ISHMAEL N. DARO
“Because the wireless network named ”˜uofs’ was not secure, this network is no longer accessible,” a recent university memo said.
The Sheaf published an article in February highlighting the security risks of an unsecured wireless network, specifically “session hijacking,” which allows nearby computers running certain software to get into some email and social network accounts.
Soon after, the university added warnings to the network login screens to point out the risks of an unencrypted network.
Over the summer, however, the university did away with the “uofs” network altogether, leaving only “uofs-secure” and a guest network for outsiders.
“Certainly the article that appeared in the Sheaf helped spur efforts,” said Chad Coller, acting information security officer for Information Technology Services. However, plans had long been in place to scrap the outdated network and leave the secure one as the default.
As with the now defunct “uofs” network, it is much easier to log into “guest” than to log into the secure network, but Coller says “for those that do have an NSID, the secure network is preferred.”
Older computers may also have some difficulty getting into “uofs-secure” and Coller says the number of students affected would have been even higher a few years ago — one reason why ITS held onto “uofs” for as long as it did.
But as those older laptops continue to be replaced by newer devices, fewer and fewer students will have difficulty getting online using the encrypted network.
“Some old equipment will never be able to get onto the secure network”¦ so until those old systems are replaced there will always be difficulty,” said Coller.
There are about 800 Wi-Fi hotspots around the university. Students seeking assistance with the wireless networks or anything else computer related can contact ITS or visit usask.ca/its.