Universities likely to remain net security risks

Anti-virus and internet content security vendor, Trend Micro, has launched an initiative to increase awareness on virus protection software in universities across the region.

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By  Colin Edwards Published  March 7, 2006

Anti-virus and internet content security vendor, Trend Micro, has launched an initiative to increase awareness on virus protection software in universities across the region. Speaking at the Women in IT conference organised by the Dubai Women’s College, Doo presented information on how viruses threaten university computing infrastructure, what students and staff need do to reduce this risk, and the benefits of having a more secure network. Universities are particularly vulnerable as college computers often are more open to the public internet than corporate systems and have high-speed connections to the web. Universities have also been the focus of other digital controversies. “College campuses typically have thousands of computers and few staff dedicated to maintenance and security issues. Administrators say that makes it extremely difficult to monitor what’s happening on every single server and desktop connected to a university system,” said Justin Doo, managing director, Trend Micro Middle East and Africa. “Academic institutions want to maintain the free exchange of ideas and information between faculty, students and researchers, both on campus and from university to university. At the same time you can’t just put a whole campus behind a firewall. That presents a challenge for keeping networks secure. The first priority toward maintaining the appropriate balance between security and freedom is to educate users on security risks,” he adds Today’s computer users in universities are under attack from spyware, adware, hacker tools and other unsolicited applications that are often installed without the user’s permission or knowledge. Besides designating a senior administrator to oversee IT security, regional universities need to define, communicate, update and enforce university wide security policies. All network users need to use anti virus software and security considerations need to be included in every IT project. “Universities also need to determine a proper strategy to apply software patches and security fixes in a timely, automated manner. Technology literacy is essential for innovation and economic growth. By creating awareness on online security challenges and the growing threat of spyware, we can help universities maintain their open environments so that students have the freedom to collaborate on research with universities in any other part of the world,” added Doo.

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