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Digitalk: Where IT's at

Watch out for spear-phishing

Information Services and Technology (IS&T) asks all MIT faculty, staff and students to be on guard against spear-phishing attacks made through MIT's e-mail system. Spear-phishing refers to attempts to steal personal information from a targeted group by sending an official-looking message that is actually a scam. In a recent attack at MIT, e-mail that appeared to come from an account on campus requested that you send your password and other personal information in a reply e-mail--or else have your e-mail address deactivated from the MIT database.

IS&T will never ask members of the MIT community to send their login name or password by e-mail. You should never reply to such messages. When IS&T learns of e-mail scams that target MIT, it posts alerts on the 3DOWN web page at

IS&T also recommends that you never share your password with anyone, including IT support staff. Contact the IS&T Computing Help Desk at if you have questions or concerns. To learn more about IT security topics, see

Support for iPhone

IS&T now provides limited support for MIT e-mail and MIT's Wi-Fi setup on the Apple iPhone. This mobile device offers several breakthrough technologies, including full web-browsing capability, a robust e-mail client and a multitouch user interface.

However, as is often true for first-generation devices, the iPhone also needs improvement in several areas. At this time, it does not recognize personal certificates or synchronize calendar data wirelessly (though the latter is expected to be addressed when Apple releases the iPhone software development kit). In addition, because iPhone service is available only through AT&T, iPhone network coverage at MIT is limited. You can find a full list of known issues at

If you have questions about using the Apple iPhone at MIT, visit or contact the iPhone Release Project Team at

VMware licensed for use at MIT

IS&T has signed an agreement with VMware to license its virtualization software for use at MIT. The agreement covers VMware Lab Manager, VMware Infrastructure Enterprise and VMware desktop products.

Virtualization software enables the creation of multiple independent operating systems ("virtual machines") running simultaneously on a single machine. Through virtualization, professors can deliver specialized software to students in a course, or individuals can run a second operating system on their computers. Virtualization software can also be used in data centers for server consolidation and effective management of IT resources.

The VMware desktop products (Fusion for Macintosh and Workstation for Windows/Linux) are available to early adopters for download at These products can be installed and used by all MIT faculty, staff and students on MIT- and personally owned computers. For VMware Infrastructure Enterprise and Lab Manager, send your requests to

A team is being created this month to explore how to best provide support for virtualization at MIT, with a goal of offer-ing support in the first quarter of FY09. IS&T recommends that only early adopters--who are able to support themselves and their users--should download and use VMware Fusion or Workstation.

New group for network professionals

MIT's new NetPartners group taps into the great pool of network architecture, engineering and management knowledge in the MIT community. The group meets on the third Tuesday of every month to discuss issues that affect the networking community--construction planning, monitoring and management, support for high-performance computing, 10GB options and layer 4-7 enhancements, to name a few.

The group also hosts a mailing list for exchanging ideas and noting opportunities of interest to networking professionals on campus. To join the NetPartners mailing list, go to For a list of all user groups at MIT, visit usergroups.

Digitalk is compiled by Information Services and Technology.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 13, 2008 (download PDF).

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