Information Technology Services has launched a new ‘safe sex” security awareness campaign that will focus on the protection of data and information on students’ computers.

IT Services is taking a more non-traditional approach to advertising about the risks of identity theft. Rather than posting warnings on computers, IT has decided to place flyers around campus relating computer safety to ‘safe sex”, in an effort to cater to the student population.

The objective of the plan is to make students more conscious of identity theft and virus protection.

University IT analyst Kelly Ernst said that the campaign would be conveyed through flyers, posters and tabling sessions.

‘The program is targeting the undergraduate population and focused on protecting your computer, identity theft and virus protection.” Ernest said.

The idea of safe-sex flyers was suggested first by Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph Kuncl and taken up by Chief Information Officer Julie Myers.

‘We were looking for effective ways to communicate our security awareness messages and ensure that they take notice,” Myers said. ‘Our past campaigns have been less than effective and thus we continue to try creative ways to reach the student base with our message.”

Many administrators felt awareness was more important in light of the recent security breach of the Student Employment Web Site. However, Ernst added that university administration was hesitant to adopt the campaign.

‘University administration was hesitant because of legal implications,” she said. ‘ The approval of this plan had to go through a hierarchy of administrators, including Dean [of the College Richard] Feldman, Dean [of Students Matthew] Burns, Health Services and the Legal Counsel.”

According to Myers, the process took about six months to get through various administrators.

Speaker of the Senate and senior Harrell Kirstein said that members of the Students’ Association and Residential Life met with IT to go over the plan.

‘IT was concerned that they were pushing the envelope with these flyers, but we didn’t think twice about it,” he said.

Kirstein approved of the plan, noting large numbers of students who were afflicted by computer viruses each year.

Ernst encouraged students to go on to Information Technology’s Website, where more information is available. This information includes tips of the day and links to current viruses and up-to-date anti-viral protection. In addition, students have the ability to report incidents.

Ernst also stressed that students should be more vigilant about data security and safety.

Willis is member of the Class of 2011.

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