Information Security asks UIS community protect their computers

UIS+Information+Technology+Services+can+be+found+in+the+lower+level+of+Brookens

Photographs courtesy of Megan Swett

UIS Information Technology Services can be found in the lower level of Brookens

UIS’s Information Security team is encouraging the community to be proactive in their own security considering recent high-profile identity theft hacks like the credit monitor, Equifax.

“The Equifax breach affected individuals across the board. Everyone needs to realize that while security, as method of reducing risk, has a significant role to play in data protection, security is everyone’s shared responsibility,” said Clayton Bellot, an Information Security Specialist for UIS.

The University has been proactive in updating security protocols well before these hacks, bringing new guidelines for both protecting identity and for virus prevention before the Campus senate last spring.

“Simply put, the security guidelines are a set of strategic practices or controls that are implemented to help reduce the overall level of risk to the university,” said Bellot. “These guidelines just help identify what security refers to as implementing ‘Best Practices.’”

Among these ‘best practices’ include mandating community members install anti-virus, anti-malware, or other security software, and update them frequently.

However, according to Bellot, safety requires proactive effort.

“Policies can be written, security tools purchased or developed, and education campaigns adopted, but if the individual (student or employee from any level) doesn’t do their part, a breach ‘will’ eventually occur,” he said.

On the easy-side, members of the UIS community can ensure they have proper security software.  MalwareBytes and Microsoft Security Essentials for PC users and Avira for those with Macs can all be acquired for free.

On the costlier side, the operating software on the computer itself should be relatively new. For example, if you’re still running Windows XP or Vista, you may be missing important security updates or even support from Microsoft. Bellot urged Mac users to upgrade anything to OS 10.10.x or higher.

However, most of the computers on the market today are sold with current operating systems, so unless the computer is over a decade old, this may not be a concern.

Should all else fail, the University offers the Box, which is a cloud based storage software like Google Drive, iCloud, and Microsoft One Drive. While it won’t protect against identity theft, it can be a way to back up precious data in the event malware takes hold of your computer.

The University’s Security Services department also provides some help too, setting up security on university-owned computers and sending out e-mail alerts if a dangerous or fraudulent e-mail is going around.

Bellot encourages all students to become familiar with and adopt basic security best practices, such as those listed on their website:  www.uis.edu/informationtechnologyservices/security/bestpractices/. He also welcomes further questions and comments which can be sent to [email protected] .