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Back to November 2013 ITS Newsletter

A Prayer of Awareness

By Dave Smallen

Argh!
Lord, hear my prayer!

In spite of numerous reminders to our community that you should NEVER EVER provide sensitive information (e.g., your password) in response to an unsolicited email, members of our community continue to fall for these (phishing) scams.

They know not what they do!

Every time one of these emails is sent to our campus there are faculty, staff and students who ignore this basic advice and compromise their computer accounts and the access they have to sensitive information.

Help me to help them!
This, I pray.
Amen!

Thus, the challenge of raising campus awareness of the importance of protecting sensitive information.

Sensitive information is any information that we collect from members of our community that we do not regularly release to the world through channels such as our website, social media and print publication.  Sensitive information is either protected by law (called confidential) or college policy.  Access to sensitive information is limited to people with a business “need-to-know.”  For example, faculty would need access to academic information about their advisees, some members of the admission office need access to applicant information to make decisions about whom to admit. 

The major goal of our information security efforts are to reduce the risk of sensitive information being accessed by unauthorized people.  We can never completely eliminate the risk, but we can substantially reduce it, only if each member of our community does his or her part.  While there are technical things we can do to reduce risk, it is awareness that is our best hope and biggest challenge – precisely because it deals with the most complex part of the system – people.

Lord, help them remember this one simple rule;
Never, ever, provide sensitive information in response to an unsolicited email,

(maybe if you have some extra time, help the Giants beat Dallas:<)
Amen, again.