SDSU participates in Cyber Security Awareness Month

Faith Moldan

Faith Moldan

How safe is your computer? Many people are unaware of just how vunerable they are when using their computer.

Cyber Security Awareness Month is a national collaborative effort by the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Trade Commission, state governments, major universites, and the Internet industry. The month is intended to educate Internet users of all ages about safe online practices, according to Patricia Edler of SDSU’s Chief Information Technology Office.

To promote cyber security at SDSU, the Chief Information Technology Office hosted a booth in the Student Union Oct. 20 with members of SDSU’s Information Technology (IT) Security Team. Staff passed out information and answered questions. Free copies of Symantec Anti-Virus software were also passed out to students.

Besides the valuable information and software, students were also able to register for a chance to win prizes. Taylor Wilson won an iPod Mini, while Luke Schuetzle, Kelsey Wutkke and Adam Ludemann won of 256MB jump drives.

“This is the first year that SDSU has participated in Cyber Security Awareness Month, and its target audience is students,” Edler said.

Edler said she thinks it’s good for students to know how to protect themselves. Some of the statistics on identity theft and other online offenses are scary.

Nearly seven million people were victims of identity theft in 2003. Average victims of identity theft spend 600 hours and $16,000 recovering from it.

Another online problem, phishing, is a form of identity theft that uses e-mails and fraudulent Web sites designed to fool a person into giving away their personal information. E-mails of this type often appear to come from companies like eBay or Wells Fargo.

There are steps to prevent each of these. It is also important to know that your computer may start showing signs when it has been compromised. These signs include the computer running very slowly, being suddenly unable to connect to the Internet, the operating system or software programs constantly crashing, and software “starting” or installing itself.

See the side bar for more information on protecting your computer.

More information for students is available online at or by calling the Support Desk at 688-6776.

Cyber Security Awareness Tips

* Guard your Social Security and credit card numbers, user names and passwords.

* Don’t give out personal information online, unless on secured sites.

* Never e-mail or IM personal information.

* Shred any discarded documents that have personal information on them.

* Type URLs into the browser rather than clicking on the link provided.

* Install anti-virus software.

* Periodically run Spyware removal tools.

* Routinely back up important documents and files.