It’s the Machines (and Housing) vs. Us
Written by Bwog Staff
Prolific Bwog tipster Jon Hill has just notified Bwog of an enchanting electrical set-up in the bowels of the John Jay laundry room that would put the efforts of the Disneyland electrical parade to shame. In the carefully crafted email seen below, it appears that the entirety of the dorm’s laundry machinery is hardwired to a single electrical through a delicate line-by-line connection of increasingly snarled extension cords. Note shocking (!) image to the right.
This perhaps flawed electrical set up is coupled with recent reports from CUIT’s head of information security of phishing attacks made on Columbia Cubmail accounts. It seems emails from Nigerian princes asking you send money in order to receive your lottery winnings might be of questionable intent. This led some Bwog editors to wonder about how safe are we really? If we’re not safe in the John Jay laundry room or on the interwebs, which places does that leave us? Barnard? Bwog thinks not.
Both emails after the jump
Bwog editors –
I was doing laundry in the John Jay washroom tonight and happened to notice one of the small doors in the corner there was ajar. I’ve only seen it closed, so I took a look inside to see what was behind the wall.
It’s a crawlspace behind the dryers where repairmen (or repairwomen, as we work toward the national dream of gender equality) can access the backs of the machines and hook up their electrical cords, attach vent pipes, etc.
But what caught my interest was the way the power cords from the bank of dryers have been jury-rigged to a single electrical outlet. I snapped some shots with cameraphone and have attached them to this message.
You’ll note that three dryers have been plugged into one rather wimpy-looking power strip, which is then plugged into a single outlet.
I did some research, and several government consumer safety Web sites suggest that a single power strip of this sort not carry more than a ~1600 watt load. One site in particular said that “they are not to be used as extension cords … [or] for high power demand equipment.”
Surely a single dryer would qualify as high power demand, let alone three!
What’s going on down there in the basement? Am I going to have to wake up someday soon at 3 a.m. to evacuate because of an electrical fire started by an overloaded power strip? Doesn’t our $45,000+ a year give Columbia enough financial wiggle-room to afford proper wiring for a few dryers?
– Jon Hill
Recently, Columbia has been targeted by a “phishing” attack. Identity theft
spam and scams are becoming more sophisticated — Columbia affiliates have
received messages telling them they must report their password (via email)
or risk having their CubMail access disabled. You should never email your
password or any other private information (e.g. credit card number, social
security number), and Columbia will never ask you to.
While our spam filters are very good, they are not perfect. You need to
be on the lookout for Identity theft scams.
* Don’t be fooled – never send your password by email to anyone.
* Banks and financial institutions will never ask for your account numbers,
pins or passwords by email.
* Never enter your credit information into a non secured web page. A secured
web page starts with https:// (note the “S” for “Secure”) and will display a
lock on the browser frame.
* Don’t fall for stories about winning the lottery or promises of money from
relatives you are unaware of. If the story sounds too good to be true, it
is a scam.
* See security.columbia.edu for other security information.