This meme was passed along to me, but I’m unsure of the original source. It does reference an important and difficult issue we are going to struggle with for the near future.
We are at a frustrating time where BCeSIS is requiring us to use an older version of Java, but other tools are requiring newer versions. This is affecting both Apple and Windows machines. Apple and OS X 10.6+ have caused issues due to blocking of the older version of Java needed for BCeSIS. We do have an imperfect resolution to this. Reports of a recent system update for 10.6 fixing the Java issue are good, but don’t help us for users with 10.7 and 10.8. We’ll be using BCeSIS for likely the next one to two school years so it will be an ongoing struggle.
Yesterday we were told a Ministry web tool may have required a newer version of Java to run. We aren’t sure yet if that was Java asking for an update, or the Ministry tool requiring it.
So at this point, follow the meme’s advice. Don’t update Java, or run system updates that reference Java on Windows or Macs (with the exception of OS X 10.6 if Java isn’t currently working). This does create a vulnerability due to older versions of Java. Avoid the “risky click” where you are on an unknown website, or following links to places you aren’t sure about.
If something is not working, give us a call at the helpdesk at 250-263-6442 or put in a ticket at helpdesk.prn.bc.ca and we will help you out as soon as possible.
Yesterday Apple released a malware definition that set a specific version of java to be allowed to run on OS X 10.6+. Unfortunately this definition precludes us from using BCeSIS as it requires an older version of Java on OS X. This update happens in the background with no user intervention. It is not part of the Software Updates. The reason for this is that the older versions of Java have security vulnerabilities that are often exploited by malicious websites or websites that have been compromised. A good way to avoid those websites is not to use the web… or more realistically don’t go to sketchy websites, follow unknown links etc.
We can’t update the version of Java as BCeSIS sadly requires an older version on OS X to run.
Our initial solution to remove this definition that is blocking our version of Java is as follows:
A significant question with this fix is whether or not the definition will return on the next malware update or not. We are monitoring this and will adapt the fix if needed.
Feb 1 Edit – An Apple Engineer has said that the definition will likely return on the next update so to avoid doing this again you will need to turn off the automatic definitions update. This may leave your computer vulnerable in the future. This takes a few steps which I’ve listed below:
- Click on Apple > System Preferences
- Click on Security (or Security & Privacy) in the top row
- Unlock to make changes (bottom left) using your laptop password – you need to be an admin of the laptop which most staff are. Use your laptop password
- Click on Advanced button (bottom right)
- Uncheck “Automatically update safe downloads list”
If there were a large scale sweeping OS X attack of some kind reminiscent of the Blaster worm we will suggest that you turn the Automatic update back on even though that will likely mean we will have java problems in the future. Keeping the older version of Java active on the macs will also mean that your computer is vulnerable especially if you are going to websites that are unknown or following unknown links.
We are looking at some options for a separate browser application to run Java for BCeSIS and disable Java in other browsers.
If these instructions does not work for you, try a restart on your computer and don’t hesitate to call the helpdesk at 250-263-6442.
Further to this there was another issue last year with Java that had the following solution - http://www.prn.bc.ca/ts/?p=1696
Thanks to the many technical staff from our and other SDs who worked to come up with this solution.
An alternate but not suggested route into bcesis is http://www.bcesis.isw-bc.ca/
I suggest this today is it appears that isw-bc.ca has an issue. The ISW shares news about outages etc and I suggest normally using that route.
I received and exciting email from the Service Management Council for BCeSIS that is asking for open feedback from teachers on BCeSIS.
“We are asking each SMC representative in every district in the province to encourage teachers to send in suggestions and comments on BCeSIS to their SMC rep. Please compile these responses and send them on to the Executive.”
So here is the place to add suggestions and comments regarding BCeSIS…
I’ll start below. Use the comment feature to add your thoughts!
Have a look at the following video for printing a single term on BCESIS reports.
Printing One Term of Report Cards for Secondary
There will be a structural change to how BCeSIS works on March 1st. Technology services will have more information shortly for how we plan on doing the upgrade. End users should expect no change in how BCeSIS looks. This upgrade is to allow proper functioning of BCeSIS on new operating systems and browsers.
How to videos on BCeSIS report card marks and comments are available at
Mike Clark and his amazing searching skills found a BCeSIS training guide from SD28 for secondary teachers.
You can download this on his department’s website at http://www.npss.prn.bc.ca/tfa/?p=36
Please note, all requests for help on BCeSIS should now be routed through the helpdesk.
www.prn.bc.ca > click on Intranet > click on Helpdesk
If you are unfamiliar with the Helpdesk, the videos below may be helpful (need a computer with speakers)
How to enter BCeSIS Helpdesk Job Tickets (mov)
How to enter BCeSIS Helpdesk Job Tickets (avi)