With the use of technology on the rise, especially in a university setting, it’s becoming apparent that protecting your personal stuff from accidental loss is critical. Brock University Information Technology Services (ITS) is taking steps forward to help make Brock faculty, staff, students and guests aware of how to stay safe while using technology on the Internet and in their daily life.
On March 31, ITS launched the “Think” campaign to create security awareness across campus and beyond. The campaign is run by five IT specialists from Brock: Russ Fisenko, Brad Saxton, John D’Amico, Matthew O’Beirn and Andy Morgan.
“[We want] faculty, staff, students and guests to think before they click,” said Fisenko. ““Throwing sensitive files on a USB stick or in an email is convenient, but not always safe. It can lead to embarrassing security issues for the individual and the university if an unprotected file on a USB stick is misplaced or emailed to the wrong people.”
ITS will run different campaigns throughout the year with their “Think” campaign. The first campaign, Phishing, was launched back at the end of March and as recently as last week they launched the Encryption campaign.
“Phishing refers to the process where a targeted individual is contacted by email by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure the individual into providing sensitive information,” as posted on the Brock ITS website. Phishing is when someone is looking to steal your banking information, credit card details and passwords. You can go on the ITS website to find examples that have been reported to the department from actual Brock students and staff.
“Encryption is the process of making data unreadable by other humans or computers in order to prevent unauthorized people from gaining access to its content,” according to the Brock ITS website. A good rule of thumb is to encrypt all files before they go on a USB stick or email.
This campaign is to make people aware that adding a password to your sensitive data is important when moving from one medium to another. USB sticks are one of the easiest objects to lose and can have some valuable data such as, assignments, essays, presentations and study notes. The ITS department also says that Brock faculty, staff and students should add passwords to any files being sent over email and should communicate the password with the recipient(s) over the phone.
“This is like learning your ABC’s,” said Fisenko. “You learn to be safe with your use of technology now and can take it anywhere in the future.”
The department hopes that everyone around Brock will learn from the campaigns, become much more security aware and realize how easy it is to protect your data and identity. They are also confident faculty, staff and students will take what they learn from these campaigns and use it at home and post-graduation.
“It is about common sense,” said Saxton. “Think before you click.”
You can learn more about Phishing, Encryption and future campaigns by going to brocku.ca/information-technology/security. If you think you have been targeted or have any questions about how to better protect your data, please e-mail the Brock ITS department at firstname.lastname@example.org.