News and Information

Tax-related Identity Theft on the Rise

April 18th, 2015 by Jo-Ann

As you have probably seen on the news, identity theft is on the rise, and PSU’s HR and ITS offices have recently been made aware that a very small number of the PSU community members have become victims of tax-related identity theft.  “Tax-related identity theft is when someone uses your Social Security number to file a false tax return claiming a fraudulent refund” (irs.gov). What we are seeing at PSU is not an isolated incident, but sadly, represents a significant national uptick. According to the IRS, the number of fraudulent return filings has been growing over the last few years. The General Accounting Office now reports that over 5 million fraudulent returns were submitted for tax year 2013, and 2.9 million of these were tax-related identity theft. Of the 122 million taxpayers in that year, 2.9 million represents 2.3% of the population. They expect the number for tax year 2014 will be far higher. PSU has been making an examination of our own systems, we have been working with the Information Security Office at USNH, and we have contacted cyber-security experts with the Office of Homeland Security. At this time, we have no indications that any PSU or USNH system was breached.

Knowing that you are not alone in this is of little comfort after it has occurred.

What should I do to prevent this?

We have reached out to the Department of Homeland Security and looked at IRS publications and have identified the following preventative actions you can take:

·       Submit your tax return early

·       Be careful of email messages claiming to be from the IRS or from a tax preparer (TurboTax, H&R Block, etc..) as they might be phishing

·       Protect your computers by using firewalls, anti-virus software, update security patches and change passwords for any internet account on a regular basis.

·       Visit the IRS site for more information  (http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Identity-Protection)

What if I have already fallen victim to Tax-related Identity theft?

·       File a police report with your local police department.

·       Follow the instructions provided in the IRS notice.

Refer to the IRS publication for  further actions (http://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft)

MyPlymouth and related services will be unavailable on Sunday, March 15, 2015.

March 11th, 2015 by Jo-Ann

This Sunday March 15th, Information Technology Services will be doing maintenance on several of the databases that host our PSU Banner Services.  The work is scheduled to occur during the weekly maintenance window, and is planned to be complete by 8am.

myPlymouth and its related services will be unavailable to all users beginning at 4 am. This includes the web applications that are accessed via myPlymouth such as the myCourses tab (Moodle & Mahara), and the Services tab (Student Banner, Banner INB, Course search).

At anytime during the upgrade, PSU myMail may be accessed by typing:  https://mail.plymouth.edu in the address bar and then logging in with PSU credentials.

We appreciate your patience as we work to improve our campus technology services.  We know that there is never a good time to take down these critical services.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Helpdesk for assistance.

ITS Courtesy Notice regarding Lenovo computers

February 23rd, 2015 by Jo-Ann

PSU ITS has recently learned that a security vulnerability exists in Lenovo branded computers shipped between September 2014 and February 2015, called “Superfish”, which is an adware tool that was installed by Lenovo.   This tool makes it extremely easy for secure web transactions (for sites like banks, credit card companies, stores, etc.) to be hijacked and can possibly lead to your information being captured.

While PSU does not purchase Lenovo computers for use on campus, we recognize that many people purchase these for their own personal use.   IF you have a recently purchased Lenovo branded computer please take the precaution of visiting the link below to determine if this vulnerability impacts you:

http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Lenovo-P-Y-and-Z-series/Removal-Instructions-for-VisualDiscovery-Superfish-application/ta-p/2029206

If you would like assistance removing the “Superfish” application from your personal laptop, please visit the ITS Help Desk on the main level in Lamson Library and Learning Commons.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Help Desk.

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System Status

All ITS systems Operational

July 7th, 2014 by Jo-Ann

All ITS systems are operational. If you have any questions, please contact the Help Desk at helpdesk@plymouth.edu or (603) 535-2929.