What is Information Technology Security Awareness?

Computer and network vulnerabilities can compromise your data and take control of your systems. Every day more of these vulnerabilities are found, particularly through the open systems philosophy of university networks. Difficulty in finding and prosecuting hackers has resulted in comparisons between the Internet and the Wild West. Fortunately, vast improvements in security can be gained by following a few simple guidelines presented at ITSA Day.

Every year, the UF Information Technology (UFIT) division sponsors a day dedicated to expanding awareness of information security issues and to sharing tips that can be used to improve both personal and university security and data privacy. The event is scheduled each October as part of national information security awareness month activities.

Why you should care about information technology security:

Computer security is an important issue for faculty, staff and students. Due to the increasing reliance on computers and networks to compose, store and transmit information, anyone could be targeted. Corporations and the U.S. Government are also relying on new technology have, because of inadequate precautions, suffered enormous losses from hackers and industrial espionage. According to a study by the Computer Security Institute and the FBI, corporate losses from computer crime totaled $136 million in 1997, an increase of 36% from 1996. In addition to monetary crimes, some are concerned that terrorists will mimic groups of thrill-seeking teenagers who have hacked into air traffic control systems, cancer treatment data banks and high-level government and military computers.

A group of National Security Agency computer specialists highlighted this vulnerability in a 1997 exercise where they accessed, and could have shut down, both the U.S. military’s Pacific Command infrastructure as well as the entire electrical power grid in the United States. To insure the availability, integrity and reliability of computer systems and electronic data at the University of Florida, it is important to protect these systems and associated data from inadvertent or purposeful corruption, misuse or invasion and catastrophic loss.

The integrity of research data, class papers and the privacy of certain information require many steps in order for these areas to remain uncompromised. ITSA is determined to provide faculty, staff and students the necessary information to take such steps, be they physical protections, wise operating practices or sophisticated configurable hardware and software combinations.

Who should attend ITSA Day?

  • LAN Administrators
  • Web Administrators
  • Department Chairs
  • Unit Directors
  • All staff, faculty, students and others interested in the legal aspects of data protection.