University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Archive for April, 2014

Contact Information Now Available for All UITS Employees

There are a number of general phone and email contact points that provide access to UITS groups and / or services. When submitting a help or service request, we encourage everyone to contact the organization through either the Service Desk or one of the local Service Areas. However, we have received feedback that these mechanisms are not always helpful when trying to contact specific individuals. Now we’re changing that.

UITS is now aggressively ensuring that individual phone numbers and email addresses will be properly available in the University’s online phone book. We will also maintain a staff directory, as we want the community to be able to easily contact us at both the organizational and individual level for all of their IT needs.

Authenticated SMTP

UITS has added authentication support to our Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) server.

Customers that utilize Outlook and Exchange for email already take advantage of authenticated access for outgoing emails, but our generally available SMTP server has not historically supported authenticated access.  A consequence of this is that UITS blocks access from off campus to the SMTP server when sending emails.  This has required laptops (for example) that access the SMTP server directly from off network to either have a separate configuration using a different SMTP server or to utilize the University Virtual Private Network (VPN) when sending email.  There are often similar complexities when configuring home machines to access your university email.  Enabling authentication capabilities on the SMTP server allows UITS to fully support direct access to the SMTP server from outside of our network.  This limits complexity and potentially reduces support needs.

Mail clients configured to utilize smtp.uconn.edu directly can use SMTP authentication through either SSL on port 465 or STARTTLS on port 587.  The authentication credentials are simply your NetID and password.  Outlook or other clients that use Exchange directly will not require reconfiguration and adjustment.  They will simply continue to operate as they do now.

For assistance on configuring ports for SMTP Authentication, users can contact the UITS Service Desk by submitting a ticket at http://serviceit.uconn.edu.

InCommon Certificate Service

UITS has procured an InCommon Certificate Service for the University.  This service allows us to generate, for all UConn Domains, an unlimited number of certificates (e.g., SSL, extended validation, client, and code signing) that are validated by a trusted Certificate Authority.

Technical staff across the institution aggressively responded to the recent Heartbleed exploit and updated University servers. Heartbleed attacked an OpenSSL vulnerability in order to obtain private data.  It is possible that some certificates were compromised and it would be wise to replace any that might have been exposed.  You may replace your certificates at no departmental cost by using the UITS fully subsidized InCommon Certificate Service. Additional information can be found at the following location: http://security.uconn.edu/ssl-certificates/.

This expanded institutional relationship with InCommon decreases administrative overhead and reduces costs to departments.  We believe it can help you mitigate risks created by the recent security incident as well as encourage the use of certificate technology in general.

SafeConnect Discontinued

UITS has discontinued SafeConnect, the university network access control system.

The SafeConnect environment has provided a number of operating and management benefits to the university.  It has, however, also generated a significant number of support problems for the community.  UITS recently deployed a new version of the environment.  It did not adequately address the long-standing support challenges and, after careful consideration of the product and based on direct feedback from the community, it has been permanently disabled.  UITS will pursue other, less intrusive, approaches to replace the capabilities that SafeConnect previously provided.

The SafeConnect client that is currently installed on computers will no longer prevent access to the university network and it may be uninstalled at your convenience.  If no action is taken, it will automatically uninstall itself after approximately six months of inactivity.