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Washington State University
Information Technology Services News

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Now Scheduled for August 4

Delayed from its original March 16 implementation, multi-factor authentication (MFA) for more WSU applications including Office 365, Blackboard, Adobe, Cougar Card, and more, is now rescheduled for the evening of August 4.

Why MFA? Why Now?
With more than 80% of all data breaches being due to compromised individual login credentials, MFA is the reigning security standard across many industries including higher education, healthcare, defense, and finance.

Universities such as WSU are a prime target for cyber criminals due to the collaborative access provided between user accounts. A single university account holder might have direct access to sensitive information across multiple academic and business departments including research, payroll, student data, and more.

As if security concerns were not substantial enough with the usual bad characters, the introduction of CoVid-19 brought even more determined malicious actors. These criminals are looking to capitalize on weakly guarded personal and organizational data, hoping to benefit from individuals working remotely without institutional network security. However, WSU’s Information Security team is ready with implementation of MFA across more than 90 additional university applications. The full list of applications can be found on the ITS website at its.wsu.edu/mfa.
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ZoomBombing Response

To address the growing disruption due to Zoombombing, Information Technology Services (ITS) has implemented the following changes shown below. More information may be shared as we go forward, however ITS wants to allow time for everyone to review and address these needs prior to next week’s scheduled classes and meetings.

Increased Security in WSU’s Zoom Environment

The following security changes are now in place:

  • Removed all user access via web browsers and require access via Zoom’s desktop or mobile application only
  • Required authentication for all Zoom users to access WSU Zoom resources
  • Embedded password protection by default for new meetings that will be scheduled going forward
    • Zoom-generated URL includes an embedded password. Meeting attendees require no extra steps to join a meeting, they can simply click the link as usual.
    • Users can opt out of this default setting, however they will reduce security protections of any future scheduled Zoom meetings.

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Microsoft Teams Change: Document Editing

Effective immediately, Microsoft has implemented a temporary change to accommodate new growth and demand during these unprecedented times. Affecting all students, staff and faculty using Teams, this change is a temporary adjustment to Office document behavior within Microsoft Teams. See below for more information:
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Zoombombing Solutions

With the necessary shift to Zoom instruction during CoVid-19 containment resulting in almost 7,000 Zoom meetings and close to 53,000 participants on the first day of classes yesterday, we are seeing instances of Zoombombing, or individuals joining an open meeting and disrupting the class by sharing their screens.

While support teams explore options to resolve this with the least interruption to teaching and learning needs, course instructors and schedulers can follow one of the two simple steps in the Knowledge Base article linked below to disable screen sharing for participants during Zoom sessions. » More …

Potential Information Security Threats related to CoVid-19 situation.

Washington State University is experiencing increased risk of information security threats due to malicious actors taking advantage of the CoVid-19 situation. Washington State Chief Information Officer James Weaver shared the following information regarding a new phishing email threat that is based on people’s fears surrounding the coronavirus.

Please share this information with fellow WSU staff, faculty, and students in your areas. Also, please forward any instances of emails received that reference the coronavirus to abuse@wsu.edu. Standard security practices should continue to be followed, including never clicking on links within emails from unknown sources.

Thank you,
ITS Communications Team

More Multi-Factor Authentication is on the way—but why?

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) will be required at login for more WSU applications, including Blackboard, Adobe, Cougar Card, Zoom and others, beginning at 6 a.m. on March 16. Users should check with local technical support for any department-specific applications that may be affected.

Why MFA?

It may be easy for some users to wonder why additional security measures are needed when they rarely see that their accounts are under attack. However, on the front line of cyber security at WSU, where Information Technology Services (ITS) prevents nearly 1,000 accounts per month from password-related cyber assaults, things aren’t so quiet.

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Potential Information Security Threats related to coronavirus outbreak

Good Afternoon,
State CIO James Weaver shared the information located at the bottom of this message thread regarding a new phishing email threat that is based on fears surrounding the coronavirus.

Please share this information with fellow staff, faculty, and students in your areas. Encourage everyone to forward any instances of emails received that reference the coronavirus to abuse@wsu.edu. We also want to reiterate that recipients should never click on links within emails from unknown sources.

Thank you,
ITS Communications Team

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MyWSU Access Change

ITS maintenance from 9pm to midnight on Sunday, May 12. When complete, myWSU, Blackboard Learn and other applications will require a new authentication account. Visit its.wsu.edu/okta for more information, or go to activate.wsu.edu to set up your new password and password recovery preferences.