CAIT Update: January 2019

It's been a busy 2019 already, and this edition of CAIT Update is just barely in January!  

CAIT Update is intended to be an inside look to the goings on of CAIT and be a mechanism to foster greater transparency of the thought and decision making process surrounding technology at CalArts.

2018 PaperCut Facts and Figures

Who: Faculty, Students, and Staff

The PaperCut printing platform provides an interesting look into printing across the campus.  It is used by Faculty, Students, and Staff in five of our six schools and administrative departments alike.  

  • 2,036 people used the PaperCut platform in 2018.  That includes faculty, students, staff, CSSSA, and campus guests.
  • 27 printers are available, include copiers, large format printers, and plotters.
  • 944,121 total pages were printed using 670,679 individual pieces of paper.
  • 546,436 pages were double-sided, and 397,685 pages were single-sided.
  • 100,789 individual print jobs were processed through PaperCut.
  • Of the 944,121 total pages, 23% were copies and 77% were prints.
  • 83% of the total pages were color, and 17% were grayscale.

How does that compare against 2017?  Well, in 2018...

  • About 4% more people used PaperCut.
  • 26% more printers were available (20 in 2017).
  • 37% more pages were printed and 35% more sheets of paper used.
  • 5% more print jobs were double sided.

We tend to nerd-out over statistics, and really get into year-over-year change analysis, and we are expecting these numbers to grow in 2019 as more printers are added to the platform.  

A particularly interesting statistic would be the year-over-year usage trend for scanning as opposed to printing.  Let us know if you find this interesting too!

Did you know that you can scan directly to Google Drive with PaperCut?  

Check out this article to find out how!

Email Security Changes

Who: Faculty, Students, and Staff

CAIT has received quite a few reports of email behavior changes over the past few weeks and months, from legitimate mail that is increasingly finding its way into spam folders and a preponderance of phishing attacks.  

While Google does not divulge the 'how' of their processing algorithms, we do have some new information to share about some public changes to their systems and changes we are making:

Stricter Security Requirements

There are three primary email security mechanisms: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records.  Email providers can, and should, configure all three so email can be properly authorized and secured.  When these are not fully configured these messages as suspect, which can often lead to marking legitimate emails as Spam.

You can check the status of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records in each email you receive by clicking on the Show Original link:

A new window will appear containing pertinent information about that message, including the Message ID (helpful when reporting a suspicious message to CAIT), and the status of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.  

The three possible statuses are:  Failed, Neutral, and Pass.  CalArts has properly configured all three of these, so our emails should all say Pass.

Until recently Google was lenient when it came to handling emails with less than passing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records.  In 2018 Google strengthened their security standards, however, and now messages that list either Failed or Neutral are more likely to be marked as Spam or have other delivery problems.

So, what does this mean for you?

You should periodically scan your Spam folder for legitimate mail and mark those message as Not Spam.  That will help train Google's algorithms and help legitimate messages get through to your Inbox.

Messages get automatically deleted from your Spam after 30 days, so we recommend taking a few moments and scanning through that folder once or twice a month.

Phishing Prevention

In recent months there has been a dramatic rise in phishing attacks from external email addresses designed to look sufficiently like CalArts email accounts.  Typically these attacks come from @gmail.com accounts, and will be something like jdoe.calarts.edu@gmail.com, and will display the full name of someone you know, like "Jane Doe".

These emails will often start with an innocuous question like "Are you available?" and end up asking you to buy iTunes gift cards with the promise of paying you back when the person gets "back in the office."

When coming from services like GMail, these messages will have all the appropriate SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records and pass those basic security checks.

In the coming days CAIT will be turning the following prevention features on:

  • Protect against domain spoofing based on similar domain names
  • Protect against spoofing of employee names
  • Protect against inbound emails spoofing your domain
  • Protect against any unauthenticated emails

In the interest of not accidentally blocking legitimate messages we have configured these prevention measures to deliver messages that look suspicious and include a warning that lets you know it looks suspicious.

If you receive a message that includes a warning, take an extra moment to verify the email address of the sender before responding, or forward that email to cait@calarts.edu and we will be happy to verify its legitimacy for you.

Adobe Creative Cloud for Labs & Shared Devices

Who: Faculty, Students, and Staff

With the release of the Creative Cloud 2019 applications Adobe has drastically changed how these programs will work in a computer lab or shared device environment.  Until very recently Adobe had not released any information as to what these changes would be or how they would need to be implemented.

CAIT now has Adobe's documentation for Creative Cloud 2019 applications in a shared environment but does not yet have an ETA on when deployment will be ready.  We will be reaching out to those around campus to manage or administrate computer labs to discuss what will be necessary moving forward.

The 2019 versions of Creative Cloud applications are dependent on these recent changes, so 2018 will be the newest available versions until a deployment plan can be developed and implemented.

Zoom Rooms - The Buzz

Who: Faculty, Students, and Staff

Since the December 2018 edition of CAIT Update, the Buzz was brought online as the third Zoom Room on campus.

Shortly thereafter we had a hardware failure that took it right back offline!  :-/

We are expecting to receive the replacement part very soon and expect to have the Buzz return to normal operation very in no time.  We are also working on better signage in the Zoom Rooms that explain how to use the technology, and which buttons to press!  

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