Fraudulent e-mails cause problems for computing services, university
Published: Sunday, October 26, 2008
Updated: Saturday, September 19, 2009 13:09
In the past few years, fraud has increased to where it is a concern to the everyday citizen. However, Marshall University Computing Services protects the on-campus network from defrauders.
Since 2005, more than 234 million data records have been exposed because of security breaches as reported by Fern Marcya Edison in an Ericho Communications news release.
Fraud can be as simple as giving the wrong person your personal information.
Computers are a large part of a college student's life and are a main source of personal information.
As computer traffic increases on campus, it becomes more and more difficult to secure that information, said Jon B. Cutler, director of Systems Administration and Security at Marshall.
Some common occurrences on campus are letting a friend check his or her e-mail or letting them log on to your account, both of which can be dangerous.
Stephen Hensley, dean of student affairs, said he has had one instance of a roommate defrauding another roommate.
Hensley said if you feel you have been defrauded go to the police first and if you have any additional questions go to him. The help desk on the fourth floor of Drinko Library is the place to go for all on campus computer and network questions, Cutler said.
When students enter Marshall University they are given two major identifiers.
One is the MU ID otherwise referred to as 901 number and the other is the MUNET which is the number assigned with your last name on your e-mail address. These two identifiers can hold intricate information commonly used in fraud.
University Computing Services in Drinko Library is responsible for securing every computer on campus, university owned or otherwise. This is done by a series of firewalls.
"Think of a firewall as the front of an amusement park, you must have a ticket to enter the park," Cutler said.
A couple of the firewalls are commonly seen around campus.
"Clean Access always pops up on my computer screen when I try to connect," said Shane Stafford, junior finance major from Oak Hill, W.Va. "It's annoying."
The Clean Access firewall is used regularly on campus. Any computer brought onto campus must go through Clean Access to connect to Marshall's network.
"Clean Access is like airport security," Cutler said. "If you check everyone before they get on the plane, then there will be no problems on the plane."
Barracuda is another common firewall used by Marshall students and faculty. The Barracuda firewall looks at spam e-mail, Cutler said. If the e-mail is from an unknown address or a reoccurring unwanted address, it will not pass through the Barracuda firewall.
Another trend on campus is forged e-mails that look credible. This is called spoofing. Cutler said students should not respond to any e-mails that ask for personal information. Asking for social security number, passwords or pin numbers are a dead giveaway of a forged e-mail.
"I think I have had a forged e-mail," said Jeff Rowley, senior physical education major from Buffalo, N.Y. "It was asking for my password to MyMU, it looked a little suspicious so I didn't respond."
These firewalls cannot protect students fully from fraud.
"Never share your password with anyone and make sure to log out of your account after you are finished," Hensley said.
Christian Brand can be contacted at email@example.com.