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Employees urged to be vigilant during Cyber Security Awareness Month

The recent news story about vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's e-mail being hacked should serve as a reminder not only that campaign season is in full swing, but that everyone needs to be vigilant when it comes to data security.

Julie Fugett, systems analyst with Information Services, her colleagues and the KU Privacy Office, say October, Cyber Security Awareness Month, is a perfect time for KU employees to be aware the importance of information security.

"Privacy and security go hand in hand," said Jane Rosenthal, privacy coordinator. "By taking sound measures to increase cyber security, everyone can help protect the privacy of the information we work with here at KU."

IS is hosting a series of events with various campus units about data handling and encryption, and is offering the sessions to any department that would like to host such a presentation. The office is also hosting a pair of workshops on best practices/ security awareness and computer system hardening. The former is taking place at 3 p.m. Oct. 8 and the latter will be held at 10 a.m. Oct. 24. Both will be in the Budig Instruction Lab and are open to all faculty and staff. The staff is available to make the presentations throughout the year.

Naturally, IT has taken the security topic to the Web. A wealth of online resources exists to help users be secure. Fugett writes a blog, www.beseKUre.ku.edu, posts articles on security at www.twitter.com/besekure and started the Be Sekure Facebook group. Fugett said the sites offer easy to understand information for all computer users, and give tips on security that don't take a tech professional to implement. There are also security tips at www.privacy.ku.edu and KU's information management policy is online at www.provost.ku.edu/policy/ infomanagement. Information policies are also available at www.policy.ku.edu.

IT Security can also answer information safety questions. Questions can be directed to itsec@ku.edu or 864-9003.

Fugett said that information security may sound daunting, but everyone can easily make a difference.

"It's not necessary to have a ton of super technical knowledge to be secure. The best advice I can give people is to be skeptical and don't be afraid to ask questions."

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The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).