With the fall semester
under way, Information Technology Services (ITS)
is sharing some “rules of the
road” with the campus community regarding computer
Although the University-licensed desktop software
Symantec Anti-Virus is now configured to automatically
update itself for new virus protection every day,
ITS offers additional protections including user
awareness, stricter border controls, and new computer
“Some of the measures may seem inconvenient,
but together they form a multiple-layer scheme that
balances protection with usability to keep our information,
our computer systems, and our identities safe,” says
Jane Drews, IT security officer.
“User awareness” means never opening
a file that’s attached to an e-mail unless
you know the sender and are expecting the attachment;
never clicking on any links in an unsolicited commercial
e-mail; never believing official-looking e-mails
from banks or other companies that say you must enter
or confirm account or other personal information
using a link sent in the message; always keeping
the programs on your desktop up-to-date; and always
knowing who provides support for your computer and
how to reach him or her.
“Stricter border controls” refers to
the fact that suspicious file attachments are automatically
being stripped from e-mail messages coming in to
the University. For example, file attachments with
names that indicate they are “executable” are
considered suspicious and are being removed to reduce
the chance of new viruses and worms entering campus
e-mail accounts. Additionally, programs are being
developed to automatically discard e-mail rated at
a “very high” probability of being spam.
Users will have the option to choose the amount of
spam they are comfortable receiving.
“New computer support tools” signifies
that Windows desktop computers can be subscribed
to the campus System Management Service by their
department’s computer support personnel, so
critical software updates can be distributed to their
computer in an organized, efficient, and timely manner.
Also, important configuration changes, such as turning
on the Windows “firewall” (i.e., network
protection program) or a Windows “pop-up blocker,” can
be applied for you.
Some viruses, worms, and “bots” (a.k.a.
robot attack programs) will spread to computers through
the Internet without user interaction. ITS will continue
to develop more protections to help keep campus computers
and information safe.