Do you have old XP machines? If so, they need to be upgraded!

Anyone who is still using an old Windows XP PC or virtual machine should contact LMC Support and let us know, so we can get you upgraded! Microsoft has finally ceased pushing out support updates and security patches for XP, effectively ending its usability. We have an interest in getting these machines upgraded or off our networks to prevent the spread of malware, so drop us an email if you’re still using XP!

LMC Support does not work on personal machines, but if you have an older PC still running XP and want to keep it running, there are easy ways for an end-user to take steps themselves to put a modern operating system on their laptop. Especially for older computers which aren’t fast enough to run Windows 7, you can download an ISO image of Linux Mint XFCE, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, or other Linux distros designed to use low resources and run on old computers.

Burning the ISO to a bootable DVD, or using a utility to create a bootable live USB drive, will let you preview Linux in a live environment without making changes to your computer. It runs directly from the CD or USB. Always back up your important data first, though! There is an installer available from the live system that can erase your hard disk, so make sure that whatever you’re doing, you have a copy of your important files first.

A live DVD/USB system also means that you can boot and run your computer without a hard drive attached. So if you have an old PC whose hard drive has failed, it can still be used.

 

PSA: Do you use a Linksys wireless router at home? Please note that Linksys has announced a security vulnerability which needs to be addressed.

I’d like to call attention to some news articles, and a recent announcement by Linksys, which manufactures a widely-adopted line of home wifi routers. If your home router is made by Linksys, please refer to the company’s website, support FAQ, and their technical article, linked below, for information on an ongoing security problem which can, under adverse conditions, allow an Internet worm, being referred to in the media as the “Moon malware,” to gain control of several models of Linksys router.

If infected, home users’ traffic is redirected through a hostile DNS server (meaning affected households could be re-routed to fake banking or social media login pages, and passwords stolen, for example), and the worm uses the home customers’ Internet connection to spread itself,  hogging bandwidth and slowing Internet service.

PC World has reported on the exploit, with some background info and the warning that there could be more affected models than the list already published.

Linksys has published a technical article with links to instructions on disabling the Remote Administration feature and updating the firmware, however it should be noted that there’s no official list (yet) of all vulnerable router models, nor is there a current published firmware update that Linksys has yet released to directly address this vulnerability. The official patch is still pending.

 

Connecting to campus VPN

We’re getting a lot of recent requests about connecting from home to on-campus network storage, and in order to do that from LAWN or from off-campus locations, you’ll first need to connect to the campus VPN. I’ve added a support page with background info on the campus VPN and some quick links to the client installer.

 

Campus closed Tuesday, Feb. 11!

In anticipation of another potential ice storm, Georgia Tech has made the decision to close campus on Tuesday, Feb. 11th.

Campus weather announcements can be found at: http://www.gatech.edu/emergency/weather/updates

Anyone unfamiliar with winter storm and preparedness can consult http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm for useful advice on preparing your car, home, or emergency office kits!