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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Online safety a concern for new students

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Jordin O’Connor
Jordin O’Connor / Arizona Daily Wildcat Photo Illustration of Kelley Bogart

A new semester comes with new online safety concerns, and while University Information Technology Services does implement programs to help keep students aware of the risks, the university environment serves as a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in getting their hands on personal information. Because of the wide variety of threats, it is important for students to learn about the key tools and resources available on campus, according to Kelley Bogart, senior information security analyst with the UA Information Security Office.

The Information Security Office is responsible for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information and computer resources, Bogart said.

“We have all the data that a hacker would want at a university,” Bogart said. “Our department educates campus at different levels, but the students are a population where we’d like to get more going on.”

One of Bogart’s main recommendations is the use of UA Wi-Fi on campus, rather than public Internet. Although students must go through a process to connect, this would provide greater security, she said.

Incoming freshman learned how to connect to the secure Wi-Fi at their UA Clicks meeting, according to Tyler Kelley, an undeclared freshman. They were also told about phishing, a form of Internet fraud involving the theft of personal information, and the need to be careful when opening certain emails.

Despite the information provided at the meeting, some students believe there should be more information available to others who aren’t fully aware of online dangers.

“I feel like people generally know about online dangers,” Kelley said. “But it’d still be nice for those students who don’t know as much to have a place to visit to get more information.”

The UA Information and Security Office website provides a “Top Ten Keys to Security” page, as well as technical cyber security alerts. A variety of links help keep students, staff and faculty/researchers up to date on security threats and recommendations.

Another place where students or anyone interested can learn about online safety is the Better Business Bureau, which provides some safety articles regarding keeping electronics and private information safe.

Identity theft is a main concern for the Bureau, as college students as a demographic are usually slow to realize when their identity has been stolen, according to Nick LaFleur, the Bureau’s Tucson spokesman.

“I’ve had cases where people graduate from college and they look at their credit report and there is a mortgage out,” LaFleur said. “We want people to be really careful.”

Although students can learn about online threats and safety precautions through these websites, there is some concern that there are not enough resources out there to make students aware.

Information and security officers are invited to speak with certain classes, and some will attend Family Weekend and run a tent on the UA Mall. Aside from that, there is not much else put out there, Bogart said.

“I would challenge students to call and tell us how we can get out there more,” Bogart said. “Invite us to your groups and organizations. We’re always looking for opportunities to get out there.”

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