Do You Use BitTorrent? Ransomware for OS X Found in BitTorrent Client Installer

A BitTorrent client installer for Mac OS X has been infected with ransomware. The specific software affected is the open source project known as "Transmission," which is used to download files using the BitTorrent protocol. The ransomware is named "KeRanger," and it encrypts files on the host computer before requesting $400.00 to unlock affected files. If you use Transmission on Mac OS X, the safest thing to do is to drag the application from the Applications folder to the Trash, empty the Trash, and restart the computer.

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Windows computer users - problems with Office 2013 (Outlook, Word, and Excel)?

A recent Microsoft update KB3114717 is causing Microsoft Office 2013 versions of Word , Excel and Outlook to freeze or run slowly for Windows computer users. Microsoft has now pulled this update so your computer may not have received it.

If you have Office 2013 and are experiencing problems such as significant slowness or unresponsiveness using Word, Excel and/or Outlook, the fix for now is to uninstall the update. You can safely remove the update.

Instructions to check for and as needed remove the update:

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Don't Fall Prey to Phishing Attempts: January 27 and 28, 2016

Most of the campus has received the following email, purportedly sent from an Amherst account. The message is a phishing attempt and should be ignored.

Dear email user,

Your Email account has exceeded
its limit and needs to be verified, if not verified
within 24 hours, we shall suspend your account.
Click the link below to verify your email account now

Click here to update

Thank you.

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Phishing Email Arrived Over the Weekend

Several students, faculty, and staff have received the message below, or a similar message, over the weekend. Please make sure to not visit the link provided in the message and to delete the message, if you receive it. If you visited the link and you signed in using your Amherst College credentials, please reset your password by visiting

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Where to Find Senior Faculty Course Evaluations

Students should log onto their My Amherst pages. There, you will find a widget named Course Evaluations that contains links to the evaluations for your courses that are taught by senior faculty members.

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"Emergency Notification" is a Phishing Attack

If you receive an email entitled "Emergency Notification" with a PDF attachment of the same name, simply delete the message. It is a phishing attack. 


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CRITICAL: Phishing email attempts to steal your Amherst account

November 24, 2015 - 12:15pm
Several campus members have received an email that appears to come from Human Resources. The email informs the recipient of salary changes starting this month, and directs the recipient to a link that supposedly hosts accompanying documents. The site looks like AC Data, and it would be easy to overlook the incorrect web address at the top of the browser.
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Microsoft Has Fixed the Windows 7 Update that Crashes Outlook

Yesterday, Microsoft released a security update to Windows 7 that had the unfortunate side effect of  crashing Microsoft Outlook. Last night Microsoft reissued the faulty Windows update (KB3097877). Our testing has confirmed that the new update overwrites the faulty one and fixes the Outlook problem.

Whether or not Outlook is crashing on your computer, you should run Windows update manually until you have no further important updates left to install. How to update Windows 7 manually and keep it up to date automatically.


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Action Required: Update Your Wireless Network Security, July 10, 2018

If you use the wireless networks “Amherst_Secure” or “eduroam,” you will need to verify a certificate when you connect to these wireless networks on July 10. You will not be able to connect to these wireless networks until you verify the new certificate. The current certificate that allows for secure authentication to these wireless networks will expire later this month. When the new certificate is in place on July 10, your computing device (phone, tablet, or laptop) will request verification from you to accept the new certificate.

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We review our licenses every year and make adjustments to match the verified use across campus. One of the licenses due for renewal is, which is a service that offers educational video courses in software, creative, and business skills. At this time, we are adjusting the agreement with to align with the usage on our campus. Moving forward, we will provide access to on a per-seat basis.

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Don’t let Apple’s “El Capitan” endanger your files on Sep 30

Apple plans to release its latest version of OS X, El Capitan, on September 30. We currently support the OS X version known as Yosemite and plan to support El Capitan by June 2016, after the end of the academic year. Last year, faculty and staff members were unable to log into their computers or encountered data loss after upgrading to Yosemite. To avoid such issues, please decline any request from Apple to upgrade to El Capitan. If this affects your teaching and research negatively, please contact us by writing to

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Apple iOS 9 to be released on Wednesday, September 16th

Apple plans to release the latest version of their OS for iPads and iPhones, iOS 9, on Wednesday. We have tested iOS 9 with our major systems for compatibility and have found no issues at this time. Apple generally releases follow-up updates soon after a major version upgrade and you may prefer to install the upgrade to iOS 9 once Apple releases their first update to the new OS. If you prefer to do so, you can decline the alert to upgrade to iOS 9 when it first becomes available.

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Your Windows Computer May be at Risk: Microsoft Releases Critical Security Update

Microsoft has released a critical security update to address a vulnerability in Internet Explorer. Please update your Windows computer whenever you receive an alert to inform you that new updates are available through Windows Update. You will generally see a popup on the lower right side of your screen when updates for Microsoft Windows are available. Exploitation of this vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to take control of an affected system, if the owner views a specially crafted webpage.

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Android Phones at Risk of Security Exploit Called Stagefright

A major security flaw that affects Android phones, called Stagefright, has been published. Please make sure to update your phone’s software when prompted so that you receive the latest security updates available for your phone. The security flaw does not affect other phones at this time, such as the iPhone.

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You Could Lose Valuable Data - an Announcement about Windows 10

Microsoft plans to release the latest version of their operating system, Windows 10, on July 29. We currently recommend that you do not upgrade to Windows 10 for any computer used to access Amherst College systems. Please decline any requests from Microsoft to reserve or download a copy of the software.

We will test Windows 10 on all College applications and plan to begin the migration to Windows 10 during the summer of 2016, in close coordination with each office. We will schedule workshops to help you become acquainted with the new OS.

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