Students offered more cyber education

October was National Cyber Security Month, and the university’s campaign focused on educating students on the dangers of the internet. However, Garyn Goldston, a senior strategic communication major, said he had seen the ads for cyber security around campus but did not know how to protect himself from cyber intrusion.

Goldston recently found out his identity had been stolen. He took a trip to Subway where he found out his credit cards had been maxed out. He went to his bank and learned credit card purchases had been made as far away as Detroit, Michigan and overseas.

Fortunately his bank, Bank of America, noticed strange purchases and closed his accounts. Goldston said he had no clue how his credit card information was distributed.

Lenelda Pennington, information security engineer, said she hoped to educate students about two of the major problems: phishing and spam. Phishing occurs when hackers try to gain users’ personal information including social security numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers. Spam is an e-mail loaded with advertisements.

Rachel Causey, sophomore English major, agreed with Goldston’s point of view about cyber security awareness. She said she remembered seeing an e-mail about cyber security.

“I’m pretty sure I just glanced over it,” Causey said.

Most people probably just deleted the e-mail, she said. Causey said students tend to use common sense when it comes to internet use and the cyber security ads had made her more conscious of cyber invasion.

“But I don’t know what phishing is,” she said.

Pennington said this year she offered students a poster and a video competition to draw attention to cyber security month. She also said representatives from the technology help desk went to sorority and fraternity monthly meetings to educate students about cyber safety.

Both Goldston and Causey said the university could promote cyber security awareness better.

Goldston said the university should make an awareness video for incoming freshman concerning cyber security, similar to those warning about sexual assault. Causey said cyber security ads should incorporate personal testimonies by students who have been hacked or severely damaged by cyber intrusion.

Megan Williams, a sophomore nursing major, offered a way for students to protect themselves from losing information in case of a viral invasion. She keeps her own portable hard drive that she updates monthly.

Hector Arellano , a senior electrical engineer major, said he believes the university is doing all it can to inform students of cyber security. It is up to students to use the information they are given.

Pennington said three main protocols can keep students safe on the web: Spybot, an anti-spam software, ComboFix, a malware detector and Sophos, an antivirus program.

Students should not click on links embedded within e-mails, she said. If an e-mail asks recipients to go to visit a website, students should copy and paste the address into the web browser rather than clinking the link, which may be fake, she said. Pennington also encouraged students to use different passwords for different accounts and beware of freeware, which is software available for download for free. Finally, she said to look for “https” in the front of the web address because that is more secure than “http”.

“Think before you do anything,” she said.

Visit TCU’s Technology Resources site for more information on tips for cyber security.