Group raises cyber security awareness
In honor of National Cyber Security Awareness month, UH and UIT are working on-campus and system wide to promote safe computing practices.
UIT has launched several initiatives to educate faculty, staff and students about the many threats that are posed in the everyday use of the Internet.
With a growing dependence on information technology, the threat to that information looms.
Interim executive director for UIT Security and UH’s chief information security office Mary Dickerson said she feels the biggest risks students take are not properly securing computers and posting personal information online.
“We need to make sure that our computer anti-virus software is up to date and that we are not posting a lot of information on public websites,” Dickerson said. “We just need to be more aware of the things we are doing to properly protect ourselves.”
All month long, UIT representatives have been meeting with various groups on campus and carrying out presentations that stress the importance of cyber safety, including the Cyber Security Video Contest that will be launched later this month.
“Students can create videos that they can enter into the local contest that we are having here on campus, and then the winner here will be entered into the national contest,” Dickerson said.
UIT also sponsored a tech conference, which included several different sessions on social networking safety and Facebook settings, cyber safety at home and work and ways to download music safely.
Many of these resources have been made available on the UIT Security website. Other programs being launched soon are the computer safety training for students and the green initiative that alerts web users that they are on an authorized UH website when they see a green bar on the page.
Pre-Optometry student Megha Parikh said that one of the biggest dangers of phishing is identity theft.
“Students are at a bigger risk, because they have to use the Internet all the time now,” Parikh said.
Dickerson said that among all the threats out there, reports of phishing are constantly coming into the UIT Security Office.
“Phishing is one of the biggest problems that we have. It’s one of the reasons why we are going with the green bar,” Dickerson said. “If it is not an official UH site, it will not have the green bar.”
National Cyber Security Awareness month, observed in October, is a national campaign sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and nationally endorsed by UH.
More information about NCSA and cyber safety can be found at http://www.uh.edu/infotech/security.
The website offers students a list of tips and includes free downloads for free anti-virus software, VPN and Identity Finder security.
For a visual lesson, students can watch videos to learn safe computing habits.
“We’ve gotten very good as a society about being aware of our physical safety,” Dickerson said. “But we don’t necessarily take precautions when it comes to our online safety.”