Washington and Lee University
Search the Information Technology Services Knowledge Base:
What is confidential data (security)? (link)

The University Confidentiality Policy covers "any personally-identifiable student and parent records, financial records (including social security and credit card numbers), and health records; contracts; research data; alumni and donor records; personnel records other than an individual's own personnel records; University financial data; computer passwords, University proprietary information/data; and any other information for which access, use, or disclosure is not authorized by: 1) federal, state, or local law; or 2) University policy or operations." If you have any questions, contact the ISP Coordinator or the Information Security Officer.

Score: 100.0 - Updated: 6/4/2012 1:24:45 PM - Was this helpful?
What is a firewall (security)? (link)

A firewall is an appliance or software package that can be configured to help protect computer resources from external threats. Most computer operating systems have one (Windows and Mac) as well as other products like McAfee and Symantec.

Score: 85.0 - Updated: 6/4/2012 2:13:48 PM - Was this helpful?
What is phishing (security)? (link)

Phishing is an attempt to steal personal information via email. Never respond to emails asking you to confirm your username and password, credit card number, bank account number, etc. See the ITS web page http://www.wlu.edu/x49702.xml#phish for more information. Report all phishing emails to Digitar by forwarding them to report_spam@spam.digitar.com  Students use a separate spam filtering too within their Outlook Live accounts; see details.

Score: 85.0 - Updated: 6/4/2012 1:17:11 PM - Was this helpful?
What is a virus (security)? (link)

A computer virus is a software program that can reproduce itself, and often causes damage to other programs or files.

Score: 85.0 - Updated: 6/4/2012 2:14:15 PM - Was this helpful?
What is a trojan (security)? (link)

A trojan or trojan horse is non-self-replicating software/malware that appears to be or do one thing, but actually does something different - usually allowing unauthorized use or access to your computer.

Score: 85.0 - Updated: 6/4/2012 1:19:26 PM - Was this helpful?
What is malware (security)? (link)

Malware is short for malicious software - software designed to infiltrate or damage your computer. Malware often arrives as a trojan and may also be spyware.

Score: 85.0 - Updated: 6/4/2012 1:21:26 PM - Was this helpful?
What is spyware (security)? (link)

Spyware (a form of malware) is generally software used to gather your personal information without your knowledge.

Score: 85.0 - Updated: 6/4/2012 1:26:54 PM - Was this helpful?
What is encryption (security)? (link)

Encryption refers to the conversion of data (e.g., plain text) to make it unreadable to anyone except to authorized people who have the appropriate encryption key. Encryption provides security and privacy, and can be in many forms and uses.


There is encryption software and hardware to encrypt data at rest (e.g., file/folder encryption) and data in motion (e.g., web traffic using SSL) or in any combination. It is very easy and cheap to encrypt files or a whole folder full of files, and both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems include encryption software.


Here are some good resources on encryption: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-encryption.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encryption If you have any questions, please enter a Help Request.

Score: 85.0 - Updated: 6/7/2012 3:07:32 PM - Was this helpful?
How can I tell if my computer has a virus (security)? (link)

There are many possible indications of a computer virus. Here is a helpful link from Microsoft to help determine if your computer has a virus.

Score: 80.0 - Updated: 6/4/2012 2:14:40 PM - Was this helpful?
Where can I find information about IT security? (link)

More information is available at the ITS Information Security SharePoint site; the University Information Security Program (ISP) site; as well as the ITS site.

Score: 80.0 - Updated: 8/8/2013 1:53:38 PM - Was this helpful?
How can I tell if an email is a hoax (security)? (link)

You can search at http://www.snopes.com/  Snope.com or http://www.hoax-slayer.com/ Hoax-Slayer.com. 

W&L will never ask you to click a link in an email to verify/update/confirm/etc your account.

If you are still unsure, please contact the help desk at 458-HELP (4357).

Score: 80.0 - Updated: 7/15/2013 3:53:36 PM - Was this helpful?
How do I encrypt a file (security)? (link)

Encryption refers to the conversion of data (e.g., plain text) to make it unreadable to anyone except to authorized people who have the appropriate encryption key.  

Please read the instructions carefully, and make sure you have a backup and recovery plan! 

Here are some Windows encryption resources:




Here are some Mac OS X encryption resources:





There are also many other software and hardware choices for encyption.


If you have any questions, please enter a Help Request.




Score: 80.0 - Updated: 6/7/2012 3:07:24 PM - Was this helpful?
How can I avoid identity theft (security)? (link)

This resource from the Federal Trade commission explains identity theft, and what to do if your identity is stolen.

Score: 77.5 - Updated: 6/4/2012 1:26:20 PM - Was this helpful?
How can I tell if an email is a phishing scam (security)? (link)

Look at examples of e-mail received by W&L community members, and see if you can tell the difference between legitimate e-mail and "phishing" attempts in this interactive quiz: http://www.wlu.edu/x31191.xml


Phishing is the fraudulent use of e-mail to extract confidential information. Often such messages appear to come from legitimate sources such as your bank, or W&L, and ask for information such as account information and passwords. Information Technology Services will never ask you to divulge your W&L password.


Beware of any e-mail purporting to be from Information Technology Services asking for your W&L password. Any such e-mail is “phishing”: an attempt to steal personal information. ITS staff will never ask you for your password, via email, phone, or any other means. Remember, your password is your secret.


Never respond to e-mails asking for your W&L password or other personal information, such as bank account or social security numbers. Instead, please follow the procedures to report it to our spam filtering vendor, and then delete the email.


Please protect yourself:


    * If you disclosed your W&L password in response to a phishing email, change your password immediately at http://password.wlu.edu

    * Never disclose your password to anyone.

* Your W&L password should not be used for any service outside the University.

Score: 77.5 - Updated: 7/15/2013 3:55:46 PM - Was this helpful?
What is the Information Security Program (ISP) at W&L? (link)

The ISP and the ISP Committee were organized at the direction of the Provost in 2003 to comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and to implement the “Safeguards Rule” issued by the Federal Trade Commission. The ISP Committee is chaired by the ISP Coordinator and the Committee has responsibility, in advising the Provost, for the ISP. The original program scope was intentionally broader than necessary for simple legal compliance, and requires all departments to have written procedures documenting the safeguards used to protect the University’s information assets.

Score: 76.0 - Updated: 6/4/2012 1:24:10 PM - Was this helpful?
Is email secure? (link)

It all depends on what you’re trying to protect against. So, the simplest answer is 'no'! Email is not secure, unless you have taken extra steps to encrypt the message or the attachments (or both). Therefore, do not put confidential information (i.e., SSN, credit card number, etc.) in any email, unless you know it is encrypted. Briefly, access to your email account is secured by your username and password, so make sure you have a strong password. Email can be secured from network “snooping” by accessing it from a web page using Secure Socket Layers (SSL) – indicated by the “S” in HTTPS. If you access your email from your phone, then security depends on that device. These are just some of the variables/examples, and for more information please contact the Information Security Officer.

Score: 70.0 - Updated: 7/15/2013 3:50:44 PM - Was this helpful?
Why do I get the message "Outlook is trying to retrieve data . . ." (link)


Occasionally Outlook will freeze and a message will pop up stating "Outlook is trying to retrieve data from the Microsoft Exchange server MEXMBA.ad.wlu.edu."


This is most often caused by there being an overly large number of items in the folder of which Outlook is attempting to display the contents. Outlook must perform several operations against the Exchange server to retrieve the contents of a folder. Therefore, when there are many items in a folder, additional processing is required to respond to the Outlook requests.


You can help avoid poor performance in Outlook by carefully managing the number of items in folders, especially the Outlook folders that are heavily used (such as the Inbox, Calendar, Tasks, and Sent Items folders).

For the best performance of Outlook, we recommend that you not exceed 5,000 items in any one folder.

Additional Information:

Operations that depend on the number of items in the folder include adding a new column to the view, sorting on a new column, finds and searches. Additionally, the complexity of the requested action will have an impact. For example, marking all items in a folder as Read will take much longer than marking one item. Other actions that may take a long time include retrieving free-busy information for lots of users on a meeting request, or performing a search across multiple folders. If you are frequently performing complex actions, or have high use of the Contacts and Calendar folders, the probability that you will experience decreased performance because of high item counts is greatly increased.

Applies To: Faculty, Staff

Score: 7.5 - Updated: 7/12/2013 11:06:44 AM - Was this helpful?
How do I request a data recovery from backup? (link)

Please complete a helpdesk ticket with the following information:

1. Data path where the folder/file is located. (ex. SERVERname:\FOLDERname\FILEname)

2. Last known date that the folder/file was good.

3. Location of where the data is to be restored to. (usually the original location, or a folder called restore in the same location).

Note: Restore requests are handled in a timely manner, but can take up to 3 days to complete if offsite backup tapes are required.


Score: 6.0 - Updated: 6/4/2012 2:13:14 PM - Was this helpful?
How do I re-use content (merge data) from a previous course in Sakai? (link)
  1. In the destination site, click on Site Info.
  2. Click Import from Site.
  3. Click I would like to merge my data
  4. Check the box next to the course that has the content you want to copy.
  5. Click Continue.
  6. Choose the appropriate content area (Announcements, Assignments, Resources)
  7. Click Finish

All of the content from that particular area will now reside in the destination site. Note that in order to import content into a particular area, that area must be added as a tool into the destination site. For example, if you'd like to import a quiz into the destination site, the Tests & Quizzes tool must be added to the destination site for it to appear.

Applies To: Faculty

Score: 5.0 - Updated: 5/4/2010 11:43:30 AM - Was this helpful?
I copied data from Excel into Word and it wants to update the link, what do I do? (link)

First select the entire document by clicking Control A.

Then click Control/Shift/F9 and it will remove all links.

Save the document.

Score: 5.0 - Updated: 8/3/2012 12:50:57 PM - Was this helpful?
How do I get Microsoft Security Essentials for my Windows 7 operating system? (link)

You can download Microsoft Security Essentials at the following site: 


Please uninstall any other antivirus software you might have before installing.

Score: 4.3 - Updated: 10/1/2010 2:29:31 PM - Was this helpful?
How do I retrieve data from a Poll Everywhere polling session after I've cleared it? (link)

Please view the document on how to retrieve data from a Poll Everywhere polling session after you’ve cleared it. If you have two sections of the same course, you would run the poll for the first section. You would clear the data after you run the poll for the first section, and then run the poll for the second section. If you want to get back to the data from the first section, this is how you would do it.

Score: 3.8 - Updated: 1/2/2012 12:57:19 PM - Was this helpful?
What information do you have about International Voice and Data cell phone programs? (link)
( Restricted to authenticated users. Log In to view this answer. )

Applies To: Faculty, Staff

Score: 3.3 - Updated: 10/4/2010 9:40:35 AM - Was this helpful?
How do I save data files on a "frozen" classroom PC or laptop from the ITS laptop pool? (link)

Classroom PCs and ITS laptops are referred to as "frozen" since data you save to the C:\ drive will be deleted when the computer is rebooted.  

These computers have a T:\ drive where data can be saved and not overwritten during a reboot.  The T:\ drive is limited to a maximum size of 2GB.  This drive is labeled "SAVE LOCAL DATA HERE".

You may also use a memory stick connected to the USB port on the computer to save your data.

See image below for graphic details:


Score: 2.7 - Updated: 3/8/2010 3:19:06 PM - Was this helpful?
Excel formatting of phone/social security columns does not merge to Word - is there a fix? (link)

Word 2007 and Word 2010

  1. Start Word, and then open a new blank document.
  2. Go to Word Options
    • In Word 2007, click the Office Button, and then click Word Options.
    • In Word 2010, click File, and then click Options.
  3. On the Advanced tab, go to the General section.
  4. Click to select the Confirm file format conversion on open check box, and then click OK.
  5. On the Mailings tab, click Start Mail Merge, and then select Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard.
  6. In the Mail Merge task pane, select the type of document that you want to work on, and then click Next.
  7. Under Select starting document, select the starting document that you want to use, and then click Next.
  8. Under Select recipients, click Use an existing list, and then click Browse.
  9. In the Select Data Source dialog box, locate the folder that contains the Excel workbook that you want to use as your data source, select the workbook, and then click Open.
  10. In the Confirm Data Source dialog box, click to select the Show all check box. Click MS Excel Worksheets via DDE (*.xls), and then click OK.
  11. In the Microsoft Excel dialog box, under Named or cell range, select the cell range or worksheet that contains the data that you want to use, and then click OK.
    NOTE: Your data now appears in the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box with the same formatting that appears in the Excel worksheet.
Score: 2.7 - Updated: 7/28/2011 3:12:21 PM - Was this helpful?
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