UD called 'epicenter' of 2008 presidential race

Refreshed look for 'UDaily'

Fire safety training held for Residence Life staff

New Enrollment Services Building open for business

UD Outdoor Pool encourages kids to do summer reading

UD in the News

UD alumnus Biden selected as vice presidential candidate

Top Obama and McCain strategists are UD alums

Campanella named alumni relations director

Alum trains elephants at Busch Gardens

Police investigate robbery of student

UD delegation promotes basketball in India

Students showcase summer service-learning projects

First UD McNair Ph.D. delivers keynote address

Research symposium spotlights undergraduates

Steiner named associate provost for interdisciplinary research initiatives

More news on UDaily

Subscribe to UDaily's email services

UDaily is produced by the Office of Public Relations
150 South College Ave.
Newark, DE 19716-2701
(302) 831-2791

Cybersecurity Awareness: Protect PNPI

Editor's note: This the fourth in a series of articles in observance of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

3:17 p.m., Oct. 23, 2006--During October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the University's Office of Information Technologies (IT) has been reminding the University community of the importance of following good computer security practices.

“Everyone should examine their computing practices and take appropriate steps to protect their computers and the information they have stored on those computers,” Susan Foster, vice president for IT, said. “This week's point of emphasis is particularly important: We're reminding people to follow the University's guidelines for securing personal, nonpublic information (PNPI) and other confidential information.”

“This week's video tip reminds people to encrypt any PNPI stored on their computers and reminds people to be suspicious of e-mail messages or web sites that ask for more personal information than seems reasonable,” Ron Nichols, manager in IT-User Services, said. All of the University's National Cybersecurity Awareness Month videos are available at [www.udel.edu/ncam].

Related stories

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybersecurity Awareness: Passwords

Cybersecurity Awareness: Social Networking Sites

Cybersecurity Awareness: Protect PNPI

Cybersecurity Awareness: Beware of Spyware

“During the summer and fall of 2005, our staff visited every department and reminded them of the importance of safeguarding personal and confidential information,” Kate Webster, an information resource consultant in IT-User Services, said. “When our staff make office calls to help people, we still sometimes find unencrypted PNPI on a department's computers--not just an individual employee's information, but information about students, clients, faculty and other employees.”

According to Karl Hassler, associate director of IT-Network and Systems Services, PNPI includes things such as social security numbers, credit card or bank account information, medical or counseling records, grades and other educational records, and “any sensitive or protected data linked to people's names.”

“Perhaps the greatest threat to the security of PNPI and other confidential information is an unsecured, nonpassword-protected, or compromised computer with access to that kind of information,” Hassler said.

The University's guidelines for protecting PNPI are listed at [www.udel.edu/pnpi/guid.html].

In summary, the University requires that:

  • Any PNPI transmitted electronically be encrypted;
  • Whenever possible, PNPI not be stored locally;
  • When PNPI is stored on an individual faculty or staff member's computer or storage device (e.g., a USB “key drive”) that that information be encrypted.

“Encryption and basic computer security--keeping anti-virus, anti-spyware, operating system, and all programs up-to-date--are the keys to securing electronic confidential information,” Webster said.

“Encrypting information with a program like AxCrypt jumbles the information so that only those people who have the key or password can see the information,” she added. “If you ever have to take confidential data off campus, it is essential that you encrypt the data. What if your computer is stolen or you leave the USB drive that contains the data on an airplane? Encrypting the information keeps it safe in cases like these.”

Foster concluded that, “All of the things we've been telling the University community this month require action. That is, University students and employees need to understand that keeping their computers and information safe requires everybody to take an active role.

“So, this week, we ask all students to handle their own confidential information carefully, and we remind all faculty and staff that it is each department's and each individual employee's responsibility to be sure that any PNPI is handled safely, transmitted securely and stored securely.”

For more information, visit:

IT-Help Center's Cybersecurity Awareness Calendar [www.udel.edu/security/october.html]

UD's Cybersecurity Awareness Videos

UD's PNPI web site

UD's Software Tools for Protecting PNPI

UD's Computer Security News and Alerts

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Computer Security at UD

UD's IT-Help Center

National Cyber Security Alliance

Federal Trade Commission's National Resource About ID Theft [www.consumer.gov/idtheft]

 E-mail this article

  Subscribe to UDaily

  Subscribe to crime alert e-mail notification