IT expands services, mops and patches up

As the semester waned to a close for graduation, IT professionals across campus and at UNT Discovery Park kept a very fast pace to offer new services, mop up after a flood in Chilton Hall and patch an internetwide attack on Drupal, UNT's web content management system. IT professionals shone, as usual.

UIT adds laptop checkout service, virtual statistics lab

Laptop Checkout Service Added

The University IT Help Desk now offers laptops for students to check out for short periods of time as another resource for learning, said Katrina Flachsbarth, computer lab supervisor, User IT Services. The new Sage Hall location for the UIT Adaptive and IT Learning Student Computer Lab in Room 330 required a reduction in the number of fixed computer stations that are available. UIT acquired 10 laptops for checkout based on the popular response that the UNT Libraries have seen for their laptop checkouts. Having the laptops available augments the total number of students that can be served by the UIT lab and provides students the freedom to use the computers outside the confines of the lab location. That even includes outside locations, since the UNT Wi-Fi extends the courtyard space between Sage, GAB, Sycamore, and the UNT Union.

More than 10 UNT computer labs now offer laptops that can be checked out for a limited time. Read more.

Virtual Statistics Lab Added

Access to traditional university licensed statistics, analytics, and modeling software is about as streamlined as can be, said Jacob Flores, system administrator for host computing user services, ITUS.

"Whether you find a physical computer lab with the software you need or go through the steps to obtain a home-use license where available, the process takes decent effort and possibly some literal legwork," Flores said. The new UIT Virtual Statistics Lab aims to make access to this software faster and easier. These applications are hosted on UNT servers and presented virtually to your on- or off-campus computer, meaning that you may use these full applications without the need to install them on your local computer. Read more.

Exam and Research Data Services staff begin summer hours

"To better meet the needs of our customers, the ERDS team will staff the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer terms," said JoAnn Luksich, manager, Exam and Research Data Services Office. "We plan to resume our extended hours, Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. in the fall." Read more.

IT staffers pitch in to help after the Chilton Hall water-pipe burst

When a chilled-water line broke in the early morning hours of April 20 in the attic of Chilton Hall, water flooded the departments of behavioral studies, social work, a conference room and more. Clean up and moisture extraction began immediately and information technology staff moved quickly to mitigate the losses, said Jackie Thames, senior IT support manager, IT Services, College of Health and Public Service.

Martin Coleman, Scott Solomon and Chu Chuah setting up computers.The flood waters impacted nine Chilton Hall departments, two technology classrooms, and the Student Computer Lab in Room 255. Two departments were closed for at least 30 days and faculty and staff had to be relocated. The technology classrooms, Student Computer Lab, and other departments re-opened April 30, Thames said.

"The water was rippling over my shoes when I walked into the computer lab around 8 a.m.," said John Mayfield, cross-functional IT support analyst and HPS web developer. "I walked into a small room near the lab; the servers were OK, but everything on the floor was getting wet. I picked up one of the computers and water poured out of it, so I put it back down and got out quick until the electricity could be turned off."

"Of the 38 faculty and staff desktop computers that were located in the flooded areas, eight were damaged beyond repair or recovery and 30 computers are being tested now. The computers, printers and equipment in the Student Computer Lab and our technology classrooms were not damaged. HPS IT Services staff members Martin Coleman, left, and Chu Chuah, right, assisted Scott Solomon of the Department of Behavior Analysis in the aftermath. The HPS IT Services staff set up a temporary triage area for all faculty and staff computers from the flood zone. Faculty and staff in behavior analysis and the Department of Criminal Justice were equipped for relocation and working remotely until they could return to their offices on the second and third floors of Chilton Hall," Thames said.

Chilton Hall computer lab with water on the floorInge Van Niekerk and Vocany Pitia, student assistants, HPS IT Services, top banner photo, worked temporarily at a makeshift technology desk in the Chilton Hall south atrium. Their usual workspace in the Chilton Hall Student Computer Lab, Room 255, was damaged by the flood.

"We were fortunate to have friends in other areas who called right away to help us with space and equipment. Scott Jackson and the library staff members, James Strawn in COS/CLASS Technology Services, and Ashley Olsberg in Classroom Support Services provided lab space, computers, laptops and printers for HPS displaced staff. We are very appreciative," she said.

A lesson learned is to back up your files, use the One Drive storage in the cloud, Mayfield said. Those who did lost only hardware.

UNT System ITSS douses Drupalgeddon, Drupalgeddon2

Remote code execution

When Drupal Security recently released information about Drupalgeddon 2.0, a second remote code execution Drupalgeddon 2.0 RCE (SA-CORE-2018-002/CVE-2018-7600) representing a significant vulnerabilty, UNT System IT Shared Services staffers got busy.

Drupal is an open source website content management system used throughout UNT. Website builders were asked to visit their site and confirm that it was functioning properly. The vulnerabilty potentially allowed attackers to exploit multiple versions of Drupal websites, which could result in the site being compromised. In the meantime, a team from ITSS implemented an emergency update to all UNT Drupal websites.

The tiger team from ITSS addressing the vulnerability included the following Drupal warriors.

Jeff Anderson, systems administrator
Rich Anderson, IT security manager
Mike Buras, systems administrator
Deborah Eyzaguirre, IT business relationship manager
Athanasios Galiopoulos, IT service performance director
Jason Gutierrez, systems administration manager
Kendra Ketchum, chief technology officer
Paula Mears, IT security analyst lead
Olaf Meyer, systems administrator
Michael O'Rourke, computer operations manager
Charlotte Russell, chief information security officer
Jerad Stewart, student assistant

In other Drupal news, Julian Quintero, senior web developer and programmer, URCM, taught a Drupal Basics class May 2 to introduce 15 new users to the widely used CMS. The next Drupal Clinic is scheduled for May 17, 10:30 a.m.–noon, in GAB, Room 550A. In the next training session Quintero will cover Drupal Views on June 6, 10 a.m.–noon, in Chilton Hall, Room 270. To enroll, read more on the Drupal Help Desk Calendar.


Editor's Note: Please note that information in each edition of Benchmarks Online is likely to change or degrade over time, especially the links to various websites. For current information on a specific topic, search the UNT website, UNT's UIT Help Desk or the world wide web. Email your questions and comments to the UNT University Information Technology Department or call 940-565-4068.