Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

UTSA hosts cyber security lecture

October commemorates Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM). The UTSA Institute for Cyber Security and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) have held several informational sessions in order to educate the public on how to stay safe online.

On Oct. 19, OIT kicked off CSAM with Cyber Security Treasure Island, a scavengerhunt in which currently enrolled UTSA students search for various codes in order to win prizes, such as an iPod Touch.

Many cyber security presentations followed the kick-off, including a presentation on “Identity Theft and Protection” by Christopher Lamb, FBI special agent, on Oct. 26.

Lamb introduced different methods of identity theft and how to prevent it. He warned that even if someone took every cyber precaution, there would always remain a possibility of attack.

One of the methods identity thieves often use involves delving into trash for personal information like credit cards, banks statements and utility bills. Even if thieves do not know how to use this information, it can still be valuable. Some Web sites like auction off personal information for a set price.

Lamb suggested that any piece of personal information should be shredded before it touches the garbage bin.

Lamb also mentioned “skimming,” a method of stealing information by illegally obtaining credit card numbers. For example, a waiter might take credit card numbers when finalizing a customer’s bill.

The easiest way to avoid this trick is to pay in cash. If this option is impossible, then consumers should keep track of their expenses and take note of any discrepancies.

Lamb also warned about the use of public computers and wireless networks. Students should be mindful of accessing private information while on a public computer or network.

“Any Web site that would contain personal information should be completely avoided,” Lamb said.

Lamb mentioned some simple guidelines in order to avoid identity theives: run and update computer protection software, remain suspicious of “phishy” emails which request personal information, use sophisticated passwords and do not use the same password for all accounts. Furthermore, try not to use links to Web sites in emails; instead, type in the Web site address manually.

“Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the importance of internet security until it hits home. Then it is devastating,” Lamb said.

If identity theft does occur, Lamb recommends filing a fraud report with three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Lamb suggests cancelling the account that has been stolen and contacting a police department to file a report.

Lamb finished the presentation by saying, “Be careful with what information you post.”

October will conclude with more presentations.

On Oct. 28, an “Automated Vulnerability Attacks” presentation by Billy Austin from Saint Corporation will be held at the Main Campus.

On Oct. 29, a repeat of the “Child Safe-Protecting Kids Online” by Lee Carson will be presented at the Downtown Campus.

Finally on Oct. 30, “The Future of Cyber Security” will be discussed by Ravi Sandhu, director of the UTSA institute for cyber security. More information can be found on the Web site:

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