All posts by Andrew Mantuano

Guide to Cleaning-Up your Hard Drive (C: drive)

Please review the following in full before beginning to clean up your hard drive (C: drive). If you have any questions about cleaning up your hard drive, contact the Help Desk (help@brynmawr.edu or x7440).

If you haven’t already, please review the Top 11 Tips for Cleaning-Up Your Files: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/6416

Purpose of your Hard Drive (C: drive)

The C: drive, also known as your computer’s hard drive, has the important job of storing your computer’s operating system (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc.), as well as applications you use (e.g. Microsoft Office, Adobe, Mozilla Firefox) and files you download from the internet.

What Belongs on the C: drive?

The C: drive is best utilized as a temporary storage location for files you’re currently working on.

Relying on the C: drive for long-term storage is risky. All hard drives will inevitably fail, it’s just a matter of when. Keeping this in mind, backing up important files from your C: drive is a critical step in ensuring the security of your data. See the Cleaning Up Your C: Drive To-do List: section below for backup recommendations.

Also, keeping sensitive data (e.g. credit card numbers, social security numbers, data governed by FERPA) stored on your C: drive increases the risk that it will fall into the wrong hands. In fact, certain types of data are prohibited from being stored on your C: drive according to the College’s Data Handling Policy and Data Handling Storage Guidelines.

Cleaning-Up Your C: Drive To-do List

If you think you’d benefit from a quick brush up on how to use your operating system’s file management tools, see the section titled Tips for Using the Windows and Mac File Management Tools. Below are a few tips for making deleting files more efficient!

1)  Transfer files from the C: Drive that do not belong there or that you’d like to back-up

  • Back-up non-sensitive files by syncing your computer with OneDrive. This allows you to choose a location on your computer that will automatically sync with the cloud whenever changes are made (e.g. if you add, modify, or delete a file in this location on your computer, these changes will also occur within OneDrive in Office 365. The inverse is also true.). Syncing facilitates the efficient transfer of folders and individual files. See this Tech Doc for more information: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/5989
  • Transfer school- and work-related files to the H: drive for safe keeping. An alternative to storing school- and work-related files on your C: drive is to store them on the H: drive, part of the College’s network file storage system. The H: drive is available for all community members as a personal, secure storage location. The H: drive should not be used to store files of a per- sonal nature. Learn how to access the H: drive here: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/856

Note: Again, please remain mindful of the Data Handling Policy and Data Handling Storage Guidelines when considering storing files containing sensitive data on any storage medium. Certain types of data are not permitted to be stored on the H: drive.

2)  Clean up your Desktop!

The desktop is a convenient place to put shortcuts to frequently accessed applications and files or to use as a temporary storage location for files you’re currently working on, but it can also quickly turn into a cluttered disaster (similar to a physical desktop!).

With physical files, you might organize papers into folders, then place the folders into a filing cabinet for easy retrieval. With your digital files, consider organizing files into folders in other locations such as the Documents folder on your C: drive, or better yet, on the H: or S: drives, as appropriate. You’ll find that you’ll spend less time straining your eyes to comb through files on your desktop.

3)  Delete files from the C: Drive that do not belong there and/or are unneeded

Note: LITS recommends that all employees follow existing file retention policies for digital files. See the College ’s Record Retention Policy here: http://www.brynmawr.edu/humanresources/Internal/Record_Retention_List.pdf

Please consult your supervisor with any questions.

  • Don’t know where to start deleting? Your Downloads folder is an easy target! Chances are you’ve downloaded more than a few files to your computer, and they’re still sitting in the Downloads folder
  • Target the big ones! Delete large files that are of a personal nature or are unnecessary to keep. See this video to learn how to sort files by file size: http://www.viddler.com/v/c6b4538f
  • Uninstall files and programs that you do not use. Most modern computers now have C: drives that hold large quantities of data, though if you’re getting close to using all of that space, your computer may be running at less than optimal speed. Deleting unused programs or files (especially large ones) may increase performance and free up space for more valuable files.
  • Delete files containing sensitive data if you no longer need them OR transfer them to a secure, approved storage location if you do. Many types of sensitive data are not permitted to be stored on the C: drive
  • Consider deleting older versions of files. You may not need to hold onto dozens of revisions
  • Delete duplicate files. No need to keep multiple copies of the same file on one storage location

4)  Other Things to Consider While Cleaning-Up your Files

  • Be consistent about how you name your files, and follow file naming best practices. Naming your files in a consistent manner will improve your ability to efficiently find them later and to understand differences and commonalities among your Following file naming best practices –such as avoiding using special characters (e.g. <, >, : , ?, *) – will prevent various issues. Read more here: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/4952
  • Consider how you organize your folders. Does your current folder organization system work for you? How could you better organize your folders to make files easier to locate and less likely to be lost and forgotten? While there isn’t a silver bullet for folder organization, you should base your folder organization around the way you work. For example, creating folders for different months or semesters might make the most sense for your workflow, or creating a folder for each of your projects might improve your organization
  • When considering what action to take with a file, ask yourself the following questions:
    • How often will I need to use this file? If it’s unlikely that you’ll need to use a file on a recurring basis or at all in the near future, consider deleting it, archiving it, or moving it to a new folder on the C: drive for past projects
    • Did I produce this file? This is less applicable to the C: drive than shared network drives, but during your clean-up, you may come across files that someone else had created. If you do, find out if they need the file(s) before taking action
    • Can I access this information somewhere else? If you’re storing data on your C: drive that you can access elsewhere (e.g. BiONic, the College website), consider deleting the file. If the file contains data of a sensitive nature it should not be stored on your C: drive
    • Should this file be archived? Certain types of files are required to be archived. Contact the Help Desk if you have questions

More Tips for Using Windows and Mac File Management Tools

LinkedIn Learning, the College’s online learning tool, has a number of helpful videos focusing on using Windows and Mac File Management Tools (File Explorer and Finder) for tasks related to cleaning-up your files. See below for the links to the courses. You can either view the entire playlist of videos or view individual videos. Clicking on a link will redirect you to the LinkedIn Learning sign in page. Please click the option to sign Read more about LinkedIn Learning here: http://lits.blogs.brynmawr.edu/5302

Guide to Cleaning-Up the Q: Drive

Please review the following in full before beginning to clean up your Q: Drive. If you have any questions about cleaning up your Q: drive, contact the Help Desk (help@brynmawr.edu or x7440).

If you haven’t already, please review the Top 11 Tips for Cleaning-Up Your Files: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/6416

Purpose of the Q: Drive

The Q: drive is part of the College’s network file storage system. Similar to the S: drive, the Q: drive is used as a shared storage space, meaning that multiple people can have access to the same directories (folders). Think of it as a locked filing cabinet that multiple people can have a key for, and LITS serves as the locksmith. Unlike the S: drive, the Q: drive is designed to store data for a very specific purpose.

What Belongs on the Q: drive?

The Q: drive is designed to be a storage location for data that is either going into or coming from PeopleSoft (BiONiC). Due to the nature of the data in PeopleSoft, there is a large amount of sensitive data on the Q: drive. While certain types of sensitive data are permitted on the Q: drive, no sensitive data should continue to be stored on the Q: drive if it is no longer needed.

Also, while the Q: drive is designed to accommodate shared storage needs for a number of College departments, the available storage space is by no means infinite. Due to the finite space and the costs associated with maintaining the network storage drives, the Q: drive should only be used to store files related to its intended purpose.

Please see the Data Handling Policy and the Data Handling Storage Guidelines for more details on how the College classifies sensitive data, appropriate storage media for types of data, and more. If you have further questions about whether a file is permitted to be stored on the Q: drive, contact the Help Desk.

Cleaning-Up Your Q: Drive To-do List

Below are a few recommended tasks to complete to clean up your Q: Drive.

If you think you’d benefit from a quick brush up on how to use your operating system’s file management tools, see the section titled Tips for Using the Windows and Mac File Management Tools.

Given the shared nature of the Q: drive, it’s strongly recommended that you meet to discuss a File Clean-Up Day plan of action with the other community members who use the shared directories before deleting, transferring, or reorganizing any files. For example, moving folders without considering who has permissions might end up causing widespread access issues and other problems, leading to a laborious reconciliation process. Think of who has the key before changing the lock! If your Q: drive is complex with many users, LITS recommends reaching out to the Help Desk ( help@brynmawr.edu, x7440) to schedule a consultation on a later date.

1)      Delete files from the Q: drive that do not belong there and/or are no longer needed

Note: LITS recommends that all employees follow existing file retention policies for digital files. See the College ’s Record Retention Policy here: http://www.brynmawr.edu/humanresources/Internal/Record_Retention_List.pdf

Please consult your supervisor with any questions.

  • Delete sensitive data stored on your Q: drive that you no longer need. Simply holding onto it increases the risk that it could fall into the wrong hands
  • Target the big ones! Delete large files that are of a personal nature or are unnecessary to keep. See this video to learn how to sort files by file size: http://www.viddler.com/v/c6b4538f
  • Consider deleting older versions of files. You may not need to hold onto dozens of revisions
  • Delete duplicate files. No need to keep multiple copies of the same file on one storage location
  • Delete copied Applications (e.g. MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, any .exe file types). See this video to learn how to sort files by file type: http://www.viddler.com/v/c6b4538f

2)  Transfer files from the Q: Drive that do not belong there that you’d like to retain

If there are files that you need to remove from the Q: drive but do not want to delete, there are various options for archiving or moving your files to a different storage medium. Certain storage media are best used for more temporary storage, whereas other media are better suited for longer-term storage. Please see this Tech Doc for a list of suggestions for: https://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/files/2009/07/Protecting-Your-Data-0215.pdf

Note: Again, please remain mindful of the Data Handling Policy and Data Handling Storage Guidelines when considering storing files containing sensitive data on any storage medium

3)  Other Things to Consider While Cleaning-Up your Files

  • Be consistent about how you name your files, and follow file naming best practices. Naming your files in a consistent man- ner will improve your ability to efficiently find them later and to understand differences and commonalities among your Following file naming best practices –such as avoiding using special characters (e.g. <, >, : , ?, *) – will prevent various issues. Read more here: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/4952
  • Consider how you organize your folders. Does your current folder organization system work for you? How could you better organize your folders to make files easier to locate and less likely to be lost and forgotten? While there isn’t a silver bullet for folder organization, you should base your folder organization around the way you work. For example, creating folders for different months or semesters might make the most sense for your workflow, or creating a folder for each of your projects might improve your organization
  • When considering what action to take with a file, ask yourself the following questions:
    • How often will I need to use this file? If it’s unlikely that you’ll need to use a file on a recurring basis or at all in the near future, consider deleting it, archiving it, or moving it to a new folder on the Q: drive for past projects
    • Did I produce this file? During your clean-up, you may come across files that someone else had created. If you do, find out if they need the file(s) before taking action
    • Can I access this information somewhere else? If you’re storing data on your Q: drive that you can access elsewhere (e.g. BiONic, the College website), consider deleting the file, especially if it contains data of a sensitive nature
    • Should this file be archived? Certain types of files are required to be archived. Contact the Help Desk if you have questions

More Tips for Using Windows and Mac File Management Tools

LinkedIn Learning, the College’s online learning tool, has a number of helpful videos focusing on using Windows and Mac File Management Tools (File Explorer and Finder) for tasks related to cleaning-up your files. See below for the links to the courses. You can either view the entire playlist of videos or view individual videos. Clicking on a link will redirect you to the LinkedIn Learning sign in page. Please click the option to sign Read more about LinkedIn Learning here: http://lits.blogs.brynmawr.edu/5302

Guide to Cleaning-Up the H: Drive (Network Home Directory)

Please review the following in full before beginning to clean up your H: Drive (known as Network Home Directory on Macs). If you have any questions about cleaning up your H: drive, contact the Help Desk ( help@brynmawr.edu or x7440).

If you haven’t already, please review the Top 11 Tips for Cleaning-Up Your Files: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/6416

Purpose of the H: Drive

The H: drive is part of the College’s network file storage system. Every College community member has access to a private folder on the H: drive, providing you with a secure, long-term method for storing and accessing files. Think of it as a private storage unit for your College-related files.

For instructions on accessing the H: drive, see here: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/856

What Belongs on the H: drive?

While the H: drive is designed to accommodate our entire community, the available storage space is by no means infinite. Due to the finite space and the costs associated with maintaining the network storage drives, the H: drive should only be used to store files related to academics and/or College business. Files of a personal nature, such as personal videos, pictures, audio files, etc. are not permitted to be stored on the H: drive. If personal files are currently stored on your H: drive, they should be deleted or transferred to a different storage medium.

Certain types of sensitive data are not permitted on the H: Drive. Please see the Data Handling Policy and the Data Handling Stor- age Guidelines for more details. If you have further questions about whether a file is permitted to be stored on the H: drive, con- tact the Help Desk.

Cleaning-Up Your H: Drive To-do List

Below are a few recommended tasks to complete to clean up your H: Drive.

If you think you’d benefit from a quick brush up on how to use your operating system’s file management tools, see the section in this guide titled Tips for Using the Windows and Mac File Management Tools.

1)  Delete files from the H: drive that do not belong there and/or are no longer needed

Note: LITS recommends that all employees follow existing file retention policies for digital files. See the College ’s Record Retention Policy here: http://www.brynmawr.edu/humanresources/Internal/Record_Retention_List.pdf

Please consult your supervisor with any questions.

  • Target the big ones! Delete large files that are of a personal nature or are unnecessary to keep. See this video to learn how to sort files by file size: http://www.viddler.com/v/c6b4538f
  • Consider deleting older versions of files. You may not need to hold onto dozens of revisions
  • Delete duplicate files. No need to keep multiple copies of the same file on one storage
  • Delete copied Applications (e.g. MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, any .exe file types). See this video to learn how to sort files by file type: http://www.viddler.com/v/c6b4538f
  • Delete sensitive data stored on your H: drive that you no longer need. Simply holding onto it increases the risk that it could fall into the wrong hands

2)  Transfer files from the H: Drive that do not belong there that you’d like to retain

If there are files that you need to remove from the H: drive but do not want to delete, there are various options for archiving or moving your files to a different storage medium. Certain storage media are best used for more temporary storage, whereas other media are better suited for longer-term storage. Please see this Tech Doc for a list of suggestions for: https://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/files/2009/07/Protecting-Your-Data-0215.pdf

Note: Please be mindful of the Data Handling Policy and Data Handling Storage Guidelines when considering storing files containing sensitive data on any storage medium.

If you decide to transfer appropriate files from your H: drive to your College OneDrive for Business account, you may want to consider syncing your OneDrive account with your computer. This allows you to choose a location on your computer that will automatically sync with the cloud whenever changes are made (e.g. if you add, modify, or delete a file in this location on your computer, these changes will also occur within OneDrive in Office 365. The inverse is also true.) Syncing facilitates the efficient transfer of folders and individual files. See here for more details and instructions: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/5989

Note: Again, please remain mindful of the Data Handling Policy and Data Handling Storage Guidelines when considering storing files containing sensitive data on any storage medium.

A reminder for graduating seniors: Access to your H: drive will end 90 days after graduation. Be sure to move any files you wish to save before then. See more about access changes for graduating students here: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/4833

3)  Other Things to Consider While Cleaning-Up Your Files

  • Be consistent about how you name your files, and follow file naming best practices. Naming your files in a consistent man- ner will improve your ability to efficiently find them later and to understand differences and commonalities among your Following file naming best practices –such as avoiding using special characters (e.g. <, >, : , ?, *) — will prevent various issues. Read more here: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/4952
  • Consider how you organize your folders. Does your current folder organization system work for you? How could you better organize your folders to make files easier to locate and less likely to be lost and forgotten? While there isn’t a silver bullet for folder organization, you should base your folder organization around the way you work. For example, creating folders for different months or semesters might make the most sense for your workflow, or creating a folder for each of your projects might improve your organization
  • When considering what action to take with a file, ask yourself the following questions:
    • How often will I need to use this file? If it’s unlikely that you’ll need to use a file on a recurring basis or at all in the near future, consider deleting it, archiving it, or moving it to a new folder on the H: drive for past projects
    • Did I produce this file? This is less applicable to the H: drive than shared network drives, but during your clean-up, you may come across files that someone else had created. If you do, find out if they need the file(s) before taking action
    • Can I access this information somewhere else? If you’re storing data on your H: drive that you can access elsewhere (e.g. BiONic, the College website), consider deleting the file, especially if it contains data of a sensitive nature
    • Should this file be archived? Certain types of files are required to be archived. Contact the Help Desk if you have questions

More Tips for Using Windows and Mac File Management Tools

LinkedIn Learning, the College’s online learning tool, has a number of helpful videos focusing on using Windows and Mac File Management Tools (File Explorer and Finder) for tasks related to cleaning-up your files. See below for the links to the courses. You can either view the entire playlist of videos or view individual videos. Clicking on a link will redirect you to the LinkedIn Learning sign in page. Please click the option to sign Read more about LinkedIn Learning here: http://lits.blogs.brynmawr.edu/5302

File Size Basics

The terms kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, and terabyte have become household names, but how much data do these terms really represent? It can be very helpful to understand how large various types of files are when considering storage limitations of Hard Disk Drives, USB flash drives, email attachment sizes, or when using a cloud-storage tool such as Office 365’s OneDrive for Business.

Let’s take a look at the sizes of different types and quantities of files:

  • Kilobyte (KB): 1000 bytes = 1 KB
    • A short email (text only) = 5 KB
    • A five-page paper = 100 KB
    • This GIF of Corgis = 834 KB
  • Megabyte (MB): 1000 KB = 1 MB
    • The average size of a webpage = 2 MB
    • A 3-minute long MP3 file = 3 MB
    • A standard CD-ROM = 700 MB
  • Gigabyte (GB): 1000 MB = 1 GB
    • 256 MP3 files = 1 GB
    • 600 high-resolution images = 2 GB
    • A standard DVD = 4.38 GB
  • Terabyte (TB): 1000 GB = 1 TB
    • 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica = 1 TB
    • 400,000 songs = 2 TB
    • 900,000,000 photos = 3 TB

For an even more detailed look at the evolution of data storage, check out this neat infographic courtesy of WebPageFX: http://www.webpagefx.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/data-storage-infographic.jpg

Guide to Cleaning-Up the S: Drive (Network Storage Directory)

Please review the following in full before beginning to clean up your S: Drive, also known as Network Storage Directory on Macs. If you have any questions about cleaning-up your S: drive, contact the Help Desk ( help@brynmawr.edu or x7440).

If you haven’t already, please review the Top 11 Tips for Cleaning-Up Your Files: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/6416

Purpose of the S: Drive

Similar to the H: drive, the S: drive is part of the College’s network file storage system. Unlike the H: drive, the S: drive is used as a shared storage space, meaning that multiple people can have access to the same directories (folders). Think of it as a locked filing cabinet that multiple people can have a key for, and LITS serves as the locksmith.

What Belongs on the S: drive?

While the S: drive is designed to accommodate shared storage needs for a variety of College constituencies, the available storage space is by no means infinite. Due to the finite space and the costs associated with maintaining the network storage drives, the S: drive should only be used to store files related to academics and/or College business. Files of a personal nature, such as personal videos, pictures, audio files, etc. are not permitted to be stored on the S: drive. If personal files are currently stored on your S:drive, they should be deleted or transferred to a different storage medium.

Certain types of sensitive data are not permitted on the S: Drive. Please see the Data Handling Policy and the Data Handling Storage Guidelines for more details. If you have further questions about whether a file is permitted to be stored on the S: drive, contact the Help Desk.

Cleaning-Up Your S: Drive To-do List

Given the shared nature of the S: drive, it’s strongly recommended that you meet to discuss a plan of action with the other community members who use the shared directories before deleting, transferring, or reorganizing any files. For example, moving folders without considering who has permissions might end up causing widespread access issues and other problems, leading to a laborious reconciliation process. Think of who has the key before changing the lock! If your S: drive is complex with many users, LITS recommends reaching out to the Help Desk (help@brynmawr.edu, x7440) to schedule a consultation on a later date.

If you think you’d benefit from a quick brush up on how to use your operating system’s file management tools, see the section in this guide titled Tips for Using the Windows and Mac File Management Tools.

1)  Delete files from the S: drive that do not belong there and/or are no longer needed

Note: LITS recommends that all employees follow existing file retention policies for digital files. See the College ’s Record Retention Policy here: http://www.brynmawr.edu/humanresources/Internal/Record_Retention_List.pdf

Please consult your supervisor with any questions.

  • Target the big ones! Delete large files that are of a personal nature or are unnecessary to keep. See this video to learn how to sort files by file size: http://www.viddler.com/v/c6b4538f
  • Consider deleting older versions of files. You may not need to hold onto dozens of revisions
  • Delete duplicate files. No need to keep multiple copies of the same file on one storage
  • Delete copied Applications (e.g. MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, any .exe file types). See this video to learn how to sort files by file type: http://www.viddler.com/v/c6b4538f
  • Delete sensitive data stored on your S: drive that you no longer need. Simply holding onto it increases the risk that it could fall into the wrong hands

2)  Transfer files from the S: Drive that do not belong there that you’d like to retain

If there are files that you need to remove from the S: drive but do not want to delete, there are various options for archiving or moving your files to a different storage medium. Certain storage media are best used for more temporary storage, whereas other media are better suited for longer-term storage. Please see this Tech Doc for a list of suggestions for: https://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/files/2009/07/Protecting-Your-Data-0215.pdf

Note: Again, please remain mindful of the Data Handling Policy and Data Handling Storage Guidelines when considering storing files containing sensitive data on any storage medium

3)  Other Things to Consider While Cleaning-Up Your Files

  • Be consistent about how you name your files, and follow file naming best practices. Naming your files in a consistent man- ner will improve your ability to efficiently find them later and to understand differences and commonalities among your Following file naming best practices –such as avoiding using special characters (e.g. <, >, : , ?, *) — will prevent various issues. Read more here: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/4952
  • Consider how you organize your folders. Does your current folder organization system work for you? How could you better organize your folders to make files easier to locate and less likely to be lost and forgotten? While there isn’t a silver bullet for folder organization, you should base your folder organization around the way you work. For example, creating folders for different months or semesters might make the most sense for your workflow, or creating a folder for each of your projects might improve your organization
  • When considering what action to take with a file, ask yourself the following questions:
    • How often will I need to use this file? If it’s unlikely that you’ll need to use a file on a recurring basis or at all in the near future, consider deleting it, archiving it, or moving it to a new folder on the S: drive for past projects
    • Did I produce this file? During your clean-up, you may come across files that someone else had created. If you do, find out if they need the file(s) before taking action
    • Can I access this information somewhere else? If you’re storing data on your S: drive that you can access elsewhere (e.g. BiONic, the College website), consider deleting the file, especially if it contains data of a sensitive nature
    • Should this file be archived? Certain types of files are required to be archived. Contact the Help Desk if you have questions

More Tips for Using Windows and Mac File Management Tools

LinkedIn Learning, the College’s online learning tool, has a number of helpful videos focusing on using Windows and Mac File Management Tools (File Explorer and Finder) for tasks related to cleaning-up your files. See below for the links to the courses. You can either view the entire playlist of videos or view individual videos. Clicking on a link will redirect you to the LinkedIn Learning sign in page. Please click the option to sign Read more about LinkedIn Learning here: http://lits.blogs.brynmawr.edu/5302

Top 11 Tips for Cleaning-Up Your Files

Please review the following tips before beginning to clean up your files. If you have any questions about cleaning up your files, contact the Help Desk (help@brynmawr.edu or x7440).

See bottom of this post for printable version.

  1. Set small goals. Saying that you’re going to clean your entire house is a stress-inducing, ambiguous objective, but setting out to vacuum a room is a discrete, attainable goal. Set smaller goals to help you focus and accomplish what’s most important to you.
  2. Take it slow! Don’t try to move/delete too many files at once. You’ll reduce the risk of unintentionally deleting files you need.
  3. Delete only files that you’re absolutely sure you don’t need from network storage drives . While the network storage drives are routinely backed up, these backups are meant for large-scale disasters, not individual cases of accidental data loss. Individual files are very difficult, if not impossible, to retrieve.
  4. Copy/paste, then delete. Continuing with the theme of slow and steady, if you are moving files from one location to another, LITS recommends that you first copy/paste the files to the new location, and then delete them from the original location. This helps to ensure the safety of your files in case anything goes wrong during the data transfer.
  5. Work from the bottom of your folder hierarchy. You wouldn’t toss out your entire filing cabinet if you thought there might be files worth saving in the folders within! “Drill down” to the lowest folder level you have to allow you to make more granular decisions about deleting/moving/archiving your files.
  6. Think twice, delete once. Exercise thoughtfulness and patience throughout your cleaning session. Ensuring the integrity and well-being of your files is a top priority when cleaning up your files; rushing through the clean-up process can have adverse effects. First ask yourself, “Do I need to keep this file?”, and then, “Does this file belong on the H:/C:/S: drive?”
  7. Create a “to delete” folder if you’re not 100% sure. Not completely confident that you won’t need something later? Create a folder for files you’d like to hang on to for a bit longer and move them to this location during your clean-up. Check back after a set period of time (e.g. 2 weeks). If you haven’t needed the files, delete them!
  8. PII? Kiss it goodbye! Delete personally identifiable information and other sensitive data that you no longer need. Simply holding onto it increases the risk that it could fall into the wrong hands.
  9. Understand file size basics and focus on the biggest culprits of space hogging. 25 old Word documents might take up a trivial 2 Megabytes of storage space on the network storage drive. However, 2 video files might be taking up a whopping 25 Gigabytes of space (which is 25,000 Megabytes!). Start your clean-up by identifying large files that you don’t need or that don’t belong on the network storage drives. Learn how to sort by file size here: http://www.viddler.com/v/c6b4538f. Learn more about the difference between megabytes and gigabytes here: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/5523
  10. Know that backing up files and archiving them are not the same. Creating a backup means that you are creating an identical copy of a file and placing it in a different, but accessible, location in case of data loss. Archiving means you are removing the item from its original location and placing it elsewhere for long-term storage.
  11. Work towards identifying files with unknown owners (on the S: Drive). If you find a file and you’re not certain of who should own it, write down the name and location, and then discuss it with your team before taking further action.
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Preparing Images for the Web in MS Word 2016

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SCAMALOT! Part VI

Welcome to a special edition of SCAMALOT! In this post, we change course from our usual mission of providing tips and tricks for recognizing phishing attacks to learn how to assess automated emails you’ll encounter in your inbox.

At times, you will receive automated messages from Bryn Mawr College or Bi-College software, like the password reset web site. These messages may be less personalized and come from an address that does not belong to an individual (e.g. help@brynmawr.edu, accounts@haverford.edu), which may make them look suspicious at first glance.

While it’s much better to be overly cautious than too trusting when navigating your inbox, it’s good to know that not every message that contains suspicious elements or lacks certain information is a phishing email. This post will examine a legitimate email that may seem dubious to some — the password expiry notification email.

After reading this post, you’ll be better equipped to approach various types of automated emails with confidence!

Password Expiry Email

accounts@haverford.edu? What is this?

Sample question: “Not only is this email coming from a Haverford address, but it’s not even coming from a real person. Who is accounts@haverford.edu?!”

Bi-Co Password email header

This is a valid question! Bryn Mawr College and Haverford manage some account access jointly. Password expiry emails are sent from Haverford to both BMC and HC folks when their passwords will expire soon.

The email includes contact info for Bi-Co community members to utilize if they have questions regarding the legitimacy of the message.

PW Expiry contact info

Also, at the bottom of the email, you’ll notice that it is indeed signed by a HC staff member and a BMC staff member.

PW signature

The password expiry notification email is very good about providing ways to verify its authenticity; however, not all automated emails you receive from BMC or Bi-Co software will provide this information. The most effective way to determine if any message is legitimate is to contact the sender via a known, trusted [method]. If the email is not signed by an individual sender, utilize the Faculty/Staff directory to contact someone from within the relevant department: http://www.brynmawr.edu/find/facultystaff/. The Help Desk can also help verify the legitimacy of messages.

Important to remember: just because a message says it comes from a BMC, Haverford, or other familiar domain, doesn’t mean it’s legitimate!

Why is it directing me to a Haverford URL?

Sample question: “The email is telling me to go to a Haverford website to change my password. That seems very phishy to me.”

This is another valid point. Because both colleges use the same password management software across both campuses, there is only one web site for it, currently hosted by Haverford. The email mentions this:

PW Expiry 1

You’ll notice that if you visit the URL password.brynmawr.edu or accounts.haverford.edu, they lead to the exact same page: https://idm.haverford.edu/identity/self-service/bico/kiosk.jsf

password.brynmawr.edu and accounts.haverford.edu use what’s known as URL redirection, which allows organizations to use easy to remember web addresses, even if the full URL later changes with software changes.

Consider the purpose (and tone) of the message

Before taking any action, always stop to analyze the purpose and tone of the message. Consider what the message is trying to convey. Is the message purely informational, or is it urging you to log in to a website or open an attachment? If the message is informational and not asking for any action or input from you, it isn’t phishing!

Phishing messages will often create a sense of urgency to convince you to take action or face consequences (e.g. “Verify your account within 24 hours or your account will be deleted!”). Notice that the password expiry notification email does not contain threatening language, but rather advises the recipient to change their password at their earliest convenience.PW Expiry earliest convenience

Approach any message that asks you to open an attachment or click on a link with extreme caution. Criminals can easily spoof links to look real, but take you to a fake login page where they can steal your sensitive information. Get into the habit of typing known, trusted URLs into your browser rather than clicking on links within emails. Automated emails sent from College/Bi-Co software, such as the password expiry notification, will usually advise you to type in the URL of the password reset page.

Know your role!

Be aware of College policies and processes as they pertain to your role on campus. You should expect regular emails notifying you when your Bi-Co password is scheduled to expire. If you receive an email requesting that you change your College password and you’re suspicious, contact the Help Desk.

That’s it for this edition of SCAMALOT! Learn more about how to recognize scams by completing the College’s Information Security Education Program: http://lits.blogs.brynmawr.edu/7100

Contact the Help Desk with any questions (x7440, help@brynmawr.edu). Again, you are welcome to call if you’d like help determining the legitimacy of a message.

 

 

 

SCAMALOT! Part V

In this edition of SCAMALOT, we’ll take a closer look at an email that raises a number of common phishing flags. Scam emails aren’t always as easy to identify as you might think; it may have been a while since you’ve been asked to wire money to a foreign prince! The most dubious attacks have a very realistic tone and come from what looks like a legitimate person or organization (or as we’ll see below, from an actual Bryn Mawr College account). This means that stopping for just a moment to analyze the details of a message is imperative to protect yourself and the College from harm.

After reading this post, you’ll be better equipped to recognize phishing attacks and hopefully be persuaded to look at your emails just a bit more scrupulously in the future.

As with previous editions of SCAMALOT, this post won’t be a list of every way to determine if an email is legitimate, but it will help raise your awareness of common phishing tactics.

Don’t automatically trust an email from a known person/organization

As we covered in SCAMALOT Part IV, just because an email appears to come from someone at a trusted organization (such as the College), it does not automatically disqualify the chance that it could be a scam. The email address could have been spoofed (forged so the message appears to come from someone other than the actual source) or their account was compromised and is now sending phishing attacks. In this particular example, by clicking on Robin’s name in the email’s header, we see the account sending the phishing emails is indeed a Bryn Mawr College account. The account had been compromised by a previous phishing attack.

What’s ITS?

You might also have noticed that although the message is from Robin Banks, the greeting line (if you could call it that) reads “ITS Chief Technology Officer.”

A department called “ITS” does not exist at Bryn Mawr College. Library and Information Technology Services (or LITS) certainly does! That being said, lookout for phishing attacks claiming to come from LITS or LITS staff.

Also, by examining the email signature, we can see that the message is not signed by Robin or another individual. Beware of ambiguous signatures signed by a team or group. All communications from LITS will be signed by a LITS staff member; we encourage all community members to also sign their emails. This signature also contains a few other strange elements, including a copyright year and the subject line of the email (with gratuitous use of exclamation points!!! — another way scammers try to grab your attention).

Sniff Out Social Engineering Attacks

Cyber criminals are experts at creating appealing “bait” to convince folks to “bite” and provide the attackers with sensitive information. Learn to recognize the common elements of their traps:

Deadlines

“If not verified within 24 hours…”

Attackers know that when confronted with a deadline, people are more likely to take action. You may recognize this cheap tactic from TV advertisements: “Call within the next 2 minutes for free shipping!”

Consequences

“…you might not be able to receive new emails.”

“…your account will be blocked.”

Attackers know that the idea of not having access to email is a frightening thought. Phishing emails often present you with impending penalties such as being locked out of your accounts, not getting a package delivered, being fined by the IRS, etc.

Calls for Action

“Please click the link below and and verify your account.”

Note: Yes, the email does have this typo!

The attacker has instilled a sense of urgency with the deadline and consequence; now, they’ll provide a way to prevent the consequence. Don’t take the bait! It’s best practice not log into a service such as your email, bank, or social media accounts from links within emails. Navigate to the service from a known, trusted URL by typing it into your browser or using a bookmark. Have further questions about the validity of the message? Contact the person or organization from a known, trusted phone number. LITS can help with this, too.

You have a 50 Gigabyte mailbox

One of the most common types of phishing attacks contains the warning that you’ve exceeded your mailbox limit. This is highly unlikely. Each BMC community member has a 50 Gigabyte mailbox. A typical 80-word email is around 10 Kilobytes. This means you’d need about 5 million emails before you exceeded your mailbox’s limit. Visit LITS Tech Docs for more information on file size: http://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/5523

If you’re interested in checking your mailbox usage, follow these steps.

  1. Click on the Settings button (gear icon)

2. In the Settings menu, click on Mail

3. Under General, click on My Account

4. Your mailbox usage is listed towards the bottom of the screen

Links: Hover to Discover

It’s never wise to click on links in emails received from unknown people or organizations. Even if you do know the sender, it’s best practice to closely examine links in emails before you click on them.

It’s a bit odd that the message doesn’t describe where the link leads. It says, “CLICK HERE,” but where exactly is “here?” That being said, just because an email describes where the link supposedly goes does not mean you should proceed without caution. For example, a phishing message could contain this text: “Visit the BMC Webmail log in page to verify your account: webmail.brynmawr.edu

 

Hovering over the CLICK HERE text in our example email reveals the following destination:

aboutus.in/admin/notice/brynmawr/brynmawr/Sign In.html

Does the link look legitimate? aboutus.in is a website registered in India. The attackers added “brynmawr” and “Sign In” to make the link appear genuine.

That’s it for this edition of SCAMALOT! Learn more about how to recognize scams by completing the College’s Information Security Education Program: http://lits.blogs.brynmawr.edu/7100

Contact the Help Desk with any questions (x7440, help@brynmawr.edu). Please feel free to call if you’d like help determining the legitimacy of a message.