Connecting Linux Laptop and Android Phone to UoT_Secure

My university, The University of Tampa, is great in a lot of ways.  But one thing the university fails at quite miserably is in its support of anything other than Windows.  The IT department does okay in supporting Mac computers, but they don’t support Linux at all.  I had to get permission to wipe my laptop and install Linux on it.  I don’t have a problem managing all my own software and such, since I do that myself anyway and am quite happy that I don’t have to deal with all of the software IT puts on faculty computers (making them run super slow!).  But one area where the lack of Linux support is occasionally problematic is when it comes to logging onto the wireless networks on campus.

There are two wireless networks.  The first doesn’t use authentication to connect to the network, but you have to log in via a webpage once you connect to the network to access the internet.  That network is considered the “unsecure” network and the SSID for it is: “UoT”.  A faster and more reliable wireless network is available for faculty and staff as well.  The SSID for that one is: “UoT_Secure”.  The problem with the UoT_Secure network is that it is WPA protected with PEAP authentication.  The IT department provides information on how to connect to the UoT_Secure network for Windows and Mac computers, but not for Linux computers (or Android phones).  It isn’t that complicated, but figuring it out without any guidance can be a real pain since the process isn’t all that straightforward.  Since I have to make the necessary changes to my network settings every time I reformat my computer (about twice a year), I figured I’d put some instructions on here to remind myself how to do it and to help anyone else who may have this issue (though, apparently, I’m the only Linux user at The University of Tampa).

The first step is to find a spot on campus where you can connect to the UoT_Secure network (it’s in most places, but not everywhere).  Click on your network icon in your taskbar (or use whatever you do to access a list of available wireless networks) and make sure you see UoT_Secure.

I can see UoT_Secure as an available wi-fi network.
I can see UoT_Secure as an available wi-fi network.

Click on “Connect” and you’ll get a window that asks for more information. That window will let you edit the information for the connection.  To connect to the network, click on the Wi-Fi Security tab.  Where the  Authentication drop down menu is, select PEAP (Protected EAP).

This is the "edit" your network connection window.
This is the “edit” your network connection window.

 

Once you select that, you have to enter your UT credentials for logging into your email account.  You enter your username (without @ut.edu) in the “Username:” field and your password for your email account in the “Password:” field.  Then select “OK.”  Once you’ve done all of that, go back to your Network icon in the taskbar and select “Connect.”

Click "Connect" once you've updated your wi-fi settings.
Click “Connect” once you’ve updated your wi-fi settings.

Hopefully, it works!

Now, on to the cell phone.

UT has two wireless networks. Once is a secure network while the other is more of an open network that is a bit easier to access, but doesn’t provide permanent access. It still requires your UT username and password (for your email) that you enter in a web portal, whereas the UofT_Secure network does not require you to log into a web portal once you connect.

Here are the settings for my new Google Pixel Android phone:

Click on the network to connect.
Under EAP method select “PEAP”
Under Phase 2 authentication select “MSCHAPV2”
Under CA certificate, select “Do not validate”
For identity, enter your UT identity without @ut.edu
Leave anonymous identity blank.
Then enter your password and hit “connect”.
That should do it.

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Linux: How to Change Password at The University of Tampa

Despite sending in feedback to the Information Technology department at my University about the myriad ways they could improve the process of changing passwords, they haven’t made the process much easier.  Since the process is overly cumbersome, not at all intuitive, and I forget about the complications every time I have to change my password (every 4 months), I’ve gone ahead and created a tutorial illustrating how to update your password at UT for Linux users (according to the IT department, I’m the only Linux user on my campus and that’s why this is so difficult).

1) Go to the password reset website:

https://reset.ut.edu 

2) Ignore where it says “User Name:” because they don’t actually want your username.  They want your email address.  So, enter in your full email address:

utpassword

(NOTE: If you don’t enter your email address, you’ll get a warning message that says, “No such user account configured. Please try with different username / domain.”  The message would be far more useful if it said, “Our apologies.  What we mean by “User Name:” is actually your UT email address.  Please enter that.  Oh, and, we’re not going to mention that you should log into a different domain because, well, you can’t.”  See Step 3.)

utpassword5

3) Also ignore where it says “Log on to:”.  When you attempt to click on the drop down menu, it doesn’t do anything.  In other words, this is a completely useless field that should be removed by the web programmers.  Since there don’t appear to be web programmers at UT capable of removing this field, this drop down menu is still there, even though it is 100% useless (supposedly it is useful for the IT department as they can log into different domains, but not to the faculty and staff who have to use this website, which is 99% of the employees at UT).

utpassword2

4) Login (assuming it lets you).  Next you’ll be presented with the wrong screen.  It’s a screen with user setup information and security questions which, if you’re like me, you filled out about, well, forever ago. It would make sense to take users to this screen if they had not completed these questions, so they could complete them.  But sending everyone to that tab makes no sense.  It just means users have to click on one more tab every time they want to try to change their password.  Taking you to the correct tab – the tab where you can change your password – by default when you log in would be too obvious.

utpassword3

5) Click on the “Change Password” tab.  Now you can enter your Old and New passwords.  Since I complained last time, it does appear as though they let you copy and paste your passwords, since not allowing copying and pasting serves absolutely no security purpose and just annoys users like me who use randomly generated passwords for every website:

utpassword4

6) Click on OK.  Assuming the software actually worked, you should have a new password.  I always – ALWAYS – log out and then try to log back in immediately because the website doesn’t always work.  One of my colleagues was recently locked out of his email for a day because the software screwed up when he tried to change his password and no one was around to fix it.

7) Now go to gmail and change the password for your UT account so you can continue to pull all of the email out of your UT email account and not have to deal with the horribly clunky interface that is Outlook online.

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