Author Archive: Michael Vogt

Google Docs Massive Phishing Scam

As you may have heard, over a million Google users were hit by a phishing scam on May 3rd. This scam came in the form of an email that looked a lot like a harmless invite from a Google user to join a Google document. Now, if you were suspicious (and I hope you were), you may have noticed that the email was addressed to hhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. When you see something like this or the red warning bar from Gmail (see left), this should be a pretty good indicator that something is amiss.

Just in case you may have accidentally clicked on the blue button invite, which was cleverly disguised to look remarkably like a legitimate Google button, here’s what you can do to protect yourself from further compromise by the spammer.

  1. Reset your password. This is one of the best ways to prevent a hacker from continued access to your account.
  2. Run Google’s Security Checkup to see what programs and add-ons have been granted access to your account. Look for an app called Google Docs, and remove it. It’s not really Google Docs and if you accidentally remove something you need, you can always grant access to it again the next time you attempt to open a legitimate Google Doc.

Once again, don’t open ANYTHING, even an email, from someone you don’t know or recognize and definitely don’t click on any links in emails from people you don’t know or aren’t familiar with why you were sent the message.

 

Securely Delete Files on Macs


Do you ever miss the good old days? Like when you found a feature on your Mac that worked great, but then Apple went and removed it? I’m referring to Apple’s Secure EmptyTrash option that allowed you to securely shred files from your computer so no one could later recover them. You may remember this feature was available on the Yosemite operating system but if you went looking for it recently, you probably noticed it’s no longer available for El Capitan or Sierra.

As to why it doesn’t work, the answer is in the hardware really. Most of Apple’s new machine’s use Solid State Drives (SSD) instead of the old Hard Disk Drives
(HDD). SSD’s have a variety of advantages over HDD’s, such as improved speed, reliability, and longevity. Although SDD’s do offer numerous improvements, secure file deletion isn’t one of them.

Long story short, there is really no way to fully remove a file from an SSD drive. Some portion of it may still be retrievable.  There are some third-party apps like “FileShredder” and “Secure Delete – File Shredder” still available from the App Store but these usually cost a few dollars and can actually reduce the lifespan of your SSD drive and computer, so they are not recommended for long-term use.

The best solution for securely deleting files from your Mac computer is to turn on Apple’s FileVault utility to securely encrypt your entire drive. Ideally, you should do this from day one to ensure all files are encrypted forevermore, but turning it on now will still be effective.

To turn on FileVault go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault. Once there, press Turn on FileVault. With FileVault turned on, you no longer have to worry about securely deleting files as all files are encrypted, including deleted files. When you delete a file, it removes it from your file directory and essentially throws away the decryption key so any file delete will be securely deleted.

The only drawback is, now you will have to enter your password every time you log into your computer… but you were probably doing that already because like any security conscious law student you had already password protected your laptop, right? Right!?!?

Anyways… Happy shredding Mac users!

MacBook Pro TouchBar Enabled Laptops Now Approved for Exams

As you may know, there was a previous security issue with Mac TouchBar enabled laptops that prevented them from being used on numerous state bar exams during the February bar. Many law schools also banned them from being used on exams this spring. However, Pepperdine still allowed TouchBar laptops to be used but required the TouchBar be manually disabled by IT staff. Fortunately, the latest version of SofTest from Examsoft has resolved this issue and all TouchBar enabled laptops are now permitted to be used on exams without needing to disable the TouchBar in advance. SofTest will now automatically disable the TouchBar when the exam is launched and re-enable it once the user exits an exam. This will prevent any potential exam integrity issues so all users are cleared to take finals on their Mac TouchBar enabled laptops.

Fortunately, the latest version of SofTest from Examsoft has resolved this issue and all TouchBar enabled laptops are now permitted to be used on exams without needing to disable the TouchBar in advance. SofTest will now automatically disable the TouchBar when the exam is launched and re-enable it once the user exits an exam. This will prevent any potential exam integrity issues so all users are cleared to take finals on their Mac TouchBar enabled laptops.

3 New Google Chrome Extensions to Try in 2017

With the University’s move to Google Mail this last year, the IS team highly recommends that anyone using Pepperdine email should consider making Google Chrome their default browser. Google Mail is a Google product, as is Google Chrome, so it makes sense that they work quite well together. Once you’ve made the switch, you will be happy to learn that the smart people at Google have created some pretty cool extensions you can add to your Chrome browser that will make your browsing experience and life in general, a whole lot cooler, at least from a techie’s point of view. What are extensions, you ask? they are essentially add-on tools that can help improve how you use your Gmail inbox or any website for that matter. So to kick off the new year, we’ve compiled a short list of extensions to try in 2017.

You can easily browse and add extensions and other apps by going to the Google Chrome Web Store.

 

1. Grammarly

Topping off our list is the tool Grammarly. If you are good at solving puzzles, you may have already guessed what Grammarly does, that’s right, it improves your grammar. It corrects spelling and most common grammar mistakes, like where to put a comma. You will also find that when you see it underline an error, it will not only correct the error for you when you select it, but it will also tell you what you did wrong so you can avoid making this same mistake in the future, say on an exam, and will help make you a better writer.

2. Momentum

Coming in at #2 on our list is Momentum. This extension is one of my favorites. Although it may not seem like it does much at first, it can be pretty powerful, or just pretty if you need a window into the world outside of law school studying. Momentum turns each new tab you open into a personal getaway/dashboard that includes your daily to-do list, connection to productivity apps, weather, inspirational quotes, favorite links, and it’s all set over a beautiful landscape backdrop that changes daily, just in case you get tired of view from the law library windows.

3. Awesome Screen Shot App

No that’s not a sales pitch, that’s the name of the app. It’s a fun and easy way to annotate your screenshots or photos. You can blur, crop, or do whatever you want and it’s all in a free and easy-to-use editor right in your browser. If you have photoshop, you probably don’t need this, but if you don’t, this might come in handy.

Honorable Mention

Ok, so I know I said 3 extensions, but Boomerang merits a mention. Have you ever sent a super important email, fully intending to follow-up on if you didn’t hear back from the recipient in a few days, but then totally forgot? Well, Boomerang allows you to schedule messages to be sent or replied to at a later time. You can also track messages to make sure you stay on top of emails you need to follow up with. Additionally, Boomerang allows you to set follow-up reminders right within Gmail, so emails pop back up in your inbox if you haven’t heard back from the recipient within the desired timeframe. However, the free version only allows you to track 10 emails a month, but it’s helpful if those 10 happen to be super important.

Hope you enjoy one of these or other Chrome extensions in 2017! As always, remember to browse safely with Pepperdine’s Browser Check. Happy browsing!

Examsoft Users: Now Safe to Upgrade to Mac Sierra OS

mac-sierraThe title says it all. After several long weeks of waiting… it is now safe to upgrade your Mac OS to Sierra. Examsoft just released a new compatible update that will allow you to take exams on the Sierra OS. Feel free to update away! Just remember, when you update to Sierra, you will still need to make sure that you update your SofTest version as well. SofTest should update itself automatically if you open the program and let it run in the background for about 15 minutes. However, if you wish to manually update simply open SofTest and follow the below instructions.

  • For Windows OS users, press the CTRL button and the letters ‘A’ and ‘U’ simultaneously (CTRL+AU).
  • For Mac OSX users, once SofTest is open, press the Command key plus the letters ‘A’ and ‘U’ simultaneously (CMND+AU).

For more information on this, visit the Update SofTest page on the ExamSoft website.

The latest version of SofTest is listed below. You should be able to see your current version number at the top of the SofTest window when you open the program.

Mac: 11.0.743.95011
Windows: 11.0.4946.36233

Enjoy Sierra and good luck on your exams!

SofTest Update

As of November 1, 2016 the most current Version of SofTest for Pepperdine Law School students is:

Macs-

11.0.743.95011

Windows

11.0.4946.36233

Please verify you have the most current version as your exam may not work properly if your version is outdated. There have been several reported issues with older versions, so update to the latest version before you take a final!!!

How do I verify I have the latest version of SofTest?

To verify if you have the latest version of SofTest,Go to your institution’s ExamSoft portal: http://www.examsoft.com/schoolname where ‘schoolname’ represents the abbreviated name for your institution. (E.g. California Bar would be calbar.) Log in at the “Exam Takers” field at the top left.

 

After you have logged in you will then need to click the “Gear” in the top right corner of the page and select “My Account”

You can review the latest version of SofTest from here as shown below.

If you do not have the latest version and you are told there is a newer version of SofTest available you need to update SofTest.

 

How do I Update SofTest?

To trigger the SofTest automatic update, first open the application on your laptop. The instructions are slightly different for users on different operating systems.

For Windows OS users, press the CTRL button and the letters ‘A’ and ‘U’ simultaneously (CTRL+AU).

For Mac OSX users, once SofTest is open, press the Command key plus the letters ‘A’ and ‘U’ simultaneously (CMND+AU).

You should get a message that requests you to accept the update similar to this:

es3Wait up to 15 minutes and then reopen SofTest and view the version number at the top of SofTest to verify that it has successfully updated. (Please Note: the version number on the screenshot below is only and example, and does not reflect the most current version number of SofTest.)

es4

 

IMPORTANT: RETURNING USERS – If you have not taken an exam during the current term, you may need to re-register your software for the current academic school year. To do this, simply follow the same steps for installing the program for the first time. Login to the Examsoft website listed above, download SofTest and install. When prompted, accept the new academic year’s student agreement and follow the remaining prompts to install the latest version of SofTest.

We have a few simple steps to install and register SofTest so you can be prepared to take your upcoming exams:

1. Go to www.examsoft.com/pepperdinelaw

2. Log in under ‘Exam Takers’ using your credentials. Students can access their student ID and 4-digit exam number through WaveNet in the Student Resource section under the heading, Academic History.

StudentID: {Custom.StudentID}

Password: {Custom.Passwd}

Students can also access their student ID and 4-digit exam number through Examsoft’s website. The username is typically the same as your Wavenet ID. You should have received an email containing your password, user ID, and exam number. If you cannot find this, simply reset your password and login.

To view your exam number, select the settings icon in the upper right corner of the Examsoft page, and then choose “My Account”. Your exam number will be visible under the your account settings.

3. Download SofTest and complete the installation process. Be sure to select the “SofTest Registration Instructions” drop-down tab to view your institutional registration code, which is pepperdinelaw.

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Launch SofTest and register using your StudentID and password.

For FAQ and information on how to us SofTest, visit Using ExamSoft on Your Laptop

For Student Test Takers Tech Support and Help, please contact the Examsoft Test Takers Support line at 866.429.8889 or via email at support@examsoft.com.

 

ExamSoft SofTest – Registering with Pepperdine

ExamSoft LogoExamSoft Worldwide produces the SofTest examination software used by many law schools and state bar examiners. This software is a secure essay exam word processor. Pepperdine School of Law allows students to use this software to take their mid term and final law exams. If you plan to use your laptop computer to take your exams, SofTest is required. The majority of students currently take all or some of their exams via this program.

SofTest can be downloaded from the Internet (http://www.examsoft.com/pepperdinelaw) and installed on your laptop computer. In order to use the ExamSoft SofTest program at Pepperdine University School of Law, you MUST agree to the terms of this ExamSoft Student Agreement

IMPORTANT: RETURNING USERS – If you have not taken an exam during the current term, you may need to re-register your software for the current academic school year. To do this, simply follow the same steps for installing the program for the first time. Login to the Examsoft website listed above, download SofTest and install. When prompted, accept the new academic year’s student agreement and follow the remaining prompts to install the latest version of SofTest.

Before attempting any exam, we highly recommend downloading and running a ‘Mock Exam’ within SofTest. This will help ensure the software is functioning properly on your computer prior to exam day.

If you have recently upgraded your computer’s operating system, be sure to update SofTest to the most current version. You should always verify you are running the latest version of SofTest before every exam. Outdated software is the most common cause of technical issues on exams. For more information on the latest version of SofTest, as well as instructions on verifying your current version and updating to the newest version, please visit our SofTest Update and Finals postings.

NOTE: ExamSoft will not support Mac OS beta releases. For more information on ExamSoft’s Mac OS requirements, please visit the ExamSoft website.

For Student Test Takers Tech Support and Help, please contact the Examsoft Test Takers Support line at 866.429.8889 or via email at support@examsoft.com.

Gmail is Here to Stay – Top 3 Tips to Make Your Transition Easier

2016-02-19_0901

Well it’s official, everyone has moved onto the Gmail train. For some of you, this may be welcome news. However, for those of you who had grown rather comfortable with the Outlook Exchange system, we’ve put together a few tips and settings that will help ease your transition.

First, login to Gmail through Wavenet. You can also go to Gmail.com, enter your Pepperdine Gmail address, and it will re-direct you to the Pepperdine authentication system.

  1. Start Using Chrome as Your Primary Browser – Gmail is a Google product and Chrome is a Google product, so it should come as no surprise they work much better together than non-Google browsers such as Firefox or Safari. If you aren’t on Chrome already, we recommend switching to Chrome before you switch to Gmail.
  2. Turn off “Conversation View”

Some people love this setting that groups all emails with the same topic title into one conversation view, so it looks like one email instead of the 20 it actually contains. This is a great way to keep track of all emails from one conversation especially when there are multiple people on an email and some “reply all” while others only reply. However, considering the conversation is also kept in a thread if you scroll down inside your email, it’s not entirely necessary. Plus it can get very confusing for people who are used to the Outlook format where each email is separate. To turn it off, click on 2016-02-19_1303the “Settings” button in the upper-right corner of your webpage inbox, (it looks like a tiny gear icon) and then choose “Conversation View Off” 2016-02-19_1304

 

1.a) While you’re there, you might want to also select the check-box for “Enable Undo Send”, it’s 2 rows down from Conversation View. The Undo Send feature allows you to recall a message up to 30 seconds after you’ve sent it, just in case you realize right after hitting the send button that oops, you forgot to include that spreadsheet that was the entire point of the email. Whatever the reason, you can pull it right back and fix the error.

3. Turn on Desktop Notifications

While you’re in the Settings, go ahead and turn on Desktop Notifications by selecting the radial button next to “New mail notifications on”. It’s only 3 rows down from Undo Send and this will give you that nice little popup email alert you are used to from Outlook.

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4. Enable some Labs

While still in settings, scroll up to the top of the page where all the blue lettered tabs are and select the “Labs” tab. From here you can browse and enable a variety of Labs. Google has put together a list of particularly helpful labs you can choose from. These are essentially add-on features designed to make your experience more customizable and hopefully more enjoyable. You can browse and select which ones are right for you. We highly recommend enabling the 3 labs listed below.

  1. Google Calendar Gadget: allows you to view all the upcoming appointments on your calendar, right from within your Inbox. You can click on any calendar item to open up your Google Calendar and see further details for the appointment.
  2. Preview Pane: This gives you that nice Vertical Split and preview pane you are so used to from Outlook. You can now scroll through and preview emails without actually having to open them, just like you did in Outlook (or maybe you didn’t use that in Outlook, in which case you won’t need this feature).
  3. Right Side Chat: This allows all your chat contacts to show up on the right side so they don’t compete for space with your Calendar gadget you just enabled. If you don’t like chat, you can turn off chat completely by selecting the “Chat” tab next to the “Labs” tab and then choose, “Chat Off”.

Personally, I love chat. This feature allows you to open up quick, live chat, voice, or video conversation with anyone at your organization.

Additionally, Gmail’s impressive search capabilities make it much easier to find emails than it was in Outlook.

Although not everything will work the same way in Gmail as it did in Outlook, you can customize a variety of things to be similar to features you are familiar with from Outlook. The above settings should make your move to Gmail a little easier.

As for frequently asked questions, the answer is usually, YES, Gmail can do almost everything you did in Outlook, it just might look a little different.

There are ways to enable delegates to access your account or calendar under the Accounts tab. Plus, now you can share documents via Drive which has LIMITLESS storage capacity! You can create a Signature for your emails under the General Settings tab, as well as turn on an automatic Vacation Responder, just like in Outlook.

Labels are the equivalent of Outlook Folders and Stars are Gmail’s version of Outlook’s Flagging system. If you have any questions, you can either Google the answer on Google Search, or contact us at support@law.pepperdine.edu.

Finally, all of the Google Suite (and sweet) tools are available by clicking the small tile icon in the upper right corner of your inbox. 2016-02-19_1351

Welcome to your new Google experience and enjoy using Gmail’s unlimited storage!

Having Trouble Opening a SofTest Final on a PC? We Have the Solution!

For anyone who has sat, waiting and watching the little spin wheel, spin on and on endlessly after attempting to launch an exam in SofTest, your wait is over!

We’ve outlined a few simple steps below to prevent this from happening when trying to open your next exam. Also, if you’ve ever exited SofTest but found your 2016-04-28_1148desktop background was stuck on the Examsoft background, this should prevent that from happening as well.

  1. Open your computer’s Task Manager. In Windows 10 you can access your task manager by pressing [CTRL + ALT + DEL], and select the Task Manager. If the Startup tab is not visible in Task Manager, click on the “More Details” arrow.  On pre-Windows 10 OS, you can access the task manager by pressing the Windows key and the (r) key simultaneously. In the window that appears, type “msconfig” without the quotes and press enter. Then select the “Startup” tab from the popup window, and follow the next steps.
  2. Under the Startup tab, a list of applications will be present. It is advised that all third party or “after market” applications on this list be disabled to ensure they do not cause a conflict with SofTest, e.g. Spotify, Google Drive, etc. Select each application in the list that is currently enabled and press the “disable” button in the bottom right of the task manager window.
  3. Once all the identified applications have been disabled, restart the computer. 
  4. After restarting, try taking a mock exam again in SofTest v11. SofTest should no longer experience any hanging or freezing before entering the exam.
  5. All other recommendations regarding minimum system requirements for SofTest v11 should still be followed to avoid issues when using SofTest v11. These include temporarily deactivating your any third party Antivirus installed on the device, and only using a user account with administrative privileges on the computer.

You should re-enable all desired startup programs after finals are over, especially your antivirus!

If you have any difficulties following the above directions, please stop by our IS Support desk in the Library for assistance with disabling your startup programs. We hope this helps and best of luck on finals!

Law Student Mental Health Day

lawstudent-vert-blackDo you know what doctors, lawyers, and CEO’s all have in common? These professions have the highest levels of stress among all occupations. Similar stress rates are also true of students in these professions.

However, not to fear… help is here! Take a deep breath, relax, and check out these helpful resources available from the ABA Law Student Division and the Dave Nee Foundation. Together, these sites are dedicated to raising awareness and providing support to law students under stress… so that means they are devoted to pretty much all law students.

March 27th is Law Student Mental Health Day! But in case you missed it, don’t worry, you can still take time to relax and unwind today!

Finals can be a particularly stressful time, so you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself first and foremost. Take a break from studying and devote a few moments to checking out the above resources. Remember to take time to decompress a bit, spend a few minutes on some relaxing breathing exercises from one of the plethora of breathing apps available on your phone, or go for a walk outside. Speaking of checking things out that help you unwind, check out one of the movies from the library while you’re at it! We hope you enjoy your time here in Malibu. Just don’t enjoy it too much… so after you’ve done the above, get back to studying!