Scams, File Sharing and Copyright


Information Security - Scams
Never give out confidential information (passwords, Social Security Numbers, lock combinations, bank account info, etc.) in response to e-mail. Some email formatted as web pages asking for your account info will provide links in the email message that will redirect you to a fake website that will collect your account information if you willingly submit it through the web form. This kind of a email solicitation masquerading as a account support request is known as phishing.

Never give out confidential information in person or over the phone unless you are absolutely sure of the identity of the person asking for it and that it is appropriate to give them the information. Many computer “hackers” and scam artists use a technique called “social engineering” to trick their targets into revealing privileged or confidential information. There is no technological defense against this kind of computer hacker as they are actually using non technological means of gaining access to your passwords by asking for them outright over the telephone.

Examples include calling and pretending to be “from the computer center” or visiting in person and claiming to have been sent “to fix the Director’s computer”. Computer system administrators at OLLU will never call and ask for your password. If they are who they say they are, they usually do not need your password in order to administer your account.

Information Security - File Sharing software
Windows, Unix/Linux and Macintosh computers make it simple for you to grant friends and colleagues access to your computer files over the network. If you’re not careful, though, it is easy to unintentionally grant unlimited access to anyone on the Internet. Make sure you understand how to properly restrict file sharing on your computer. Unix/Linux users with sensitive files should be familiar with file permissions, and whether or not their system is configured as an FTP server. Windows and Mac users who set up open file shares should make sure the shares are password protected, and that legitimate users have access only to the files and folders intended.

If your computer is running Windows 2000/XP, there are added security features for users and groups that make this much easier to achieve. Similarly, MacOS versions 9.0 and above are more secure than earlier versions. It is also a good idea to regularly scan shared files and directories for viruses, worms and other destructive or compromising software.

Also, particularly if you use your computer to run one or of the popular file-sharing services that have existed over the years like Napster, KaZaAa, LimeWire, Proteus, etc., it may be possible for other users of these services to place unknown, and potentially dangerous or compromising software on your computer without your knowledge. It is a good idea to periodically check your file sharing settings, and to look for filenames that you don’t recognize or don’t remember downloading.

Information Security - Copyright
Sharing and downloading music and movies from the web is now common practice but doing so illegally can be very risky. The copyright holders are taking bold steps to protect their files, using lawsuits and heavy fines to reduce infringing activities.

Check this site for information on LEGAL music downloads:

Do a web search on “legal video downloads” for lots of video and movie links.
Know the law on downloading and distributing copyrighted files – Web site for the US Copyright Office – the Motion Picture Association of America – the Recording Industry Association of America - a comprehensive public education site - the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s intellectual property reference guide

Excerpts from OLLU’s Acceptable Use Policy -

"...All systems users are obligated to use computer and communication systems resources responsibly, professionally, ethically, and lawfully.

...Without prior notice, the University may review any material created, stored, sent or received on its network or through its Internet connections to any other computer network.

...Use of computer and communication resources for any of these activities is strictly prohibited:
e. Using, sharing or copying software in violation of a license agreement or copyright.
g. Violating any state, federal, or international law.

...Violations of this policy will be taken seriously and may result in disciplinary action, including possible termination or expulsion and civil and criminal liability."