Information Technology

Website Forms to Include Challenge-Response Mechanism Starting in March

In an effort to protect the integrity of publicly viewable web forms on the college website, all web forms will include a challenge-response field known as “CAPTCHA", starting in early March. The CAPTCHA will only be present to users who are not logged into the college website.

Support for Java Applets in Campus Workstations

We have received reports from several students to inform us that some websites required for assignments are not loading properly on campus workstations. Some of these websites require the use of Java, which over the past few years has become very restrictive in terms of security. In order for the websites to work properly, we will need to add an exception to the Java security settings so the websites faculty assign work across computing devices on campus.

Phishing/Spam/Email Fraud Alert: {SPAM?} Update your Amherst College Account

Many people at Amherst have received a phishing or fraudulent email designed to have you provide your Amherst log on credentials.  Reminder - never share your Amherst user name and password with anyone.

The phishing email has the subject line:
{SPAM?} Update your Amherst College Account

We placed a sample of this email on our list of known phishing attacks:

Amherst VPN Upgrade

On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, the IT department upgraded the following VPN services: VPN Student, VPN Connect (faculty and staff), and VPN Firewall. If you use one of these services you will need to take action in order to take advantage of the upgrade.

Plan for Upgrade to OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) for College-Owned Computers

Apple released its latest computer operating system, OS X version 10.10, also known as Yosemite, in October 2014. We have been monitoring software compatibility very closely to determine when such deployment for college-owned computers would cause the least impact. We will begin offering Yosemite for office and mobile computers in May 2015, after the end of the academic year.

NBC HD to Replace ABC HD on Ch 63.2 from Friday to Monday

In order to accommodate NBC HD on Ch 63.2 for the viewing of Super Bowl through our Cable TV provider, ABC HD will be unavailable Friday morning to Monday morning. ABC SD, Ch 5, will continue to be available. Please modify scheduled recordings you may have from ABC HD to ABC SD from Friday morning to Monday morning. You may contact us at, if you have any questions or concerns.

Watch out for IRS Phone Fraud Scam!

Please be careful if you receive a phone call or voice mail message purporting to be from the IRS about pursuing legal action. There are also variations of this scam involving parking tickets, real estate taxes, and foreclosures. This is a widespread phone fraud operation ongoing since at least March 2014. People have reported to the IT Help Desk that they have received these fraudulent phone calls at their home, cellular and campus phone numbers.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do:

Crypto Malware Continues to be a Computer Security Threat

UMass Amherst, Smith and Mt. Holyoke are reporting incidents of Windows computers infected with  malware that encrypts the hard drive and asks for payment of a ransom before a deadline. There are many variants of this malware generally known as "crypto malware" or "crypto ransomware". CryptoLocker is one variant of it that has been in the news and new variants continue to appear.

New Mac Operating System OS X 10.10 Yosemite Upgrade Information

Apple released a new Mac computer operating system yesterday, known as Yosemite or OS X version 10.10. Yosemite may not be fully compatible with some software applications used for academic purposes at Amherst College. We recommend that faculty and staff do not install Yosemite on their notebooks or office workstations at this time. We prefer not to deploy such major upgrades during the academic year, to prevent a disruption of current projects and academic plans for students and faculty.

TechTalks - John Sileo to Speak on Defending Digital Devices

UMass TechTalk
John Sileo on Defending Your Digital Devices

A fun, non-technical learning experience on your personal information and identity safety delivered by a leading speaker and expert on identity theft and online privacy.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Student Union Ballroom UMass Amherst

Register for this Event

This event is free and open to all. Registration required.