Being cautious about online security

The University should continue to be weary of threats as higher education moves online.

Editorial board

 

Campus security is often associated with the University of Minnesota police and the walk escorts, with physical persons as the first line of defense against threats. But there are other, equally dangerous threats online that college students face.

Officials say the University of Minnesota is a safe environment for students to share information and collaborate effectively online. A Minnesota Daily article published March 13 noted the University provides students with necessary tools to secure their electronic devices, including Symantec Antivirus.

According to the Daily, the University has also shown interest in cloud-based security systems and “negotiated for increased protection with Google, since their large contract covers Gmail and other apps.” In an increasingly wireless and online world, where an exorbitant amount of data can be transferred from multiple computers and across several networks, the “cloud” seems ideal.

However, students and universities across the nation should maintain a healthy wariness of the security of their personal information and data when it has the potential to be accessed by a multitude of other users and companies.

Google recently came under fire for what Microsoft suggests is a lack of regulation in student data collection, a dailytech.com article reported. Though the regular ads are turned off in Gmail, it is still possible for Google and companies like it to collect information through other applications and can potentially exploit it for commercial purposes.

As mass-produced e-books and apps become more utilized in higher education, it’s important to remember that security and convenience rarely go together.