Safe Travel is Smart Travel: Cyber Vigilance

As flights and hotel bookings surge past pre-pandemic levels, travelers should prepare for a busy holiday season. Crowded airports can be an early holiday gift for identity thieves. Don’t let the chaos of the airport allow you to let your guard down. Gators, remember while traveling over the break period to:

Avoid public Wi-Fi. If you must use free Wi-Fi in airports, cafes, or in hotels, use a VPN to connect. Also, double-check the network’s name (SSID) before connecting. You could unknowingly connect to a spoofed network or someone else’s hotspot, which means what you type could be seen and copied by others.

Beware of vacation rental scams. While perusing Airbnb or Craigslist for a rental, be alert to an offer that’s too good to pass up. Before booking an accommodation online, research the address, owner’s name, and if the property reviews go back more than a few weeks. Check for multiple ways to contact the owner.

Disable auto-connect features. Most phones enable automatic connections for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and location services. These features allow others to track your location or send malicious files to your device. Keep these settings disabled when you are not using them!

Visit for more cyber tips for travelers.

Campus Physical Security Enhanced by UFIT

In addition to the security of UF systems and data, UFIT also works with campus physical security leaders to help keep campus safe for students, employees, and visitors.

UFIT’s Data Center Operations and Logistics Manager John Toner was recently recognized by the UF Police Department (UFPD) for his efforts to improve the security of the university’s East Campus. The project, led by UFPD, included determining where additional lights were needed, fixing gates, and removing debris. With his extensive knowledge of East Campus activities, John’s expertise expedited the project.

Another recent security enhancement utilizing UFIT expertise are the additional phones installed along fraternity row. This project, requested by UF Student Government, was undertaken with the Division of Business Affairs. Led by UFIT Project Manager Rob Snively, the work consisted of upgrading the telecomm system, including mass notification speakers that broadcast emergency messages, and installation of security camera mounts. More information about this project is available on the Business Affairs news website.

How To Shop Securely During Black Friday & Cyber Monday

‘Tis the season for online shopping. Unfortunately, it’s also the season for holiday scams. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals right around the corner, it’s important to know what to look for when shopping for the perfect gift. Here are some tips so you don’t get Scrooged:

Pay with a secure method. Using a credit card provides extra protection for online purchases. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), credit card holders are allowed to dispute fraudulent charges, whereas with a debit card, the money comes directly out of a checking account. Remember to check your bank statements regularly for any unauthorized payments.

Research the seller. Before checking out, verify that the business is legitimate. Search the company’s name online, plus “scam,” to read what others are saying. If you’re unsure, check with the state attorney general or the local consumer protection agency to see if there are any filed complaints.

Don’t fall for fake ads. Fake advertisements lurk on legitimate platforms, including email, social media, and search engines. Think twice before clicking on ads. Go directly to the business’s website to verify that the offer is real.

For more cybersecurity tips, visit

The Cost of Phishing: Money, Time, Personal Files

“I should have recognized the red flags. I thought it was easy to avoid phishing emails, but I was wrong. I should have taken the email more seriously, and I had to try to get my account back and missed a test. Thankfully, that’s the only thing I missed.”

When it comes to phishing, it’s possible to lose everything in one click, but you’ll never understand the consequences until it happens to you. In UFIT’s video, three students share real stories from victims of cybercrime.

These examples show what could happen after falling for a phish, from locking you out of your computer to rerouting financial aid money to a cybercriminal’s bank account. But the impacts aren’t limited to one person. One incident is all it takes to shut down UF systems or expose student records, research data, and patient information. With so much at stake, it’s important for everyone at UF to remain skeptical of what arrives in their inbox.

The UF Information Security Office has more information about phishing on its website. You can also participate in the Secure the Swamp! online scavenger hunt from October 25-29 to sharpen your cybersecurity skills.

Prioritizing Usability in Teaching

UFIT’s Teaching TechXploration is back for its third year. This year’s event features presentations and hands-on workshops to help instructors find technology solutions to teaching challenges. In support of
Word Usability Day on November 11, the theme is usability and accessibility for all students.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
2:00 ꟷ 5:00 p.m.
Virtual Event via Microsoft Teams
Registration Link

All instructors, TAs, graduate assistants, and instructional designers are invited to attend. After registering, participants will be added to the event’s Teams page where they can select which presentations or workshops to attend. Topics include designing usable Canvas courses, navigating classroom equipment with confidence, setting up learning analytics, improving student engagement with classroom response systems, and creating interactive course videos. Anyone with questions about TechXploration is welcome to contact UFIT Associate Director Ryan Yang.

Secure the Swamp Online Scavenger Hunt

October 2021 marks the 18th year of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. With the increasing threat of cyberattacks to universities around the world, information security is more timely than ever. UF participates in the initiative every year to empower students, faculty, and staff to own their role in protecting themselves and the university.

This year’s campaign is centered on a “Secure the Swamp!” online scavenger hunt. Each week in October, UFIT will share tips on social media focusing on three themes: phishing, securing your remote work environment, and mobile device security. Students and employees can then test their cybersecurity knowledge by answering four questions on these topics. The hunt begins on Monday, October 25, at 8 a.m. and ends Friday, October 29, at 5 p.m. Participants will have the opportunity to win an exclusive “Secure the Swamp!” T-shirt.

Remember, the UF Information Security Office can’t protect UF by itself. It’s our shared responsibility to keep the university’s data and systems secure. Visit to participate in the scavenger hunt and find more resources. Also, follow UFIT on Twitter (@GoGatorsUFIT), Facebook (@GoGators.UFIT), Instagram (@gogators_ufit), and YouTube (/GoGatorsUFIT) for some clues!

Empowering Women in HPC and AI

Even as artificial intelligence (AI) and high performance computing (HPC) jobs grow, the gender imbalance remains strong. According to a 2020 World Economic Forum report, women fill only 26% of AI positions. To strengthen the engagement of women involved in AI and supercomputing, UF recently launched its chapter of Women in HPC. The WHPC chapter will offer educational opportunities, networking, and foster community across disciplines for female faculty, staff, and students.

To celebrate the chapter launch, UFIT is hosting the first Women in HPC and AI panel on Tuesday, Oct. 5, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. The virtual panel features four distinguished faculty and a senior Medical AI member of NVIDIA:

Alina Zare, Professor, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
Jasmine McNealy, Associate Professor, College of Journalism and Communications
Ragnhildur Bjarnadottir, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing
Tina Tallon, Assistant Professor, College of the Arts
Mona Flores, Global Head of Medical AI, NVIDIA

Panelists will discuss their experiences in the field and share career advice. Participants can ask questions during the Q&A session following the panel discussion. This event is free, but registration is required. Everyone in UF’s community is welcome to attend. To become a member of the UF WHPC chapter, please complete the form on the WHPC website and select “University of Florida” on the chapter list.

Ten IT Services for Undergrads

There’s a lot to learn during your first semester, from where classes are to managing e-Learning assignments. Technology enables living and learning at UF, and UFIT is here to support your academic journey. While you’ll discover more over the next few years, here are 10 IT services to discover now to help maximize your UF experience.

Anyone with questions about these services may contact the UF Computing Help Desk (352-392-HELP/4357,, and HUB first floor).

1. UF Computing Help Desk: Speaking of getting help from the Help Desk, the staff have you covered for all things technical at UF. There are self-help resources on their website and have 24/7 assistance for things like password resets.
2. Canvas: UF’s e-Learning platform where you access quizzes, assignments, and more.
3. ONE.UF: The campus portal to register for classes, viewing and ordering transcripts, and resources like phishing training.
4. GatorMail: UF’s official email service for contacting instructors, administrative staff, and fellow students.
5. Eduroam: A secure wireless network for on- and off-campus connectivity. Protect yourself and UF, Gators! Stay on secure wireless.
6. Discounted Software: Learn what software packages Gators can purchase at a discount.
7. UFApps: A collection of more than 190 applications available 24/7 FREE for students.
8. GatorCloud: UF’s cloud-based collaboration with high volume storage options.
9. LinkedIn Learning: UFIT underwrites the cost of membership for Gators to access 15,000+ courses for FREE.
10. Mobile Printing: Learn how to print on the go from over 50 campus locations.

Tips for Multi-Factor Authentication Efficiency

Since UF adopted multi-factor authentication (MFA), the number of compromised GatorLink accounts has decreased by 99.7%. Using the multi-factor authentication app provides additional protection to the university’s systems and services. This means your personal information as well as your research files, proposals, and all university data, is better secured.

Tips to enhance your MFA experience:

1. Add a second device to your MFA account, in case your primary device is lost or stolen. UFIT created a short video explaining how to add a device.
2. Use a passcode to authenticate even without an internet connection or cell service. Open the Duo app, then tap the University of Florida drop-down tab on the home screen. Type in the six-digit code provided when logging into UF services.
3. Check the “Remember Me” option to not be prompted to authenticate for 10 hours, as long as you’re using the same browser on the same device.

Visit or contact the UF Computing Help Desk (, 352-392-HELP/4357, 132 Hub) for assistance using multi-factor authentication.

Free Self-Paced Statistical Software Training

Two FREE, fully online trainings on statistics software will be offered during the fall term. Faculty, staff, postdocs, TAs, and graduate students can learn how to perform statistical analyses on research data while earning a certificate in SPSS and SamplePower 3 or the R programming language. In these self-paced trainings, participants will use the software through practical application and hands-on exercises. The training series introduces data analysis and visualization features that can help further research. Pre-registration is required. Use the links below to view the course flyer and to register:

SPSS and SamplePower 3
Aug. 23 – Oct. 7, 2021 | Register

R Programming Training: An Introduction for Data Analysis and Graphics
Oct. 4 – Dec. 3, 2021 | Register

Anyone with questions about either training may email the instructor, Senior IT Training Specialist Jose Silva-Lugo.