Beware of targeted ‘spear phishing’ scams

In these unusual times, with most of us working or studying from home, we need to be even more vigilant and aware of our cyber-security.  In particular, look out for ‘spear phishing’ campaigns that attempt to steal valuable information and plant malicious software.

Spear phishing emails and media posts can be highly sophisticated and difficult to spot. They are carefully drafted and often appear to be sent by a friend or company you know, a colleague or even a senior member of the University. You may be asked to share sensitive information or to access a file or document which contains malicious software.

What should I do?

  • If you are unsure the request is genuine, simply delete it
  • Don’t respond, open any attachments or click any links
  • If the request seems unusual or unexpected, check directly with the sender (preferably by telephone)

Please remember:

  • These requests are not genuine and should just be deleted
  • The University will never ask for your password
  • If you receive an email asking for your password or sensitive details, it’s a scam

If you would like further guidance or if you have clicked on a link and provided any details, please contact the IT Service Desk on 0191 208 5999.

Not sure about an email? Just bin it.

IT Services toolkit to support working from home or off-campus

The toolkit highlights the options available for off-site access to University IT services and software. It provides guidance on which services to use, depending on the task, along with advice on the equipment or software you may need. 

Find out more about remote working: 

  • Accessing your email, calendar and files
  • Collaboration tools to help teams and study groups stay connected
  • Accessing University software and applications 
  • Secure working away from the University 

Go to the Remote and Home Working Toolkit

If you’d like advice on which service is best suited for your needs, please contact the IT Service Desk.

IT Services over the holidays

Normal IT support services will close at 1700 on Friday 18 December and re-open at 0800 on Monday 4 January.

As usual the Out of Hours Helpline service will provide 24/7 telephone support throughout, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Support is available via our usual telephone number 0191 208 5999.

For more information on IT services over Christmas, see http://go.ncl.ac.uk/itservice/festive-holiday2020

Team privacy check-ups, new features and guides

Public or Private? Who can access your Team?

Calling all Team Owners! Take a moment to check your Teams privacy settings.

By default all Teams created are Private and only members can see the content and conversations. If a Team Owner sets a team to Public it will be discoverable by anyone in the University- staff or student. They can view all files and documents in the Public team and join the Team without requesting permission.

For the majority of scenarios we recommend you keep your teams Private. Please review our Teams privacy check-up for more details

Creating meetings in Canvas using Teams

The Flexible Learning website has some great guides for arranging online meetings in Canvas, taking you step by step through the process to set up Teams or Zoom meetings in our new VLE.

Prevent attendees from unmuting during Teams meetings

When you organise a meeting in Teams, you’ll see a new setting on the options page titled “Allow attendees to unmute.” This can be toggled before the meeting starts to ensure attendees cannot unmute themselves during the meeting. By default “Allow attendees to unmute” is on, i.e. attendees can unmute themselves freely during the meeting.

Take control of noisy notifications

As we are added to more and more Teams the noise level can increase. Fortunately, the new notifications options should make it easier for you to quieten the app down. Go to Settings>Notifications to set your preferences.

Zoom Demo Sessions for October 2020

Whether you are looking to use Zoom for the first time, need a refresher on a specific topic or just want to see what’s new, we are running another batch of our popular Zoom tutorials starting next Tuesday 13th October.

We had over 600 participants attend our previous sessions and have over 100 people signed up already for the next ones.

We run 3 x 30-45 minute sessions, covering the basics like signing in and screen sharing scheduling through to breakout rooms, annotations and polls.

If you either use Zoom regularly, or will be supporting Zoom users across the next academic year then we would highly recommend coming along – https://videoconferencing.ncl.ac.uk/advicenew/training/#zoom

We hope to see some of you there!

We also have an active Zoom community running (with over 430 members) if you are interested in joining?

Are you ready for Canvas? We’re moving to the new University VLE on the 31 July 2020.

We are getting closer to the 31 July 2020 when all access to Blackboard ends for colleagues and students and we go fully live with Canvas. 

​​What can I do to prepare for the transition to Canvas? 

There are 5 key steps that you can follow to be ready for the move to Canvas and get the most out of this new platform: 

What training and support is available? 

All students and colleagues have access to Canvas and you can log in at https://canvas.ncl.ac.uk  

Log in using your normal username and password. 

Students 

When you log in you will have access to a Getting to Know Canvas course. This will take you through the key areas of Canvas and includes screencasts of the Canvas interface and how to submit an assignment. 

Colleagues 

Once you log in you will see an online Canvas Orientation course. This is a comprehensive online training resource developed for all Newcastle University colleagues and can be accessed 24/7 from your Canvas dashboard. You also have your own personal Canvas practice course. 

Colleagues are also encouraged to sign up for Canvas webinars and can book a place using the links below: 

Help Guides and 24 hour support 

​​Take a look at a range of help guides and videos on the Canvas website and don’t forget Canvas 24/7 support is available to all colleagues and students for any of your ‘How do I’ Canvas questions direct from the Canvas Help Menu or via telephone on + 44 808 189 2336.​ 

Where can I find out more? 

The Canvas website includes lots of useful information for both colleagues and students. You can find FAQs, watch an Introduction Video and find out more about the benefits of our exciting new VLE. 

Passcode or Waiting Rooms Required for Zoom Meetings from 27 September 2020

From 27 September, Zoom will require that all meetings have a Passcode or a Waiting Room enabled. The update is designed to improve the security of your meetings.

What if I don’t have a Waiting Room or Passcode enabled by 27 September?
If neither is enabled, Zoom will automatically enable a Waiting Room for your meetings. If you already have a Passcode or Waiting Room enabled, nothing will change.

How do I enable Waiting Rooms or Passcodes?
You can log into your Zoom portal and go into settings to enable a Passcode or Waiting Room. 

Remember: If you decide to add Passcodes to an existing meeting, calendar invites will need to be resent to include the Passcode.

Find out more about the change and how it may affect you on our Zoom web pages or take a look at the article from ZOOM Support.

You can also find tips and advice to help keep your meetings and webinars secure on our Zoom advice pages.

20 updates for Microsoft Teams for Education

As learning continues to move online, Microsoft introduces a collection of new (and upcoming) features in Teams. Highlights include an expanded 7×7 gallery view, breakout rooms for small group collaboration and more analytics arriving in time for the next academic year.

Several new features will be of importance to educators and students:

  • Use a custom background for your video
  • 7×7 gallery view for group meetings
  • New Breakout Rooms to allow for smaller group discussion
  • Meeting attendees increased from 250 to 300
  • Meeting Lobby to prevent unwanted guests

The full list of features, with expected release dates, are detailed in the blog: 20 updates for Microsoft Teams for Education, including 7×7 video and Breakout Rooms

Teams 7x7 meeting view

It’s like being back on campus – University backgrounds for Teams chats

Marketing has provided a series of branded University backgrounds that you can use on your next Teams meeting.

You can download the backgrounds from the Teams Resources channel. Next time you select Background settings in a Teams meeting select +Add New and browse to the image you want to add.

NOTE: Images are mirrored ie. the University logo is reversed to you. This is CORRECT, it will appear the right way round for other meeting attendees.

You can also appear on the set of Only Fools and Horses. The BBC have released their archive of set photos as downloadable backgrounds. Enjoy!

Use a custom Newcastle University background in your Zoom meeting

You may have seen the creative backgrounds people are using on Zoom. They are great if you don’t want colleagues to see your choice of home decor (or the pile of ironing on the bed!). But how do you add a background to your Zoom chat? And what if you’re after something a little more professional?

Zoom’s virtual background feature allows you to display an image or video as your background during a meeting.  It’s simple to set up:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client (or install the Zoom Client to your PC)
  2. Click your profile picture then click Settings.
  3. Select Virtual Background.
  4. select ‘+’ to choose a virtual background and browse to an image

A selection of corporate backgrounds can be downloaded from the University Photo Library.

A detailed how-to guide can be found on the Zoom website. Please note, your computer or device must meet the minimum system requirements. How well it works can also depend on your physical environment (e.g. background and lighting).

If you have specific questions about Zoom or would like to learn more about its features, join our Zoom Community.

Newcastle bridges scene Zoom background