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Bringing online awareness to UTRGV

BY Megan Gonzalez | The Rider

Psychology senior Alvaro Hernandez learns about cyber security from Alexander Valdez, director of community outreach for the Association of Information and Technology Preparation, last Tuesday at the University Ballroom on the Edinburg campus. /Lesley Robles/ The Rider
Psychology senior Alvaro Hernandez learns about cyber security from Alexander Valdez, director of community outreach for the Association of Information and Technology Preparation, last Tuesday at the University Ballroom on the Edinburg campus. /Lesley Robles/ The Rider

Information systems Professor Jerald K. Hughes says with each new electronic device being introduced, the less secure our personal information is.

Hughes was one of the representatives from the College of Business and Entrepreneurship who participated in the Cyber Security Expo 2016 last Tuesday in the University Ballroom in Edinburg.

“Every time you turn around, we’re introducing another, even less secure kind of technology,” Hughes said. “So, the desktop is not great, but you can secure it because it’s got a big old CPU. It’s got lots of RAM, so it’s very powerful. So, what do we do? We start tablets. Well, not so secure. Phones. Less secure. You’re going to carry them around and lose them.”

Chief Information Security Officer Thomas Owen and Security Analyst Francisco “Frank” Tamez Cavazos organized the expo in observance of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). It will become a yearly event.

The Information Security Office shared helpful tips and resources to raise awareness about cyber security.

Tips offered ranged from security passwords to how to stay safe online. They include:

–change the default name of your wireless network;

–ensure the password you use to connect to your wireless network is a strong one and that it is different from the admin password; and

–only establish and maintain connections with people you know and trust. Review your connections often.

A brochure on the STOP.THINK.CONNECT. Campaign and a fact sheet from Don’t get SMACked (Social Media Access Controls) were available to attendees in an effort to bring awareness and ensure everyone has the resources to stay safe and secure online.

UTRGV’s Career Center has provided tools to prepare students for career opportunities in cyber security at organizations such as IBM and FBI.

The Department of Computer Science and College of Business and Entrepreneurship offer students classes involving cyber security, which include CSCI 4318 Cyber Security and CSCI 4319 Digital Forensics.

The Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), a student organization, is helping to expand members’ potential by networking with employers in the IT field.

“We try to do hands on training for our members to be aware of things that are going in the actual world,” said AITP President Julissa Alvarez.

The Office of Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention (OVAVP) explained its services for victims and survivors of gender-based crime and interpersonal violence during the expo.

“In almost all cases of dating and domestic violence, there’s a cyber stalking component involved. …” said Cynthia Jones, director and founder of OVAVP. “Oftentimes, when somebody’s in an abusive relationship, their partner will use technology to spy on them.”

The first 150 students at the event received a drawstring bag. Refreshments were provided to all attendees and drawings were held for prizes.

A similar event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 31 in El Gran Salón on the Brownsville campus.

Learn more about cyber security by visiting utrgv.edu/is or staysafeonline.org.

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