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Tips and Tricks

There are many types of malware (short for malicious software) scattered across the internet. These can perform various actions, from pop-up advertisements to locking you out of your computer. Most malware comes packaged with "free" applications from the internet, so be careful what you download. Make sure you download programs from the official source, not a file transfer site. Don't open files that you don't recognize, especially if you don't know the source.

Some of the types of malware:

Adware: Short for advertising-supported software, this malware commonly displays advertisements for the sponsor's content. This can include controlling what ads you see on websites. Adware is often bundled with spyware.

Ransomware: This nasty piece of malware accesses your computer and prevents access to it until you pay a sum on money to the creator. This can include encrypting your hard drive, preventing you from accessing it through other means. Paying the attacker is no guarantee of getting access to your files.

Rootkit: Designed to slip in unnoticed, rootkits are designed to allow access to your machine without your knowledge. This is a stepping stone to installing further malware, stealing information, or similar malicious activities. Rootkits are hard to detect, usually by the trace of what they've already done.

Spyware: Another one that's designed to be hidden, spyware gathers data about the user such as account information, login credentials, or even keyboard input. These are often bundled with adware.

Trojan: Like the famed Trojan Horse, this malware looks like a normal file or program. It can be an avenue for further malware, or unauthorized remote access. These are often disguised as normal downloads, such as music or games.

Virus: A virus copies itself and spreads into other programs. They infect "clean" programs, and are easily transmitted. Because they infect other programs, they have a wide variety of effects.

If you believe your computer is infected, go to another computer and change all your passwords. Various pieces of malware can track data submitted to websites or the keys you press. Once your passwords are secure, run trusted security software on the infected machine. Visit our Downloads page for trusted programs including Malwarebytes, Ad Aware Free, and Symantec Anti-Virus.

What isn't malware?

Not all harmful content from the internet is malware. Be aware of attempts to gather information or money from you via email or website.

Extortion: requesting money under threat. Often, the individual will threaten to reveal extremely personal information in order to ensure compliance.

Social Engineering: information gathering by posing as a respectable individual: coworkers, directors, system administrators, or charity organizers. This can provide security information, or outright funds, to malicious individuals.

Phishing: solicitation of personal information such as finances, email addresses, or passwords. This enables access to your personal or organizational data, using your information to bypass security.

If you are ever uncertain, contact the UAS IT Helpdesk for assistance and recommendations.

Some computers may have microphones and web cameras disabled until the specific program you are trying to use, such as Collaborate Ultra or Zoom, is given sufficient permission. If you are accessing these programs through a browser like Chrome or Firefox you will usually be prompted with an "Allow" button at the top of your browser to allow access to your microphone and/or web camera.

You can allow specific or even all programs to access your microphone and web camera in the audio and camera security settings respectively. These can be found in these locations depending on which operating system is being used.

Mac: Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Select the app to make changes to

Windows: Select Start > Settings > Privacy > Select the app to make changes to

Enabling Pop-ups in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, and Microsoft Edge

To allow pop-ups for specific websites please follow these steps:

In the examples for UAS Courses below, you'll want to add "https://online.uas.alaska.edu" and "https://classes.alaska.edu".

Google Chrome

Google Chrome prevents pop-ups from automatically appearing and cluttering your screen. Whenever the browser blocks pop-ups for a site, an icon appears on the top-right in the address bar. Click the icon, check 'Always allow pop-ups from 'website address'. To see blocked pop-ups for a site, follow the steps listed below.

  1. Type the following in to the address bar in Chrome: chrome://settings/content/popups
  2. In the Allow section, click the Add button
  3. Enter the website address, then click Add

Firefox

  1. Access the page that generates the pop-up and click the link
  2. Firefox creates a prompt at the top of the page: "Firefox prevented this site from opening a pop-up window"
  3. Click the Option button on the right
  4. Select "Allow pop-ups for online.uas.alaska.edu"

Safari

Safari only allows you to have the pop-up blocker turned on or off.

  1. Open up your Safari Web browser,
  2. While on https://online.uas.alaska.edu, go to the Safari menu and choose Preferences,
  3. Then Websites and open Pop-up Windows,
  4. Under 'Currently Open Websites' open the drop-down menu next to https://online.uas.alaska.edu and select 'Allow'
  5. Click on the red circle located in the upper left-hand corner to close the window.

Microsoft Edge

  1. Open Microsoft Edge and click the three dots in the upper right corner,
  2. Click on "Settings" and then search "Pop-ups and redirects" in the settings menu,
  3. Click on "Pop-ups and redirects" and then click the "Add" button next to "Allow".
  4. In the site bar enter "https://online.uas.alaska.edu" and press "Add".
  5. Repeat the above steps to add "https://classes.alaska.edu" as well.

Step 0: Remain calm! Try to maintain a clear head, panic doesn't help.

Step 1: Disconnect from the internet. If you can, physically disconnect the network cables or turn off the wifi switch. When booting up your computer again, turn on safe mode:

  • To initiate Safe Mode on Windows 10/11 hold "F8" during the start up of your computer.
  • To initiate Safe Mode on Mac hold "Shift" during the startup of your computer until the Apple logo appears.

Step 2: Change your passwords from a computer that has not been compromised. If you use the same passwords for any other sites, it is a good idea to change them now as a safety precaution. To change your UA Password, sign into ELMO (elmo.uas.alaska.edu).

Step 3: Clean up your browser. This includes both deleting your browser cache and removing any suspicious add-ins or extensions.

Step 4: Uninstall malicious programs.

  • For information on different types of problematic programs, see Preventing and Removing Malware above.
  • For instructions on uninstalling programs, see How to Uninstall Programs below.

Step 5: Scan your computer for viruses. UAS ITS recommends using the onboard security software included on your computer. For our ITS-built Windows 10 computers, this is Windows Defender.
If your security program asks you to quarantine a program, it is a good idea to give it permission to do so. By quarantining the issue, your security should be able to isolate problems and help prevent further corruption of your computer's files.

Step 6: Contact the UAS Helpdesk to alert them of any malicious emails or websites to prevent the phishing attempt from further circulation.

Step 7: Protect yourself from future phishing, now that you've learned what these attempts look like. Be more wary before opening emails. If you get an email that looks like it is from the university, take a moment to examine it more closely. When in doubt, call to ensure its authenticity.

Don't Panic! Office has autosave turned on by default to run every 10 minutes. It is likely you can recover (at least) that version of your document.

Try these methods in this order and don't hesitate to call us at 907-796-6400 for assistance.

1. Restarting Word to open AutoRecover files

Word searches for AutoRecover files every time it starts. Therefore, you can try using the AutoRecover feature by closing and reopening Word. If Word finds any automatically recovered file, the Document Recovery task pane opens, and the missing document should be listed as "document name [Original]" or as "document name [Recovered]." If this occurs, double-click the file name in the Document Recovery pane, select File > Save as, and then save the document as a .docx file. To manually change the extension to .docx, right-click the file, and select Rename.

Note: In Microsoft 365 Subscription, when Word starts, it searches for AutoRecover files. If any recovered files are found, Word opens them by having a Message Bar. Select Save to save the recovered file as a .docx file. If there are many recovered files, Word usually opens the last-changed files, and puts the remaining files into the Document Recovery task pane.

2. Searching for AutoRecover files

If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, check the following folder locations for backup files:

  • C:\Users<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word
  • C:\Users<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

Note: In these paths, replace <username> with your username.

If you don't find the missing file in these locations, open Word, and select File > Info > Manage Document > Recover Unsaved Documents.

If you still haven't found the file, try manually searching for AutoRecover files. To do this, select Start, enter .asd in the Search box, then press Enter.

If you find any files that have the .asd extension, follow these steps:

Open Word, and then go to File > Open > Browse.
In the files of type list to the right of File name, select All Files.
Right-click the backup file that you found, and then select Open.

If you have other versions of Office all instructions can be found here:
Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-US/office/troubleshoot/word/recover-lost-unsaved-corrupted-document

Google Chat is web-based software that can be used to hold video calls, phone calls, and you can even instant message other users. Because everyone in the UA system has a Google Email, everyone has access to use Google Chat!

Google Chat also has an app available for Android, iOS, and Chrome systems.

To uninstall an app on Windows 10, open the Start Menu, and search Settings. In the Settings window, click on the Apps & Features section. From there, find the app you wish to uninstall and click on it. You should see a button to uninstall it. This will either remove the app instantly, or open a tool which will guide you through the removal process.

To uninstall an app on macOS, open the Applications folder in Finder (blue & white smiley icon on the dock), and find the app you want to uninstall. Then, drag and drop the app into the Trash Bin.

To uninstall an app on Windows 7, launch the Start Menu and open the Control Panel. Click Uninstall a Program under the Programs section. From there, find the app you wish to uninstall and click on it. You should see a button to uninstall it. Clicking this with the an app selected will open a tool which will guide you through the removal process.

Clearing your browser cache and cookies is a good practice for browser maintenance. Whenever you visit a website, it stores data about the webpage and login information. This means it will can use the local copy to run a little faster next time, or store your credentials to log in automatically next time. By clearing your cache and cookies, it prevents you from viewing older versions of a page, protects your personal information, and helps certain applications run more efficiently.

Firefox

On a Windows computer:

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Delete.
  2. Select Time Range: Everything.
  3. Select All from the dropdown menu.
  4. Click the Clear Now button.
  5. Reload the website.

On a MacOS computer:

  1. Open the main Firefox menu.
  2. Select History.
  3. Select Clear Recent History...
  4. Select Time Range: Everything.
  5. Select Everything from the dropdown menu.
  6. Click Clear Now.
  7. Reload the website.

Google Chrome

On a Windows computer:

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Delete.
  2. Select Time range: All time.
  3. Ensure that Cookies and other site data are selected.
  4. Click the Clear Data button.
  5. Reload the website.

On a MacOS computer:

  1. Press Command+Shift+Delete.
  2. Select Time range: The Beginning of Time.
  3. Ensure that Cached images and files
  4. Click the strong>Clear Browsing data
  5. button.
  6. Reload the website.

Safari

On a Mac:

  1. Open the Safari menu.
  2. Select Preferences...
  3. Open the Advanced tab.
  4. Check the box for the Show Develop menu in the menu bar.
  5. Open the new Develop menu.
  6. Select Empty Caches.
  7. Reload the website.

Edge

On a Windows computer:

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Delete.
  2. A new Window opens. Select the option "temporary services and files".
  3. Confirm your selection by clicking on the "delete" button.

Tips

It is a good idea to clear your browser's cookies regularly.

You can disable or restrict cookies through the sections above. This is recommended for security reasons but will render some sites inoperable. It is possible to only allow cookies for sites that you specify.

It is a good time to clear your browser's cache while you are clearing the cookies. The cache stores information, images, and web pages on your computer for quick and easy access. Hackers can obtain crippling financial information from your cache if you're not careful.

While clearing the browser cache is good practice, it won't resolve every issue. If you'd like to check, you can open a Private/Incognito Browsing window. this will access the content of a page without referring to the local storage cache. If the issue is resolved, then clearing your browser cache should resolve the issue on a persistent basis, not just in this Private/Incognito window.

Private Browsing Video instructions

Copying and pasting text from a Google Doc or Microsoft Word document is a safe way to ensure you don't lose any of your work in the event of a power outage or other unfortunate event. However, copying directly from one of these word processors can cause some issues when it comes to formatting when directly pasted into the Blackboard text box. Check out our page on Using the Blackboard Content Editor for more information.

Every computer has a serial number and, like fingerprints, each one is unique. Compuer names and serial numbers are used to identify a device, which makes it easier to catalog as well as keep track of it when sent off to be repaired. Watch the video below to learn how to find your computer name and serial number.