How to Protect University Information -- and Your Own

October 13, 2008 — Karen McDowell, a security specialist in the IT Security and Policy Department at the University of Virginia, wants you to know how to fend off cyber attacks and keep sensitive information private — the University's as well as your own.

The University enacted a policy earlier this year that strictly defines sensitive data and how to keep it safe, she said. New software programs that scan for sensitive data and permanently delete – or "shred" — unwanted data are available.

As part of Cyber Security Month, McDowell will speak to faculty and staff Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. in Newcomb Hall South Meeting Room on the topic. "Threats to the security and privacy of electronic data are a serious problem" worldwide, she said.

McDowell said this first presentation was scheduled purposely on a Reading Day to give faculty and staff more opportunity to attend.

Topics to be covered are:

•    Specific responsibilities faculty and staff have for protecting highly sensitive University data and available tools for fulfilling those responsibilities

•    Threats to office and home computers, and to University and personal data

•    Simple steps that guard against these threats.

Registration is not required. Light lunch and a door prize for participants will be provided. The presentation will be repeated on Oct. 30 from 1 to 2 p.m., also in Newcomb Hall South Meeting Room.