You've heard the story: the son of a deposed king sends an email asking for help accessing a fortune he can't claim due to political circumstances with a promise to share a substantial percentage of the proceeds in return for the recipient's assistance. Known as the '419' scam, named for the article of the Criminal Code on "obtaining property by false pretenses," this modern day fraud is a confidence trick that actually dates back to the early 1980's. Lampooned in movies, TV shows and music, most of us have heard of the 419 Bank scam and laugh at its ridiculousness.
It's a crime...
But what about a solicitation asking for donations to help the victims of 9-11? Or selling something through Craigslist to a buyer offering payment with a money order? Or buying an exotic pet from a foreign country? There are as many variations of this con game as there are victims who fall for them, often with devastating financial and emotional results.
Because October is Cyber Security Awareness month, we thought we'd highlight what YOU need to know to keep yourself and your identity safe.
The Internet is a shared resource and securing it is our shared responsibility.
We are online at work, home and at play. In addition to laptop or desktop computers, mobile devices of all types connect us to useful Internet resources and tools almost everywhere and at anytime. Online banking, GPS tracking and E-mail are but a few examples of how the Internet supports our daily lives through the integration of technology.
Ultimately though, our cyber infrastructure is only as strong as our weakest link. No government entity, business or individual is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Everyone has a role to secure their part of cyberspace, including the computers, devices and networks they use. Consider the recent 'Here You Have' global E-mail virus that crippled hundreds of organizations including NASA, Comcast, AIG, Disney, Wells Fargo and the Florida Department of Transportation. All it took was one inattentive E-mail user to infect the entire organization. OTS is proud to note employees were aware of the virus ahead of time and because Lone Star preemptively blocked it, we successfully avoided the chaos experienced by so many.
The Office of Technology Services protects Lone Star's network and the many resources connected to it in a number of ways:
- Firewalls – an electronic brick wall – keeps hackers from intruding
- Computers have industry-standard anti-virus software installed with regular updates
- Encryption software is installed on the laptops of staff who regularly travel to meetings
- Monitoring systems are in place to detect potential threats
All of this is necessary and vital to the protection of our resources and the data we maintain on employees and students. But again, it is a shared responsibility. Employees must be vigilant – don't fall for phishing attempts that request your username and password. NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR PASSWORD – EVER. Ask OTS whether that suspicious E-mail is legitimate. Report any behavior that doesn't "look right," you just might nab someone stealing identities! And never leave your laptop unattended in your car or when traveling!
Guarding against virus attacks by not responding to suspicious E-mail messages is one way to protect yourself and Lone Star from security breaches. Here's a list of other things you can do at home to protect against cyber attacks:
- Install security software on your home computer
- Keep your web browsers and operating system up to date
- Use strong passwords or strong authentication technology to help protect your personal information
- Back up important files
- Know who you are dealing with online
- Protect your children in cyberspace
We strive to create and maintain the most secure technology infrastructure possible and help you to be aware of the threats and provide the tools and assistance you need to protect against them.
Cyber Security is everyone's job!