Windows Updates Breaks Remote Desktop Connections

Updates released the week of May 11, 2018 from Microsoft are keeping Windows users from connecting to servers that they can normally connect to. If you suddenly can't make a Remote Desktop (RDP) connection, go to Winsoft (\\software\winsoft; a.k.a. the "K:" drive) and double click on Fix_RDP. You should immediately be able to make your regular RDP connections; no reboot necessary.

The relevant Windows Updates are:

KB4103725 (Windows 8/10)
KB4103727 (Server 2016/2012)
KB4103718 (Windows 7)

Active Phishing Campaign Targeting Student Email Accounts

September 1, 2018

Federal Student Aid, an Office of the US Department of Education, has identified a malicious phishing campaign that may lead to potential fraud associated with student refunds and aid distributions. After gaining access to a student account, the attacker changes the student’s direct deposit destination to a bank account controlled by the attacker. As a result, Federal Student Aid refunds intended for the student are sent to the attacker.

Campus TV service change

June 25, 2018

In response to a student initiative, the college switched to Comcast’s Xfinity on Campus for its cable TV service starting July 1, 2018. This means that every TV on campus which receives its programming via a coax cable from the wall will no longer receive any programming.

Worm Infects Windows Computers Worldwide

According to news reports, tens of thousands of Windows computers throughout the world have fallen victim to a ransomware worm (a type of computer virus) that encrypts files and documents and then demands a payment for the decryption key.

How the worm spreads is not yet clear but you should be very careful about visiting new websites and opening emails.  If your Windows computer is up to date with the latest updates from Microsoft then you are safe from this worm.

Emails Sent from Amherst College Not Reaching Some Recipients

Because some Amherst College email accounts were recently phished and used to send spam, a number of email services are rejecting all emails sent from any Amherst College email address. If you get a bounce message after sending to an email address that you know is good, you've likely just bumped up against this problem.

Such blocks normally last about a week, and when IT becomes aware of such a block we try to resolve it immediately. Ultimately, however, the decision to lift such a block is out of our hands.

Amherst Login Page Enhancements

Starting on Thursday, May 31, the familiar, purple single sign-on (SSO) web page will look slightly different. The modification to the look and feel is an expected change and is not indicative of a phishing attempt. The change modernizes the single sign-on page to include the new visual identity for Amherst College, but the functionality of the page remains the same. Please contact us at, if you have any questions or concerns.

Desktop View

Recognition for Phishing Reports: Spring ‘18 iPad Winners!

Antonella Dominguez ‘18 and Megan Motyka each won an iPad for reporting phishing attacks directed at college email addresses last semester. You could win, too!

Whenever you detect a phishing attempt, or if an email seems strange, simply forward the message to for a chance to win a special prize.

More information:

Phishing Attack: You have a Faculty message from your Department

Scammers are using the message below or a variation in an attempt to steal your Amherst login credentials. Do not reply to the message. Most importantly, do not click the SIGN IN HERE link. 

If you have clicked the link and entered your Amherst username and password, try to change your Amherst password immediately. If you can't change your password, contact AskIT.