Safety tips for the cyber world


    It is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and the university’s technology center is educating students on how to be safe with technology and the Internet to raise awareness of the dangers of the cyber world.

    Information security engineer Lenelda Pennington said the technology resources team is specifically trying to bring attention to phishing e-mails and links that appear in e-mails.

    Phishing is a scam in which people use trustworthy websites, like TCU’s, as a shield and acquire sensitive information such as user names, credit card information and passwords.

    Pennington said people are constantly trying to spoof the TCU website address, and some actually do trick users into giving their personal information.

    Some phishing e-mails have been sent that declared the receiver’s e-mail was too full, so he or she must click a specific link provided in the e-mail to solve the problem. The link then took the receiver to a site where he or she was asked to enter personal information that the site stored for alternative purposes.

    Most of the time the sites will use the information gathered for marketing, Pennington said, but there could be more severe outcomes.

    “Sometimes it is to get your social security number or your credit card number,” Pennington said. “In those cases, they actually charge things to your credit card.”

    She also said students should not click on links in e-mails but rather should copy and paste them in the web address bar. The links provided in the e-mails can take users to false sites or be used to access personal information.

    Junior kinesiology major Ross Van Allen said he had been caught, multiple times, illegally downloading items such as movies and anti-virus software. He said he was denied access from the Internet until he met with one of the assistant deans of campus life and had to send out e-mails of apology.

    Van Allen said he downloaded the anti-virus software because he felt the university’s free anti-virus software (available for all university students on and off campus) was inefficient and took up too much computer space.

    Sophomore mechanical engineer major Mathew Antony said he has never had cyber safety issues with the university’s Internet but wishes it would incorporate Google Chrome, a web browser developed by Google.

    “It’s a fast, safe and easy-to-use browser and is less buggy than the Internet Explorer that all the systems have right now,” Antony said.

    Keeping devices up to date, virus-free and locked with a password allows problems to weed themselves out without the user having to do anything and prevents unwanted persons from getting personal information, Pennington said.

    Pennington said if students, faculty or staff are receiving phishing e-mails, they should be reported to technology resources, so they can block those websites on the university’s server. The university’s security website  has examples of phishing websites from previously reported e-mails under the “alerts” section.

    Pennington said although these sites are blocked on campus, they are not prevented from being reached off campus.