Still using XP at UC Davis? Expect warnings, login delays

Anyone still using Windows XP to access the UC Davis network will soon see increasingly pointed reminders when they log in to their campus account, telling them to upgrade to newer software.

The campus has adopted a three-phase "warn, delay, block" strategy to urge faculty, students, staff and affiliates to stop using the 13-year-old operating system, which Microsoft ceased supporting on April 8. The end of support means the software is no longer secure enough to use on the UC Davis network--or anywhere online.

Warnings start May 7

Beginning on Wednesday, May 7, people using XP will see a warning notice and 15-second login delay before they type in their campus (CAS) passphrase, advising them to upgrade. After 15 seconds, they will automatically proceed to login. But starting June 25, the delay will extend to 30 seconds, and starting Aug. 27, their access to secure online campus resources and the campus network will be blocked.

People with uConnect or other selected campus Active Directory accounts (used for email, calendars, and similar online communication methods) will also see the warnings, and will need to press an "OK" button on the warning screen to proceed to login. They will also be blocked starting Aug. 27 if they have not upgraded.

UC Davis will immediately block any compromised machines it discovers. Frequent scans monitor the campus network for signs of trouble.

"If you're still using XP, on campus or at home, you risk your own personal information and security, as well as the information and security of UC Davis," said UC Davis Chief Information Security Officer Cheryl Washington. "The steps we're taking prompt remaining XP users to address that risk."

Only people using XP computers will see the warnings, delays and blocks. They can resume normal logins by ending their use of XP.

No more XP on resnet, resnetx starting in June

As part of the move away from XP, Information and Educational Technology (IET) will start blocking XP machines from using the resnet and resnetx (wired and wireless) networks in student housing starting June 25.

Campus WinXP website has advice

IET and people throughout UC Davis are working to find, and then remove or isolate, the remaining uses of XP on campus. IET has posted a website with information, options, and advice, for departments and individuals alike.

A small percentage of faculty, students, staff and affiliates continue to use Windows XP to access campus resources. Some use the software at home. On campus, Windows XP machines sometimes support research or run equipment.

"If anyone on campus hears of any problem involving XP, please contact the security team immediately [at cybersecurity@ucdavis.edu] so we can investigate," Washington said.

Fresh risks continue to emerge as XP grows increasingly insecure. Late April brought news of a flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser that leaves computers vulnerable to attack. Microsoft eventually created a patch for XP, but repeated its decision to end support for the software, adding, "we continue to encourage customers to migrate to a modern operating system."