University Information Technology News

UIT provides technology excellence to our students, faculty and staff.

COVID-19 Special Edition

April 9, 2020

Zoom-Bombing and Phishing Emails

The amount of news coverage and impact surrounding the coronavirus has continued to create an opportunity for cybercriminals to take advantage of individuals in the form of phishing attacks, email scams, and hijacking video conferences.

Looking to exploit the public’s fears, as well as the exponential increase in remote work, cybercriminals are sending email messages claiming to be from legitimate organizations with information about the COVID-19 and pending government stimulus checks. Additionally, Zoom phishing emails and Zoom-bombing of video conferences have increased significantly over the last month.

We ask all UND email and on-line application users to maintain awareness and vigilance.

Phishing Email Awareness

  1. Phishing messages will utilize tactics with a COVID-19 spin to them. Here are some things to be on the lookout for:
  2. An email asking you to open an attachment claiming to “provide the latest statistics on the virus”
  3. Encouraging you to click a link that will provide helpful information on “staying clear of the virus”
  4. Asking you to provide personal information to “see if your area is being affected by the virus”
  5. An email asking for information to receive government stimulus checks

If you suspect you received a phishing email, delete it.  Additionally, you can report suspected phishing emails via the PhishNotify button on your Office 365/Outlook email.

Zoom Video Conferencing Awareness

Across higher education, there is an increase in Zoom related phishing emails and Zoom-bombing incidents. Zoom-bombing is where Zoom video conferences used for online lessons and business meetings are hijacked and disrupted.  Zoom phishing emails may come in the form of a Zoom meeting request from an official-looking, branded, and registered Zoom domain.  They may include links such as zoom-us-zoom_##########.exe which likely contains malware.  Some best practices to apply when using Zoom include:

  1. When utilizing Zoom for official UND business utilize domain
  2. Utilize private meeting rooms
  3. Do not share Zoom conference links on public social media
  4. Manage screen-sharing options (such as screen sharing to “Host Only”)
  5. When accepting a Zoom meeting request, verify it is from a known person and Zoom domain

More information is located on the UIT Working Remotely webpage.

Zoom Security Settings for Faculty/Staff

On Monday, April 6, additional security measures in Zoom were enabled to prevent uninvited guests from hijacking your meeting. The new security settings were applied to all classrooms, meetings, and webinars created after April 6 and will not affect previously created sessions. Please review the Zoom Security Best Practices to learn which settings may best meet your needs.

The following security settings were enabled on Monday, April 6 for UND’s instance of Zoom (

  • Require Meeting Password – A meeting password is required by default for all Zoom sessions (including personal meeting IDs and phone participants).  A password is automatically generated or a unique password can be created. This password is automatically appended to the Zoom URL or can be shared with participants in another secure manner.
  • Enable Waiting Room for Guests – Only those with UND Zoom accounts will be able to access the Zoom session by default.  All guests (non-UND participants) or those who are not signed in with a UND Zoom account will go into a waiting room and must be admitted into the session by the host or other internal participant. Make sure you and your students/colleagues are all using a UND Zoom account.

Providing Tech Support Remotely

A lot of logistics go into the planning for thousands of employees to work remotely and UIT has been working so hard to plan and provide support…all from afar. The UIT staff has transitioned to working remotely except a few who are working onsite to attend to services that cannot be provided remotely. Our Tech Support number is routed to several different phone numbers to be sure your call gets answered in a timely manner. On the first day of working remotely, we had 175 tickets come in (a 150% increase from previous days) and 89% of those were resolved within the day! The average resolution time is about 60%. We were able to provide above and beyond services with all hands on deck for support calls.

If you are looking for Tech Support, we want to be there to help support you so just give us a call at 701.777.2222 or submit a support ticket and we will do our best to get you situated in the least amount of time as possible. We are unable to go to people’s homes to provide support, but if you need to come into the office for some reason, please give us a call to set up an appointment. All of the equipment is sanitized and we are doing our best to eliminate as much human contact as possible.

We are here to help you with all your tech needs, just give us a call or submit a support ticket!

Preparing for the Pandemic

In order to be prepared for the UND staff working remotely, UIT had to make sure we had enough equipment available and were communicating with the community to help them be as successful as possible.

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): Having to work on the UND network is essential for some departments and in order to make sure everyone had the access needed, we increased the VPN concurrent users from 300 to 1,750.
  • Equipment ordered: To make sure we had the equipment needed we had ordered 50 laptops to be loaned out, we worked with colleges to procure laptops, webcams, headsets, etc. and ordered 10 MIFI’s to loan for students and faculty. Computer lab equipment was also repurposed to help fill the need.
  • Software Solutions: We worked with vendors to allow our students to access software remotely without paying for licenses. We were also able to move software that was only available in the classrooms to an online environment.
  • Communication: One of our top priorities is to make sure our community knows what is going on and what to expect from UIT during this time. To do that, we have created a working remotely webpage to keep you updated.

Working Remotely

Working remotely can be a major adjustment and UIT has tried to make the transition as easy as possible. We want to reiterate some tips to make working remotely a little less stressful.
Find out more about working remotely on the UIT webpage.

Securely Working Remotely

Right now, more than ever, it is critical to be vigilant about online security. Due to COVID-19, the cybersecurity threats have reached new levels and UIT wants to keep you safe online while you’re working remotely off of the UND network. We have created a helpful Securely Working Remotely infographic to give you tips on how to protect yourself.
Find out more about securely working remotely on the UIT webpage 

Follow Us on Twitter

We are revamping our Tech Support Twitter account to keep you updated on today’s tech news! Follow us for up-to-date information on a variety of UIT news!
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