Posted October 16, 2007

Computer Services stresses cyber security


Every day, about 1.5 million e-mail messages bombard Temple accounts — and 1.1 million of them never make it to their destination. That’s not a bad thing.

In a world where junk and spam e-mails flood inboxes, Temple’s Computer Services works diligently to filter out harmful messages. It’s just one of the many ways to ensure faculty, staff and students are protected from “cyber attacks.”

With the onslaught of new online threats such as identity theft and spyware in addition to viruses, hackers and spam, engaging in safe online behavior is crucial, said Mark Freed, chief information security officer.

“The act of doing business on the Internet comes with risks, and it’s our job to be ready to protect the university community from them,” Freed said.

“But these problems, such as phishing and spam scams, are problems facing the world,” added Associate Director of Computer Services Seth Shestack.

That’s why Temple is taking part in Cyber Security Awareness Month, an international collaborative effort initiated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, as well as governments, major universities and the online industry to educate Internet users of all ages about safe online practices.

Computer Services hosted a booth at the Fall Fest and sponsored an online seminar on its web site earlier this month where users could talk with security consultants and receive safe-computing tips.

Based on the success of its “webinar,” the department will hold another on Oct. 23 at noon. Shestack said Computer Services hopes to learn about the issues troubling users so it can address concerns before they become serious problems.

The department also is holding information sessions twice a week on the second floor of the TECH Center, on Wednesday mornings (10 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and Thursday afternoons (12 p.m. to 2 p.m.) throughout the month. The sessions cover topics including identity theft, file sharing, safer social networking with MySpace and Facebook, and protecting your password, said Freed.

This year, in addition to the cyber security events, Computer Services is also encouraging students to take part in a scholarship competition introducing focused on information technology careers and IT security and control. The competition is sponsored by the local chapter of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association and will award $2,500 to the top prize winner.

For more details about cyber security and scholarship information, visit

Online security tips

Swear off peer-to-peer file sharing.

These programs can bypass your operating system’s security, putting your personal data at risk.

Update your system software.

Set up your computer to automatically obtain the latest software updates.

Change your AccessNet password frequently.

Create a password easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess.

Privacy counts.

Never share your password.

Smack down computer viruses.

Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know.

Can spam.

Be careful when giving out your e-mail address, unless you want to be bombarded with spam.

Don’t get hooked by phishing scams.

Beware of e-mail prompting you to update your account or other personal information.

Watch out for Instant Messenger viruses.

Never download a file from someone you don’t know.

Information provided by Computer Services.