The Internet of Things: Securing Your Smart Devices

Featuring info and tips from George Finney, OIT’s Chief Security Officer.

It’s the same internet that everyone else uses, but it’s getting filled up with more than computers. Smart devices like light bulbs, wearable fitness trackers, and kitchen appliances now fill the space once reserved for smartphones and laptops. These Internet of Things (IoT) devices are just as susceptible to hacking, and in some cases are more vulnerable.

Devices that support Amazon’s Alexa are a wonder of modern technology, but before taking the plunge, you should be prepared to spend some time thinking about how you will want to secure these devices.

Continue reading The Internet of Things: Securing Your Smart Devices

Upcoming Microsoft Office Certification Info Sessions

Get Certified with MOS CertificationDuring the 2017–2018 academic year, OIT will be providing access to the Microsoft Office Specialist Exams for free to current students. Get certified and stand out among other candidates for those upcoming internships and job interviews next spring! This 30-minute info session will walk you through the process of how to get started, where to get practice exams, and what to expect on the exams. You’ll also learn how to promote your certifications on LinkedIn and share digital transcripts with potential employers.

These info sessions will be located in the Hughes-Trigg Forum on Wednesday, October 18. Sessions will take place at 12:45, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:15.

Qualtrics Offers Free Online Conference for Academic Research

Our friends at Qualtrics are gearing up for this year’s Qualtrics Experience Week. From October 16-19, this fully online event includes presentations from academic and corporate researchers. Here’s a sample of what they are offering:

  • UPenn’s Angela Duckworth on the importance of non-cognitive factors in academic (and life) success
  • Northwestern’s David Schonthal on digging for insights in unexpected places
  • Jackson College’s Lee Hampton on improving academic success for students of color.
  • In addition to academic thought leaders, you’ll also hear from corporate researchers from brands like BMW, Stance, Slack, Traeger Grills and more.

Qualtrics is accepting registrations for this free event now, so reserve your spot soon!

Got Spam? Report it to Us!

In 2016, SMU received over 504 million e-mails. Out of all of those e-mails, only 2.8% of them were legitimate messages that actually made it to inboxes. The rest were all junk, including messages with viruses, marketing materials, and other messages from addresses with bad reputations.

Obviously, our spam filters are doing a pretty great job at filtering out the majority of spam messages that arrive at SMU. However, no spam filter is perfect, and bad messages occasionally end up in your mailbox. If you receive a suspicious and/or unsolicited message in your SMU inbox, make sure to follow these guidelines to stay safe and let us know about the message.

Don’t Open the Links!

Most spam messages usually contain cryptic addresses that could lead to viruses and possible identity thieves. Make sure to NEVER click on links within a suspicious message. The same rule goes for attachments. Even if the attachment filename or file format looks safe, it is most likely trying to deceive you.

Let OIT Know!

If you just delete the spammy message as soon as you receive it, we may never know about it! Help OIT and your fellow SMU community members by reporting the message to prevent further messages. In SMU webmail, simply right-click on the spam message and select Send As Attachment. If you’re in Outlook, select the message and then press Ctrl+Alt+F. This will open a new e-mail with the spam message as an attachment. Send that message to This will send the offending e-mail to our spam filter for processing. This helps the filter become even better at blocking harmful messages in the future.

Of course, if you’re ever unsure about a message or have any questions, give us a call at 214-SMU-HELP or drop us a line at

Skype for Business Upgrade Brings New Features, Improved Stability

Skype for Business LogoStarting August 31, OIT will begin migrating existing SMU accounts from our old Microsoft Lync communications server to a new server powered by Skype for Business. You may already be using the Skype for Business (SfB) client on your office PC, but the move to this new server will enable more features and increased reliability on all platforms. Keep reading for some examples of what you’ll be getting when the upgrade is complete.

Continue reading Skype for Business Upgrade Brings New Features, Improved Stability