Students’ Internet safety a priority

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    Internet users beware.A crime prevention talk was held on campus Wednesday to address the issues of Internet safety of students.

    Jim Mayne, TCU’s network security engineer, and Dick Rinewalt, an associate professor of computer science, were both on hand to offer guidelines for students to avoid dangers on the Internet.

    “With the rise of fraud, identity theft and other threats on the Internet, TCU wants to make sure students are aware of the amount of information they make available to the public,” Rinewalt said.

    Rinewalt said it is always a good idea to have two e-mail addresses – one that you have important information sent to and another that is more like a “dummy” address that spam might be sent to.

    “Identity theft is also a big issue that has become more of an issue in the last couple of years,” Rinewalt said. “Students must be aware of the financial and personal information they provide on the Internet.”

    Rinewalt also made the point about e-mail and the embedded links that it may contain.

    “Sometimes if you receive an e-mail from a bank or a service like PayPal, and they contain links to Web sites, don’t ever click on the direct link,” Rinewalt said. “The links in the e-mail can actually have different underlying HTML addresses that can connect you to a virus instead of the link.”

    Mayne gave students a set of basic guidelines to follow for safe Internet use: Install operating and third party patches; use anti-virus software that is up to date; choose hard to guess passwords and protect them; lock the computer; backup important files regularly; use caution when opening e-mail attachments; look out for spyware; protect private information; maintain the physical security of the computer and stay up to date and involved.

    Both Rinewalt and Mayne said they agreed that Facebook is also a growing issue of privacy concerns.

    “With over five million users, students need to make sure that the information they put on their profiles is something they don’t mind anyone knowing,” Rinewalt said.

    Kat Barseth, a junior kinesiology major, said she was interested in the meeting because the Internet is something she uses frequently and wants to make sure her identity is protected.

    “I thought it was really interesting what they said about the fact that employers can now search an employee before hiring them with anything on the Internet,” Barseth said.