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Five things you should know about IT security at K-State

With the return of tens of thousands of students and arrival of thousands of new students, faculty, and staff, everyone needs to be reminded of the importance of protecting K-State’s information and technology resources. Here are five things about IT security that individuals need to be aware of as the semester begins:

  1. Never give your password to anyone in an e-mail message. Numerous different scam e-mails have been sent to K-Staters over the last eight months trying to trick people into replying with their eID password.  K-State IT support staff will never ask for your password in an e-mail, nor will any legitimate business or organization. If you get such an e-mail, just delete it.
  2. Learn to recognize scams, frauds, and other forms of malicious communications so you don’t become a victim of identity theft, financial fraud, or end up with a compromised computer. Criminals are using all kinds of new tricks and coming at you from all angles – e-mail, malicious links on web pages, Instant Messaging, social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, phone calls, and even knocking on your door. Be informed and think before you click!
  3. Use K-State’s free antivirus software on your Windows or Macintosh computer, which is required by policy if you are going to connect your computer to the K-State campus network, including the wireless network.
  4. Keep your computer AND your applications patched with the latest security patches. Just keeping your operating system, like Microsoft Windows, patched is no longer sufficient. Hackers are regularly targeting vulnerabilities in applications like Adobe Acrobat, QuickTime Player, RealAudio player, anti-virus software, web browsers, e-mail clients, and countless others. Where possible, configure applications to automatically check for and install updates.
  5. Do not use peer-to-peer (P2P) software to obtain or distribute licensed or copyrighted songs, movies, and/or software that you do not have the legal right to possess. It is against the law, against K-State policy, and it puts your computer at risk of being compromised since hackers now attach malicious programs to files obtained through P2P applications. Buy the CD or the song – don’t steal it!

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the security precautions people must take. Much more information about IT security is available on K-State’s IT security web site and K-State’s IT policy pages. Please visit these sites and become familiar with what is expected of you so you can function safely online and protect yourself, your colleagues, and K-State’s information resources.

About Harvard Townsend (harv@ksu.edu)

Chief Information Security Officer