IT promotes cyber safety in October

JUSTINA KAISER | CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Butler University’s Information Technology celebrates October’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month the way it celebrates every month—by promoting online safety.

Andrew Summers, a systems information analyst at IT, said the Help Desk plans to relate security information to students through social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. IT will also advertise cyber awareness on the Butler Connection and encourage students to use the resources it provides.

“(IT) is one of those things we almost don’t think about anymore,” Summers said. “We are so connected. We are online all the time (so) it almost kind of seems like magic.”

National Cyber Security Awareness Month was created in 2004 to encourage the “shared responsibility” online resources create, according to staysafeonline.org

Since then, it has been celebrated every October and gained the support of people and companies around the world. 

President Barack Obama released a proclamation Sept. 30 recognizing the importance of online safety. 

“(America’s) commitment to maintaining an open, secure and reliable cyberspace ensures the Internet will remain an engine for economic growth and a platform for the free exchange of ideas,” said the presidential proclamation.

Summers said IT has always promoted cyber security. 

Butler IT uses both external and internal firewalls, an intrusion prevention device, spam filters, anti-virus and malware software and the IT Help Desk’s team of students and faculty.

Michael Ketiku, a junior computer science major and a Help Desk employee, said he thought IT was almost like “exercise for the brain.”

“I’m interested in connections,” Ketiku said. “Connections not only between machinery, but connections between people.”

These connections were put in danger by various viruses, including the Heartbleed Bug last April. This virus was discovered worldwide. If it had penetrated the computer systems Butler used, it could have gained personal information from students and faculty.

IT sent out a campus-wide email last spring in response to Heartbleed. The email asked students to change their Butler-associated passwords in April to ensure their security. 

IT stopped the Heartbleed Bug through various patches, pieces of software released by companies to fix specific problems in their original programs, and no personal information was lost.

More recently, on Sept. 24, Shellshock, or Bash Bug, affected a wide range of devices. Companies such as Apple and Symantec offered newer patches to help protect against its penetration, according to their respective websites.

Butler had a much closer call this summer when police reported possible hacking between last November through May, according to The Indianapolis Star. The breach left 163,000 individuals with varying connections to the university wary of potential identity theft. The university contacted persons affected, and there has been no public repercussions.

These viruses were primary reasons to have a month dedicated to cyber security awareness. 

On its website, IT offers security advice. IT also provides free Symantec anti-virus software and student discounts for programs such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Endnote and Quark.

Connor Hummel, a junior pharmacy and Spanish double major, said he has not had many computer malfunctions. He said he went to IT once last year to get help with using his My.Butler account, and he called the Help Desk a few times to receive help with his password and his television.

“I’ve been lucky not to have any technical problems with any of (my computers),” Hummel said. “But I would definitely go to IT to at least have them look at it and see what they can do.”

Ketiku said people should be aware of potential harms all year long.

“Every day is cyber security awareness,” Ketiku said. “And we’re trying to spread that message to as many students and faculty members as possible.”

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