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Information Technology hosts 8th annual Cyber Security Day

By Daniel Palomo
University News Service
September 26, 2013

Texas State University is under attack. The Information Technology Security Office thwarts millions of cyber attacks every day.

“It’s a mind-boggling number,” said Lori McElroy, information security officer. “As the Internet grows, (cyber attacks) are more and more prevalent.”

To raise awareness and aid students in protecting themselves against cyber attacks, the Information Technology Security Office is hosting the 8th annual Cyber Security Awareness Day on Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is free to the public and will be held in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom.

“One of the main goals I have for our organization is awareness,” McElroy said. “An informed person is a much more secure person.”

Jeb Linton, chief technology officer for security at IBM, will deliver the keynote speech entitled “Ahead of the Threat” at 11 a.m. Linton is a senior staff member on the IBM corporate technology strategy team focusing on cloud computing architecture, security and analytics.

Speakers from the Austin Hackers Association, Dell SecureWorks, Austin Police Department and AT&T will deliver lectures on topics such as “mobile device security” and “IT security careers--what you need to know.” Vendors from HP, IBM, Dell, Accuvant, T-Mobile, Ricoh, Southwest Research Institute and many more companies will also be present. McElroy said the lectures accommodate the technologically savvy and the general smartphone user alike.

“We seek to inform a large range of Internet users,” McElroy said.

One of the featured events is a “capture the flag” contest for students that will test student’s security skills as they attempt to locate or protect “flags” hidden within secured network structures. Students, in teams up to three, are encouraged to register for the free contest. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place teams that collect the most flags.

“It’s a lot of fun for those who want to test their skills in a safe environment,” McElroy said.

The millions of attacks that Texas State University experiences every day are launched from collections of internet-connected computers communicating through a program typically referred to as a botnet. Once a computer’s security is breeched, a hacker can control the network to produce millions of cyber attacks. If students protected their individual computing devices, harmful botnets can be limited, McElroy said.

“Given the size of our university and the amount of confidential data housed here, we are a main target,” McElroy said. “Each one of us is a protector.”

October marks the 10th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance created NCSAM to promote education regarding safe Internet use.

“More and more people are getting connect with different Internet-based tools,” McElroy said. “There are people out there who want to take advantage of them.”

For more information, please email itsecurity@txstate.edu or call (512) 245-4225. Further information and a schedule of events can be found at http://security.vpit.txstate.edu/training/csad_2013.html.