Letter: Use of 1-credit security courses would help Solution Center

First and foremost, I would like to say that Rick Hanton’s column on computer passwords last week was a well-written article, and I applaud him for bringing a big security issue for today’s students to the forefront. The university has meeting after meeting about physical safety on campus, but none about network security. That doesn’t seem right.

Before I go any further, I should point out that my views are not those expressed by the Iowa State ITS department, they are my own that I came to after reading the article.

There is a part in the article where Rick states that ITS should step up its game to help educate students about online security. While I agree this should happen, I do not believe it is the department’s responsibility to do this. We are here to provide support to students and staff of the university, and if you work on campus you know the amount of red tape that goes into each and every decision made. To have the ITS department teach safety would require that it get approved by board after board, and somewhere along the line, it would probably not pass.

What I think should happen though is that, just like each student is required to take Library 160 (even though most students will not set foot in the library again after they take the course), they should also have to take Computer Engineering 131, an introductory course on network security that teaches students about firewalls, antivirus protection, social engineering and phishing schemes. This class and the ideas it teaches would probably reduce the amount of students we see in the Solution Center by approximately 30 to 40 percent because most of the appointments we take deal with removing fake antivirus programs, or something of the like.

I also think this topic should be publicized more and should not get swept under the rug; it is a very real danger for people connecting to Iowa State’s network anywhere on campus and should be treated as such. I’m sure that doing this would make some people at the Solution Center very happy.