Library Gazette

Information Sec_rity is not complete without U!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 5:17 pm

Travis, Kristen and I went over to the IS offices in the UCC to attend the Information Security session offered by IS today. The program was a basic session on how to ensure that your data, (and the University’s data) remains secure. Sarah Wojic (from IS) led the presentation, and Mike Rollins, (also from IS) was in attendance.

The acronym CIA was used to present the three major principles of Information Security. They are:
–Confidentiality: preventing disclosure to unauthorized users
–Integrity: preventing the misuse of important data files
–Availability: still making the data available to everyone that has a legitimate need.
Mike suggested that while some may say that an unplugged computer is the safest computer, it doesn’t allow for accessing any data, so it doesn’t meet the third principle of Information Security. Information Security is interested in maximizing and balancing all three.

There was discussion about the ways we can ensure the physical security of our computers including:
–locking computer with a cable lock even in your office. (I was reminded to do this and did so upon returning to my office.)
–never leave your laptop unattended. (More on this later)
–when you take your laptop home with you, carry it discretely in a bag that doesn’t shout out “my laptop with lots of data is in here!”
–put it in the trunk if you aren’t going straight home.

Ways to secure data include:
–not letting others, (including your kids or spouse) use your laptop. The laptop is for your use only.
–don’t post passwords on, in, or near your computer and change passwords often
–lock your desktop before leaving your computer, even if you’ll just be gone a minute.
–save sensitive data to a network drive.
–use the VPN client when off campus
–don’t print anything unless absolutely necessary, and then afterward, shred it.
–don’t respond to any phishing emails, but do report them to
–only open attachments that you are expecting or that are from people you know.

To illustrate the points, she utilized some entertaining video clips showing Wake Forest people acting at their worst and then at their best. During the Q and A at the end, Travis asked if students were given this same level of training before they get their laptops. No one in the room knew for sure, except that they are expected to sign the University Ethical Use policy, (which deals more with not violating copyright, not downloading illegal software and such.) Travis then related the experience we see in the library with students frequently leaving their laptops unattended, perhaps because they feel so comfortable here. Sarah was quite shocked, and Mike said that when they pick up their laptops, it is suggested to them that they use cable locks but that cable locks are not issued as a part of the laptop. No real result came of that, but hopefully it reminded those in IS that the message on information security needs to extend beyond the faculty and staff of the institution to include the students.

2 Responses to “Information Sec_rity is not complete without U!”

  1. Great report Mary Beth!

    I can confirm that as part of the online Technology@WFU program the freshmen are told to lock that laptop. I’ve pasted the text content from the “Care of the ThinkPad” portion of the program below:

    (these stats were for 2008-2009, but they are very telling!)


    Security and Insurance Deductibles for Students

    Wake Forest University provides insurance for all University-owned ThinkPads.
    There is a deductible for each incident of damage or theft.
    The deductible is the responsibility of the student, and is subject to change.

    * The deductibles for damage can be as much as $500.
    * The deductible for loss or theft is $750.
    * If you purchased ThinkPad insurance, it covers some of these deductibles, but not loss or theft! (1358 students purchased the optional ThinkPad insurance last year).
    * Do not leave the ThinkPad unattended.
    * Always secure the laptop with laptop lock.
    * Always carry the laptop in a padded case.

    Why You Need To Know This!

    In the past year WFU experienced:

    * 149 ThinkPads with cracked screens.
    * 146 Thinkpads with damage from liquid spills.
    * These users had to pay the $500 deductible.

    In the past year WFU experienced:

    * 15 stolen ThinkPads.
    * These users had to pay the $750 deductible.

  2. 1. I couldn’t help but hear voices from ThinkPad orientations past (about storing laptops in the trunk): “If you aren’t happy in your trunk, your ThinkPad won’t be happy in your trunk.” Can anyone guess who that quote cam from?
    2. I find it interesting to hear a recommendation that people back up sensitive data to a network drive in an environment that gives an embarrassingly small quota of storage space to staff and faculty. You can get much better storage anywhere else, and often for free.
    3. I am surprised that the people conducting this training would be unaware of the level of information we provide to incoming students. It’s a program that has been going on for at least 14-15 years and I can attest that students are given all the information on security! Giz (and before him, Roz) always focused on the importance of physical and data security!

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