A recent stolen laptop incident in Oklahoma City underscores the importance of regularly backing up your laptop’s data files. A husband-wife team of cancer researchers at the University of Oklahoma went into a Panera restaurant for a bite to eat and came out to discover their car window shattered and their laptop gone. That’s disheartening enough, but the laptop contained years of research data accumulated in their search for a cure for prostate cancer.
It gets worse — an article about the incident states: “Unfortunately, most of the data was never backed up, a mistake Shin said could be a major setback in the fight against cancer.”
Continue reading “Back up your laptop!”
K-State broke a record in 2010, but it is not a record to be proud of: 445 K-Staters were tricked into giving away their passwords to criminals in response to spear-phishing scam e-mails. The criminals then used the stolen information to sign in to webmail and send thousands of spam messages.
Obviously, the first thing on this semester’s top-six security list must be:
- Never give your password to anyone in an e-mail message! K-State was plagued by 406 instances of phishing scams in 2010 (compared to 296 in 2009) that try to trick people into replying with their eID password. The hackers responsible for these scams are relentless! If you remember this one simple rule, you can prevent becoming a victim: 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. The same holds if you get an email with a link to a web form that asks you to fill in your username and password – don’t do it!
Continue reading “Six things you need to know about IT security at K-State”
K-State and the surrounding neighborhoods have seen a significant number of laptop thefts in 2010. K-Staters need to take precautions to prevent opportunistic theft and protect K-State and personal information when computers are stolen.
- Never leave a mobile device unattended and unsecured, even if it’s in your office or behind a closed door. (Laptops have been stolen in less than a minute, when students went down the hall or employees stepped out of the office just for a moment.) Continue reading “Laptop thefts increasing”
An increase in thefts of laptop computers from K-State offices, labs, and classrooms over the past few months point to a need for K-State faculty, staff, and students to be more diligent about protecting their laptops and the data stored on them. Virtually every theft was opportunistic, made easy by people leaving unsecured laptops in plain sight in an office, lab, or residence hall room with the door left open.
One campus theft recorded by a video surveillance camera showed that it only took six seconds for the thief to unplug the computer and make off with the power adapter and laptop. SIX SECONDS! Fortunately in this case, the criminal was identified from the video and the laptop was recovered, but not before it was reformatted and the student’s term paper lost. We were lucky in this case, since most stolen laptops are not recovered.
We make it too easy
The vast majority of these thefts are “thefts of opportunity” that are easily prevented.
- In a case this past week, a laptop was stolen from an office when a faculty member left for just a few minutes and left the door open.
- Two others (belonging to visitors to campus) were stolen recently from an unlocked classroom being used for a continuing education workshop.
- Three others were stolen from a common student office area that was unlocked.
Continue reading “Increased laptop thefts on campus are wake-up call”
Q. My student just got their eID. How soon will it be activated?
Q. How many students are using laptops in classes?
- In the residence halls, about 98 percent of students have laptops.
- Less than 25 percent of K-State students overall are using laptops in classes.
- More students are starting to use laptops in K-State’s technology classrooms.
Q. Will K-State faculty/staff ever ask for my student’s eID password?
Never in an e-mail, and only rarely under other circumstances. The IT Help Desk or any IT staff member would only ask for the password as a last resort or in an extreme situation to get the user up and running as soon as possible — and only when the user has initiated the request for help.
Q. How are security cables used to protect laptops?
Continue reading “Q/A: Parents' IT questions at New Student Orientation”
The “Traveling Safely” PowerPoint presentation from the IT security roundtable May 7 has been added to the other presentations available on the IT security roundtable website. Harvard Townsend, K-State’s chief information security officer, offers information that’s also good for those staying home — such as the latest security risks and safety guidelines for using:
- Public kiosks and computers (including libraries)
- USB flash drives
- Internet cafes
- WiFi hot spots
IT crime statistics
Townsend’s presentation noted that ATM fraud is “rampant in Europe” and is also a growing threat in the U.S., with annual loss estimated at $1 billion/year, or $350,000 per day.
Laptop thefts remain a big concern. Six laptops have been stolen on the K-State campus this year (2010), Townsend said. An estimated 16,000 laptops per week are lost or stolen in airports (U.S. and Europe).
Continue reading “IT security: "Traveling Safely" PowerPoint slides from May 7 roundtable”
The June IT security roundtable will be 9-10:30 a.m. this Friday, June 5, in Union 213 on PGP Whole Disk Encryption software. Josh McCune, network security analyst, will give a presentation and facilitate the discussion.
You may recall the presentation on this topic back in December. We are ready to begin rolling out this software to those who purchased it. There will be a recap about what the software is and why it’s necessary, followed by a demonstration of the installation procedure. Departmental support personnel who will be responsible for installing this software are encouraged to attend, as well as server administrators who will be running their own instance of PGP Universal Server. The IT security roundtable is sponsored by SIRT and is open to everyone.