Campus Internet security boosted

By Stephen Strobbe

Baylor Information Technology Services finished implementing a new Internet filtering tool for the campus network Monday in an effort to further protect anyone on the Baylor network from connecting to untrustworthy sites.

This new system was added to the wireless Airbear connections Monday, although Internet users with ethernet connections reaped the benefits of the new system beginning Jan. 18. Baylor ITS works constantly on developing new technologies, policies and strategies in an effort to maintain the utmost level of security for Baylor students and teachers as identity and financial fraud are committed regularly across the Internet.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of viruses infecting computers, even when they have up-to-date virus protection,” Jon Allen, information security officer for Baylor ITS, said. “We believe that adding this new malware warning tool will help users avoid virus infections from Web sources.”

Should students connected to the Internet through Baylor’s network attempt to access a site deemed potentially malicious, they will immediately see a warning page with the recommendation to go back. The warning window also contains directions on how to send a report if the user suspects a site has been flagged erroneously. Once the form has been submitted, Allen will review it and, if its classification was incorrect, it will be removed from the warning list.

At the time students first access the site while it is still flagged as dangerous, they may continue onward to the potentially dangerous site if they wish, but they do so at their own risk.

The new tool was set up and tested by Baylor ITS staff last summer, with testing expanding throughout the residence halls and the Central Libraries last fall. Prior to full implementation, Baylor ITS discussed the program with a cross-section of Baylor, including the Executive Council, the Council of Deans, Staff Council, the Graduate Student Association, Faculty Senate and Student Senate.

“Dean [of University Libraries] Pattie Orr expressed interest early in the fall semester about coming to Senate,” said Falls City junior Michael Lyssy, student body internal vice president. “Dean Orr took the time to give a thorough presentation to Senate using PowerPoint slides and actually showing the workings of the system.”

Lyssy said after Orr’s presentation senators were able to ask questions about the new malware prevention system and almost all of the feedback given to the dean was positive.

“I believe that Dean Orr and the information and technology department have done their research and are taking a proactive approach to campus safety in the form of Internet security,” Lyssy said.

Allen said the new tool will help, but not eliminate all security issues.

“Information security needs to take a layered approach to be successful,” Allen said. “The new malware tool will not stop all potential infections. In combination with other existing technologies such as anti-virus and patch management, the malware filters will boost our protection layers.”