks as well.

Raider Funds

The card can also be used as an on-campus debit card with Raider Funds. Once you deposit money into a Raider Funds account, you can use your card for purchases at Phillips Bookstore, to pay registration fees, do your laundry, buy a snack or soft drink at most campus vending machines, or to purchase meals at any of the food service locations on campus.

When you make a purchase using your ID, your card is run through a card reader and the amount of the purchase is deducted from your Raider Funds account. Your Raider Funds balance is displayed after each purchase so you can keep up with how much money you have left on your card.

To activate a Raider Funds account, go to the cashier windows in the Cope Administration Building or the debit volume terminal location in the copy center at Walker University Library.

Stolen/Lost ID

If an ID card is lost or stolen, the card will be invalidated as soon as the incident is reported by calling the ID office at extension 5523, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. After hours, report the loss to University Police. Then come by the ID office in the Student Services Building (SSAC), Room 112 during our regular office hours to have a replacement card made. There is a $10 fee for replacement of lost or stolen IDs.

MTSU's Wireless Network

MTSU has an extensive wireless network available for usage. Coverage zones include several courtyards, most eateries, the Walker University Library, many lounges, all residence hall lounges, and most classroom areas. Additionally, higher speed coverage (54 Mbps 802.11g) is available in some areas. Coverage is constantly expanded and upgraded.

Map of wireless network coverage

To use the MTSU wireless network, you need an "802.11b" capable wireless network card. These cards will say "WiFi" on them and/or on the package. "WiFi" means that the card adheres to the WiFi standards and should work without problems with the MTSU WiFi compatible network.

For wireless access within the coverage area on campus, simply configure the wireless software to use the wireless network WLANMTSU. Make sure WEP and WPA are turned off (this is usually the default setting). It is important to choose "Infrastructure Mode" in the wireless software. Choosing "Any Available Network" or "Ad Hoc" modes could create an unsecured situation by connecting your computer to another wireless computer. Open a web browser to any page, and it will automatically be redirected to the MTSU Wireless Network login page.

To begin your session, enter your PipelineMT username and password for full access or simply click "Guest Access"; for web access only.

The nature of wireless activity makes the network occasionally weaker in some areas and stronger in others. Most wireless network software includes a small graph that can be utilized to determine the strength of the wireless signal in a particular area. Machines with internal wireless cards may notice slightly less coverage, as the internal antennas may not capture the wireless signals as well as external type adapters. The coverage area map is a general schematic; actual coverage varies based on numerous factors that include but not limited to: type of network adapter, PC battery power, number of people in the area, and season.

Wireless technology is also less secure than connections used on a home computer. It is recommended that for any transactions that involve sensitive data that SSL or SSH encryption is used. Many web pages are SSL-enabled. Look at the web address to determine if the site is SSL-enabled. If the URL begins with "https"; instead of "http"; and has a small padlock icon appearing at the bottom of browser window, then it is SSL-enabled and any data sent and received is encrypted.

If you have any questions or problems, please call the Information Technology Help Desk at ext. 5345, or you can stop by the Help Desk in the basement of the Cope Administration Building during the fall semester on the following days for hands-on help:

Monday - 8 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Tuesday - 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday - 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Thursday - 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday - 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Apple Discounts Available

Students can take advantage of the discounts offered by Apple Computers.

Located on the basement level of the Keathley University Center (KUC), the Apple Campus Store offers an outstanding education discount on all Apple software and hardware, such as the iPod, MacBook Pro, and more. Whatever your needs, be sure to save on Apple products for your home or personal use.

Come visit the store or shop online.

Telecommunication Services

Campus Payphone Locations

  • There are several payphones located on campus for your use. Locations are as follows:
  • Murphy Center - lower level, outside Dance Studio A
  • Murphy Center - track level, outside of Ticket Office
  • James E Walker Library - first floor, lobby
  • Business and Aerospace Building - first floor, across from Room S130
  • Peck Hall - first floor, outside corridor
  • Keathley University Center - second floor, across from the Grill
  • Cope Administration Building - first floor, across from Room 106
  • Kirksey Old Main - first floor, outside of Room 121A

Star1 - Long distance

Telecommunication Services is proud to offer you the MTSU long distance service, Star1. This service allows you to make low-cost, long distance calls from any campus residence telephone. Star1 offers low rates that can save you money over alternative long distance services.

Long distance calls are made through Star1 using an authorization code assigned to you by Telecommunication Services. If you are interested in Star1, please contact Telecommunication Services at ext. 4636. Information on rates is also available by calling ext. 4636.

Services for Students

MTSU residence halls rooms have one, touch-tone telephone line with two jacks for which students provide their own telephone sets for telecommunication services. Residence hall telephone lines include the following features:

  • Call waiting
  • Three-party call conference
  • Call transfer
  • Last number redial
  • Data privacy on demand

In addition to the features above, students may also subscribe to voice mail, caller ID, and private telephone lines.

Caller ID service is available for purchase by resident students. Caller ID is billed through the Star1 long distance system for $5.00 per month. Resident students can also combine this service with voice mail for $7.00 per month for both, also billed through the Star1 long distance system. MTSU Telecommunication Services provides the caller ID feature only. It is the responsibility of the user to provide a telephone that will display caller ID information.

Voice mail service is available for purchase by all students. Voice mail is a service that provides your own personal voice mailbox to answer incoming calls when you are on another line or away. This mailbox makes it easy to store and record messages with technology that is superior to that of an ordinary answering machine.

Voice mail is billed through the Star1 long distance system for $3.50 per month. Resident students can also combine this service with caller ID for $7.00 per month for both, also billed through the Star1 long distance system.

A private telephone line may be provided to a resident student room if telephone cable is available. There are three payment options for a private telephone line:

Monthly - $30.00 per month plus an installation charge of $30.00. The student must prepay the installation charge and the first month of service, or a total of $60.00, before service will be established. Subsequent months of service will be billed at $30.00 per month through the Star1 long distance billing system.

Semester - $150.00 per semester, which includes the installation charge. If choosing to pay on a semester basis, the student must prepay for the entire semester, $150.00.

Yearly - $300.00 per year, which includes the installation charge. If choosing to pay on a yearly basis, the student must prepay for the entire year, $300.00.

Payment for a private line also includes caller ID and voice mail at no additional charge. The student is responsible for any long distance charges incurred on the line. If a Star1 authorization code is used to place long distance calls, the long distance charges will be billed monthly through the Star1 long distance billing system.

Moving the private telephone line to another room will result in a service charge of $30.00.

To establish any of the above services, please visit the Telecommunication Services office, located in the Telecommunication Building room 200, to complete an application.

Remember to cancel services when you move off campus

If you are a student who has applied for voice mail, caller ID, or a private telephone line through Telecommunication Services, please remember to cancel service if you are not residing on campus. You will continue to be billed for these services, unless you call Telecommunication Services at ext. 2991 to cancel services.

Enhanced Voice Mail

Telecommunication Services recently added a feature called Enabled VoiceMail, or EVM, to the Intuity Audix voice mail system. EVM gives voice mail users access to their voice messages through the university's email system, allowing users a single point of access for both voice mail and email. EVM is an ideal solution for voice mail users who share an extension and don't have the convenience of the voice mail indicator lamp on their telephone.

There are two services offered through the new EVM software; evmNotify and evmDelivery. evmNotify can send either a notification to a user's email address or a text message to a user's wireless telephone when a message is waiting.

evmDelivery takes it one step further and sends the actual voice message as an audio attachment to a user's email inbox. With evmDelivery, users can reply to a voice message sent from another EVM user, via email, and can save the message in personalized folders for future reference on their computer's hard drive. evmDelivery provides quick, one-click access to delete a voice mail message from a user's voice mailbox through email. Finally, with EVM, there is no longer a need to worry about missing a message when you are going to be out of the office for an extended period of time. All voice mails will be captured in your email inbox.

EVM is a real time saver for managing messages. A simple web application makes it easy for you to control what happens with your messages and where they are sent. To request EVM, email the voice mail coordinator at eharper@mtsu.edu with the following information: name, campus extension, and mailbox number. For more information, call ext. 2206.