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IT takes steps to promote cybersecurity

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IT takes steps to promote cybersecurity

Daniel Schwalm

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Loyola’s IT department is taking steps to ensure the security of computerized information by requiring faculty and staff to take a short Skillsoft online course on data protection, according to an email sent to faculty by the university.

The half-hour course, titled “Security Awareness for the End User,” provides an overview of techniques and practices that can be used to keep information safe online, particularly when it comes to protecting campus servers and email networks.

Joseph Locascio, senior director of information technology, said that by educating people about digital security, the IT department hopes to prevent email scams, hacking attempts and other threats.

The course is mostly a precautionary measure, according to Locascio.

“Knock on wood, we’ve never really been hacked,” Locascio said.

But he said the concern remains that user error will cause problems for the university.

“One of the big holes in any network is the users ,” Locascio said.

According to Paula Saurage-Ruiz, director of client services here at Loyola, the course “will explore why campus networks are targeted by hackers and the potential consequences a breach can have for end users and institutions.”

She urged users to be cautious with their information in order to protect themselves and the campus network as a whole. Locascio warned that hackers often aim to hijack campus email addresses and mailing lists in order to spread scams.

Loyola students have been reminded recently of the threat of such phishing scams, as campus police and other officials have warned about “Internet work at home scams” in recent universitywide emails.

Additionally. Gloria Cosenza, admissions counselor, said that her email was recently used in a phishing scam. These phishing attempts are a major concern addressed by the course.

Locascio said that there are plans in the works to expand the course to the student body as well.

“We’re gonna introduce it to the students in October,” Locascio said.

The deadline for course completion by faculty and staff members will be Nov. 2, when the university’s subscription to Skillsoft’s services expires.

There is some concern in the IT department, however, about how they will ensure that faculty actually take and complete the course.

“We’re saying it’s required, but we can’t really require you to take it,” Locascio said.

Locascio said the department is looking for outside help to spread awareness of cybersecurity issues.

“What I’d like to do is get the SGA involved,” Locascio said. “If they (users) can be the first line of defense, that helps a lot.”

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