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“Locky” Ransomware

A new wave of ransomware (malicious software that encrypts files for ransom) is being reported in the news and by some users within the Cornell community. These particular instances of ransomware trick Windows users into either applying fake software updates (e.g. Adobe) or enabling features in products like Microsoft Office.

Find out more at IT: Status Alert Details

Widespread email phishing attempts

Fraudulent emails are targeting Cornell by claiming to be from a Cornell office or official, requesting personal information and passwords. They are trying to scare people into reacting by creating a sense of urgency with ALL CAPS, threatening to close an account, etc. Unfortunately, these types of phishes are becoming incredibly common.


For a recent example where someone almost transferred $9,000 due to a phish, see the security alert we posted on December 17, 2015, Highly sophisticated email fraud is leveraging Cornell names and relationships:

Status Alert Details

Source: IT: Status Alert Details

MS Surface power cord recall

This recall applies to:

  • AC power cords for Microsoft Surface Pro, Microsoft Surface Pro 2, and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices sold before March 15, 2015

Get details and answers to common questions about the Microsoft Surface Pro AC power cord replacement program. Learn how to order a replacement part if your Surface Pro power cord is affected.

Upcoming Data and GIS workshops at Mann and Olin Libraries


Intro to ArcGIS
February 8, 2016;  2:00-4:00pm;  Mann Library, Stone Classroom
Learn the basics of mapping and geospatial analysis using ArcMap (ArcGIS), Esri’s desktop GIS application. We will work together through examples of loading common types of data, modifying the display styles, and performing some basic analysis.

Using Excel with Research Data: Formulas and Functions
February 24, 2016;  4:30-6:00pm;  B05 Uris Library Classroom
Much of Microsoft Excel’s data-crunching power lies in Excel functions and Excel formulas, which allow all sorts of data analysis, from simple sums to lookup tables and everything in between. In this one hour workshop, we’ll talk about some of our favorites, and then have hands-on practice building formulas and using Excel functions. We will also have time for you to bring your data and questions for personalized help.

Intro to QGIS
February 29, 2016; 2:00-4:00pm;  Mann Library, Stone Classroom
Learn the basics of mapping and geospatial analysis using QGIS, the popular open-source desktop GIS application. We will work through examples of loading common types of data, modifying the display styles, and performing some basic analysis.

Managing data to facilitate your research
March 8, 2016;  4:30-6:00pm; 112 Mann Library, CIT Lab
Learn how to manage data in order to facilitate research. Major funders are requiring data management plans with grant applications (including dissertation improvement grants!), and data management is equally important for the individual researcher trying to document and organize files, track scientific output, and perform quality control.

Using Excel with Research Data: Pivot Tables
March 9, 2016;  4:30-6:00pm;  B05 Uris Library Classroom
Sometimes it is difficult to analyze all of the information in your Microsoft Excel worksheet. PivotTables can help make your worksheets more manageable by summarizing data and allowing you to manipulate it in different ways. In this workshop, we’ll have hands-on practice using a pivot table to manipulate and summarize a dataset so that you’ll leave with a greater understanding of how and when to use this handy tool with your data.

Data Cleaning: an Introduction to OpenRefine
March 15, 2016;  2:00-4:00 pm; Mann Library, Stone Classroom
Got messy data? OpenRefine is a free and powerful tool for exploring, normalizing, and manipulating tabular data. This introductory workshop will teach you the basics of OpenRefine, including how to import data, discover and clean up inconsistent values, reformat dates, and expand values into multiple columns.

Data Documentation: An Introduction to Science Metadata
March 22, 2016;  4:30-6:00pm;  112 Mann Library, CIT Lab
How do you describe your digital data and document the steps you take to analyze it? Are your files sufficiently organized and have you created the metadata so that others can interpret what you’ve done? What about yourself, three months from now? This workshop will offer some best practices and strategies to adopt in order to organize and describe your science research data for yourself and others.

Using Excel with Research Data: Macros
March 23, 2016;  4:30-6:00pm;  B05 Uris Library Classroom
Macros in Excel enable you to automate a repetitive task so that you can do the task again with a single click. During this workshop, we’ll teach you how to record a macro and introduce you to the Visual Basic Editor for more advanced macro programming. You’ll leave with a greater awareness of when macros might be useful, as well as hands on practice creating macros, and resources to continue your learning.

Data Cleaning: Advanced OpenRefine
April 5, 2016;   2:00-4:00 pm; Mann Library, Stone Classroom
Building on the basic capabilities of OpenRefine, join us in exploring advanced data manipulation using GREL, joining tables, installing extensions, and reconciling and enhancing data using local or remote services.

Introduction to Tableau Public

April 8, 2016;  10:00-11:30am;  B05 Uris Library Classroom
Tableau Public is a free data visualization tool. It requires no plug-ins and no API. You can create interactive graphs, dashboards, maps and tables from virtually any data. The tool includes a free desktop product that you can download and use to publish interactive data visualizations to the web.

Data Publishing: How to get your data out there for others to find and use
April 12, 2016;   4:30-6:00pm;  Mann Library, Stone Classroom
Data journals, data sharing policies, institutional and subject repositories:… Are you confused about how to maximize your research data’s potential? In light of developing funder requirements around public access to data, researchers need to have a strategy for publishing their data. So what data should you share, where can you put it, and what should you think about when doing so? During this workshop, we’ll discuss eCommons (Cornell’s digital repository), some other sharing strategies, and will introduce a set of criteria upon which to base your decision.

Intro to CartoDB
April 14, 2016;  2:00-4:00pm;  Mann Library, Stone Classroom
An introduction to CartoDB, a popular online tool for mapping and analysis. Learn how to set up a free account, load data, and quickly make maps in a variety of styles.

Introduction to ArcGIS I
April 15, 2016;  10:00-11:30am;  B05 Uris Library Classroom
This workshop will familiarize you with some of the basic concepts and features of ArcGIS and some fundamentals of GIS mapping and analysis. You will work with map layers and attribute data tables for U.S. states, counties and cities. You will learn where and how to get the necessary data. You will also learn how to build a map from existing GIS data.

Introduction to ArcGIS II
April 22, 2016;  10:00-11:30am;  B05 Uris Library Classroom
Prerequisite: Session I on November 13th. You will learn to create, import and display coordinates, import and join data spreadsheets and other advanced features of the software, e.g. tabular editing with the field calculator, geocoding and georeferencing, and conversion of KML format files to ArcGIS.

Consultation Hours

RDMSG Online Office Hours: The Research Data Management Service Group consultants are available to answer data management questions during online office hours,  Monday-Friday from 2:00-3:00 PM.  The RDMSG is also available for longer consultations, either in-person, or via email or telephone.

GIS Help Desk: Mann Library offers walk-in help at the GIS Help Desk, located in the consulting area just outside Stone Classroom. Open Monday-Friday, 2-4pm, when classes are in session.  If the weekday afternoon hours are not convenient for you, please request a one-on-one consultation to fit your schedule. Mann Library also offers online tutorials in GIS.


Instructor Sessions

Academic Technologies offers free training and courses for instructors on classroom technology. There are three more available before spring semester starts:
• LabArchives Basics: Tuesday, January 19; 1:00pm-2:00pm, 112 Mann Library
• Blackboard Assessments and Grade Center: Thursday, January 21; 2:00pm-3:00pm, 112 Mann Library
• Turnitin: Friday, January 22; 10:00am-11:00am, 112 Mann Library
For complete course descriptions please see:

Register here:

Academic Technologies offers personalized trainings for those who cannot make the training listed above. Personalized trainings include:
• LabArchives Electronic Lab Notebook Software
• Getting Started with Blackboard
• Blackboard Assessments and Grade Center
• Blackboard Collaborate
• Turnitin

E-mail to set up an appointment, or walk-in at 123 CCC.

Data Management at Cornell Information Sessions

Please join us for an introduction to the Research Data Management Service Group and the services available to you at Cornell to help you manage your research data. We’ll also review funder requirements for proposal preparation and data sharing, and show you the basics of preparing a data management plan. Two sessions are being offered, no RSVP necessary:

  • Wednesday January 20, noon – 1 pm, 120 Mann Library
  • Thursday February 18, noon – 1pm, 340 Duffield Hall

For more information, please contact us at

Highly sophisticated email fraud is leveraging Cornell names and relationships | IT@Cornell News

An increasing number of individuals at Cornell have received an email that appeared to be from a well-known colleague. Requests for funds up to $9K have nearly been approved–be vigilant.

Find out more at Highly sophisticated email fraud is leveraging Cornell names and relationships | IT@Cornell News.

Encryption Policy update

Cornell University Policy 5.10 has been revised and now requires “whole-disk encryption for all university-owned desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones”. To meet one of the requirements of University Policy 5.10, CALS-OIT will be installing software and making configuration changes to your computer that will ultimately encrypt your computer hard drive.

These changes will be a part of regularly scheduled maintenance as described at

You might also see a dialog box similar to this one:

MBAM cmd dialog

During this process, notifications will appear on your computer informing you of the required software and installation date.   Once the software is installed, your computer will be required to reboot.   However, there is a four hour window where you can postpone the reboot after installation.

In order to give you the most control over the process, when you see the required software notification we recommend that you install the software and reboot your computer at your earliest convenience.

During the actual drive encryption process we expect minimal impact and you may continue to use your computer during the process.   Once the drive is fully encrypted, you will continue to login to your computer the same way you always have.

For more specifics regarding this policy revision please see:

How to Better Manage E-mail in Outlook 2013 with Quick Steps and Rules

Quick Steps are basically rules (there is a feature called Rules, which we’ll discuss shortly).but, unlike Rules, which work behind the scenes without your input, Quick Steps rely on your input to work.

Find out How to Better Manage E-mail in Outlook 2013 with Quick Steps and Rules.

Skype for Business Basics – YouTube

This session introduces the key activities needed to get started with Skype for Business today. From setting options, to running a meeting, users will leave this session with the foundation needed to master Skype for Business.

via Skype for Business: Learning the Basics – YouTube.

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