In recognition of National Cyber Security Awareness Month this October, Computing and Information Services will be hosting several events to promote cyber safety in the Brown community. Presented by the Information Security Group, the events are organized to educate and help protect students from cyber crimes like online scams and identity theft.
CIS kicked off Cyber Security Awareness Month on Oct. 1 with a booth in the "Be Safe at Brown" event run by the Department of Public Safety. Students were able to play "Cy Bear Street Smarts" and win a variety of prizes. Other events include online tutorials, games, tools, videos and online contest quizzes offered weekly on different cyber safety topics, all available on ISG's Cyber Security Awareness Month Web site. If students complete the quiz correctly, they are entered into a raffle to win a free iPod at the end of the month.
Classes, called "Safe Computing Brown Bags," are also offered above Cafe Paragon on Thayer Street. Students are welcome to bring their lunch and learn about different cyber topics — with cookies provide by ISG. Topics covered during the month include laptop safety, virtual street smarts and securing wireless networks.
"The phrase ‘It's not secure without U' isn't just catchy, it's true" said Patricia Falcon, IT security policy and communication coordinator. Falcon added that each student has an "obligation to protect shared resources" and that while CIS can protect Brown's network "everyone must do their part as well."
David Sherry, chief information security officer, said that participating in Cyber Security Awareness Month will promote secure thinking among students. "If we have people thinking safely that is our best defense," he said.
Some students have experienced on-campus network security problems recently. A hacking incident occurred in Perkins Hall last weekend, Craig Chan '13 said, adding "just a few days ago other computers were being attacked in our dorm."
But student awareness of Cyber Security Awareness Month is low.
Rahul Banerjee '10, a student manager of the help desk consulting program, said, "I don't know any more about Cyber Awareness Month than any other student would."
Students interviewed by The Herald have responded positively to the online quizzes ISG offers, saying that the opportunity of a free iPod is a good incentive to get involved.
Falcon said that ISG hopes to raise student awareness through "ads in (The Herald), slides in the dining halls, Morning Mail messages and word-of-mouth."
Created in 2001 in response to a growing terrorist threat, the Department of Homeland Security along with the National Cyber Security Alliance began Cyber Security Awareness Month in order to encourage citizens to protect their identity and the nation's delicate cyber infrastructure, according to an e-mail Falcon wrote to The Herald. It has been extended to universities, businesses and home users.