Cyber Security Awareness Week underway

Online vigilance never ends in a wired and wireless world of 24/7 connectivity. For one week each fall at Mississippi State, technology security comes into an especially sharp focus.

University students, faculty and staff are taking part this week in Cyber Security Awareness Week, which offers an array of activities designed to educate users about significant computer and information security issues.

Like other institutions, MSU continually faces ongoing threats in cyberspace, according to Thomas Ritter, Information Technology Services' security and compliance officer.

"Mississippi State essentially is under constant attack from hackers trying to access and exploit our resources and accounts," he said. "Attacks can be either directly against our Internet-facing systems or via social engineering, which is the act of manipulating people into divulging sensitive information or performing some action not in their best interest."

Education and awareness are simple steps to take to stay safer online, he emphasized.

"We encourage all of our users to educate themselves about the threats they are likely to encounter, and that's really what Cyber Security Awareness Week is all about," he said.

Free and open to the public, the activities include:

--Tuesday, the 18th, FBI Special Agent Scott D. Wells will present, "Cybercrime in Mississippi: Whodunit?" as part of the Office of Research and Economic Development's Research Seminar Series. Wells' presentation will take place 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the Bost Extension Center Theater.

--Wednesday, the 19th, Jay Houston, deputy commander of the Mississippi Attorney General's Internet Crimes Against Children Office, will discuss the work of his office during a 10:30-11:30 a.m. program in the union's third-floor Fowlkes Auditorium.

--Thursday, the 20th, a copyright panel discussion 12:30-1:30 p.m. in McCool Hall's first-floor Rogers Auditorium.

A cyber-security information booth will be set up on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on the union's first floor. T-shirts also will be given away while supplies last.

In addition to Information Technology Services, sponsors of the events include the Campus Information Security Committee, Provost's Office, Office of Research and Economic Development, Division of Student Affairs and the Center for Computer Security Research.

For additional information, visit and

Jim Laird | University Relations

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