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10/18/2017

Introducing AWS Batch: A Highly-efficient, Dynamically Scaled Cloud Batch Computing Service from Amazon Web Services

AWS Batch is a fully-managed service that enables developers, scientists, and engineers to easily and efficiently run batch computing workloads of any scale on AWS. The service automatically provisions compute resources and optimizes the workload distribution based on the quantity and scale of the workloads. With AWS Batch, there is no need to install or manage batch computing software, allowing you to focus on analyzing results and solving problems. In this talk, Jamie Kinney describes the core concepts behind AWS Batch, details of how the service functions and provides relevant use cases and sample code.  Glenn Bach will also show "BatchBeagle", an open source tool he built that has commands for managing queues, compute environments, and job definitions in AWS Batch.


Wednesday, November 1st in BBB 180

Agenda: 

  • Introduction to AWS key concepts, 30 Mins
  • AWS Batch Overview, use Cases and Sample Code, 50 mins
  • BatchBeagle, 20 mins
  • Questions

About the Speakers:

Jamie Kinney is the Principal Product Manager for AWS Batch and High Performance Computing at Amazon Web Services. He first joined Amazon.com in 1998 and has created a number of programs within AWS that are designed to facilitate scientific exploration on the cloud, including the AWS Public Data Sets, AWS Research Grants, and the global data egress waiver for research.

Glenn Bach is the Senior Director, Academic Computing Services, and manages two teams at Caltech. The first team is a development group that writes web software in support of instruction and research. The focus is on agile, iterative software development, and advanced automated tools to manage the deploy and support of software, both locally and in the cloud. The second team runs High Performance Computing resources and standard UNIX based services.  Glenn is also a software engineer himself, with over 20 years experience.

09/27/2017

Fall 2017 Walking Campaign!

Looking to get the school year started off on the right foot?

Starting October 3rd, the Pink Turtles and Worklife@Caltech will be hosting a Move with the Pink Turtles walking campaign to help you get moving this Fall. The events are open to everyone willing to get a little more active, so bring a friend or family member!

The campaign kicks off on Tuesday, October 3rd at 5:30pm at the Caltech Student Health Center located at 1239 Arden Road, building number 8 on Caltech map.

Participants will then meet at 5:30pm every following Tuesday and Thursday at the Caltech Student Health Center for a walk hosted by Maria Lopez, founder of The Pink Turtles. The campaign will run until December 7th, 2017.

09/25/2017

The Fall 2017 Wellness Brown Bag Lunch Series

This Fall Worklife@Caltech is bringing you four fun and educational events as part of the Brown Bag Lunch Series at Caltech.

Whether you are looking for healthy eating tips or to learn some easy ways to reduce stress, the Brown Bag Lunch Series has got you covered!

Click here to find out the dates. topics and to RSVP

08/03/2017

Security Bulletin: Phone Scams

To: The Caltech Campus Community
From: Victor Clay, Chief of Campus Security
Re: Security Bulletin: Phone Scams
Date: August 3, 2017

Caltech Campus Security has been notified of a telephone scam that appears to be targeting students at universities throughout the area:

The caller identifies himself or herself as an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and demands money, sometimes in the form of gift cards, that he or she says is owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The caller further threatens arrest or, when the victim is an international student, deportation if the victim does not comply.

Often, the caller knows the victim's name, address, phone number, home country, and other information. They may be using social media or online directories to gather this information.

In addition, the call may appear to come from a legitimate telephone number. It appears that the scammers are using easily accessible technology to spoof, or mimic, phone numbers from legitimate law enforcement offices.

REMEMBER:

  • None of these government agencies (FBI, IRS, or police) will call you to demand money. They will never require you to purchase gift cards. They will never ask you for money via wire transfer. They will never ask you how much money you have on hand. If you get a call from someone saying they are from one of these agencies, follow the next two steps:
  • Calmly ask what the call is about. Take specific notes about what the caller is saying and requesting.
  • Politely request the agent's information. Write down his or her full name, agency, and any identification number he or she can provide. Also, request his or her direct number so you can call back.
  • Hang up, and call Caltech Campus Security. Provide this information to them.
  • DO NOT give any credit/debit card information over the phone.
  • DO NOT give anyone your banking information.
  • Callers may already have part of your social security number or driver's license number, and request that you provide the rest. USE CAUTION when providing any ID number over the phone or online.
  • If a caller threatens you, tell them that you will hang up and call them back with your attorney. They may try to say that you cannot tell anyone about their call. If they do, they are a scammer. Hang up immediately.

If you are concerned that you may have been targeted by a telephone scammer, call Caltech Campus Security. Dial 4701 from any campus phone or (626) 395-4701 from off campus.

07/06/2017

Don't let ransomware disrupt or destroy your work

Ransomware is a category of malicious software that is becoming increasingly widespread, and has been responsible for some high-profile network outages at sites worldwide in the last few months.  It differs from other kinds of malicious software in that its primary purpose is to render the victim's data files unusable (typically by encrypting them) until a "ransom" in difficult-to-trace virtual currency such as Bitcoin is paid. Organizations all over the world, including hospitals, police departments, and universities, have fallen victim to ransomware attacks. Affected systems to date have included Windows workstations and servers, Macs, linux workstations and servers, unpatched wiki or blog software, Android phones, and any data volumes these devices are able to access (e.g., external hard drives, network drives or file servers).

Protect yourself against ransomware

The best defense against ransomware is prevention, using good security practices that protect computers from malware infections of all kinds, not just ransomware specifically.


Backups:

  • Ensure that you have reliable, ongoing backups of your data, and periodically test restoring files from those backups.
  • Use a backup solution that includes some form of versioning, so that in the event that there is a problem of any kind with the current or most-recently-backed-up copy of a file, a previous version of the file can be recovered.
  • Ensure that your backup volumes are not continuously mounted on the system they protect.  Ransomware will encrypt all data on all mounted volumes, including mapped network drives or file shares.


Good Security Practices:

The same good practices protect against a wide variety of security problems

  • Choose strong passwords for all accounts on your computers.  This is particularly critical if you allow remote access to your computer, or ever allow it in the future.
  • Keep your operating system and applications up to date on security patches, and pay particular attention to any applications or services that are accessible from the Internet, and browser plugins such as Flash, Java and Silverlight.  For campus workstations, consider taking advantage of the IMSS Managed Computing program, which has an excellent security track record.  If you are running a server, do not overlook updates for content management systems such as Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, etc.
  • If you must allow remote access to your computer, restrict it at the network level so that the service is not accessible from just anywhere on the public internet.
  • Use an unprivileged (non-admin) account for routine computing, reserving privileged account use for brief situations where elevated permissions are needed (such as for software installation).  IMSS Managed Computing systems are configured this way.
  • Employ a software restriction policy, also called "application whitelisting" where possible.  Microsoft Windows workstation supports application whitelisting as of Windows 7.  IMSS Managed Computing systems are configured this way as well.
  • Configure your computer to display file extensions rather than hiding them as is the default.
  • Windows users: consider setting Notepad as the default application for .js (javascript) files, to open them harmlessly rather than executing them.  This won't affect javascript in the browser.
  • Exercise caution when installing new applications.  Where did the installer come from?  Are you sure it does what it claims to do?  Are you sure it was unaltered from the time it was released by the vendor?  To date, ransomware infections on Macs and linux workstations primarily have come in the form of legitimate-seeming software that was tampered with to include malicious code, which was then inadvertently installed by the user.
  • Be careful when opening links and attachments received via email.  Do you know with certainty who sent the attachment and what it contains?  If the attachment is unexpected but may be legitimate, verify with the sender first before opening it.  When in doubt, contact the IMSS Help Desk or Information Security either via our ticket system or by email (security at caltech.edu or help at caltech.edu).
  • Install antivirus software and keep it up to date.  Note that this measure, while still useful, is not in itself a complete solution, as malicious software such as ransomware is constantly changing in an effort to stay a step ahead of antivirus vendors.  IMSS has site licenses for antivirus software, covering personal-use systems for Caltech personnel in addition to Caltech-owned systems.

If Ransomware Infection Has Occurred

If you believe your computer has been infected with ransomware, STOP USING IT right away.  Power it down, and keep it powered down until you can get assistance.  Continuing to use your computer, or even leaving it on while it is infected greatly reduces the chance of recovering your files.  We do not recommend you pay the ransom.
 

References:

 

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