U.Va. to Share Cyber Security Tips at Oct. 31 Event

Oct. 19, 2007 — The University of Virginia, one of the partners in the local "Who's Watching Charlottesville?" campaign to promote cyber-security awareness, will host an educational seminar, open to the public, on Oct. 31 from noon to 1 p.m. in Newcomb Hall, Room 389. This is the last of five "Who's Watching Charlottesville?" events this month highlighting National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

An information technology security expert from U.Va.'s Office of Information Technology and Communication will lead the one-hour presentation (snacks provided) dealing with phishing scams and smarter use of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

The campaign is a communitywide initiative (partners include the U.Va. Community Credit Union, the University of Virginia, the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Charlottesville City Schools, Albemarle County Schools and Piedmont Virginia Community College), in conjunction with the National Cyber Security Alliance, to help area residents learn how to better protect themselves online. 

The "Who's Watching Charlottesville?" Web site (www.whoswatchingcharlottesville.com) features short videos addressing computer security issues, such as preventing identity theft and the vulnerabilities of using a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

One of those videos, produced by U.Va., was recently lauded with a first-place award from the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group for University and College Computing Services. View that award-winning video at:

In another video, Brian Davis, an IT specialist at U.Va., reviews eight easy tips to protect yourself online: www.whoswatchingcharlottesville.com/videos/BrianDavis.mov

"Who's Watching Charlottesville?" cyber security tips include:


•  Be careful what you share. The guiding principle should be the "grandmother test": if you wouldn't want her to see it, then don't share it. Content that might seem amusing and harmless to you may not be seen in the same light by a future employer.

•  What happens on the Web, STAYS on the Web. Once something like an embarrassing photo is online, it's available to other people and to search engines. Even if you remove something later, someone may have already saved a copy of it, or it may be stored in the memory of a search engine.


•  Don't take your home wireless network's security for granted. Think of your home as just another place where your laptop or mobile device can be compromised.

•  Change your router's default wireless network name and administrator password. Every attacker knows these default passwords and names set by the manufacturer, making them easy targets.

• Position your wireless router near the center of your home. Placing the wireless access point as close to the center of your home as possible inhibits the signal's strength from extending far beyond your exterior walls.


•  Avoid being overconfident that you can identify phishing emails. Recent studies reveal that consumers significantly overestimate their ability to discern whether an email is fake or legitimate. Criminals are getting more savvy, and fake messages can now look very real. Even for experienced computer users, it can be hard to tell the difference, so err on the side of caution.
"Who's Watching Charlottesville?" Web site: