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April 20, 2011

Information Security-Privacy Liaison network created

Goal is to promote and improve data security across the University

You are the center of security

What can you do to help?

Information security-privacy liaisons are a good resource for ways to protect the University from cyber attacks, but here are some steps that you can take to protect yourself at work and home.

  • Create strong passwords: an ideal password is complex, containing a mix of letters, numbers, and, when possible, symbols or punctuation.

  • Make sure your antivirus software and software patches are up to date.

  • Use only secure Internet connections, including wireless.

  • Encrypt data stored on mobile devices such as smart phones and flash drives.

  • Lock your computer screen when you leave it unattended.

Attempts to attack the University’s digital assets continue to grow in frequency and severity.

To improve institutionwide information security, President Joel Seligman and the cabinet prioritized key security initiatives that are currently being phased in.

One of these initiatives, the University firewall, currently blocks about 15 million intrusion attempts each day, with the Medical Center firewall blocking an additional 3 million daily intrusion attempts. Significant progress has been made, but much remains to be done, as cybercriminals are unrelenting in their attacks.

The University’s Data Security Task Force has started a new program to help expedite the implementation of the security initiatives.

Employees from several units and divisions have been selected to serve as Information Security Liaisons. The network of security liaisons will work with the University’s chief information security officers, Julie Myers and Mike McClure, to help evaluate and improve areas of security risk and communicate any necessary changes that will affect employees.

The Medical Center has also appointed privacy liaisons to work with Pat Beato, the Medical Center’s chief privacy officer. The Medical Center is leveraging its existing network of HIPAA security officials and privacy officers for these efforts.

The liaison network kicked into action earlier this month, quickly communicating information about the need for additional security controls around remote access. 

“We know that attackers scan our networks every day,” explains Julie Myers, University chief information security officer. “These additional security controls blocked over 300,000 intrusion attempts in just one day. The liaison network allowed us to reach all affected users within a very short time frame.”

listing of liaisonsThe task force reminds the University community that information security and privacy is everyone’s responsibility. Regardless of the work you do, the security of your electronic devices affects the entire network and the security of your information.

Plans are to extend the number of liaisons to the department level for larger   departments to ensure that all employees are reached effectively.

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