U of I Box Keeps Your Data Safe

Stacks of exams and papers, spreadsheets full of grades, and empty coffee cups.

These three things are connected. They’re certainly all part of midterms season here at Illinois. If you teach, chances are you’ve experienced at least two of these three things this week.

They also take up a lot of space. Exams and papers are returned and coffee cups are recycled. But where do the spreadsheets go?

  Protect Your Data: Encrypt Your Device

There are a lot of ways to protect your data. For those who choose to store files on their local hard drive, a strong password is the first line of defense against threats. That helps prevent people from accessing your files, but there’s more you can do.

Encrypting your hard drive is a second way to guard your files and data from prying eyes. It’s fast and it’s easy! Basically, encryption scrambles your data, and only the person with the correct “key” (think password/passphrase) can put that puzzle together again.

  Analyzing Your Risk

Data breaches, where personal information, credit data, or health information is disclosed, are all too common. The results of these breaches  could include fines, legal costs, bad publicity, and most importantly, increased risk and loss to individuals impacted.

The University of Illinois, through its research, education, and business operations, stores much of this High Risk data. This means we are under constant attack and threat. So how does the University manage the threats and secure its data?

  Where is Your Data?

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There used to be one option for storing your data. Your local hard drive. External hard drives hadn't been developed yet, and the cloud hadn't even been considered. Now, people have to decide multiple times a day, where to store certain data.

A lot of factors go into where you store your data. We'll take a look at a number of questions you should ask yourself before you store data, but first, let's look at some of the benefits and risks of each store type.

  Do You Know Your Data?

Think about the amount of data you have. Financial information, medical records, photos, music, movies, academic work...those are all basic, but what about the other data do you have that you probably don’t think about?

What you shop for, how much time you spend on a given website, your location, your inner-most thoughts and feelings that are now publicly shared on the web via social media. It can be quite scary to think about all of the information we share about ourselves, willingly or not.

  Don't Get Phished. Be Cyber Secure

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Phishing is one of the most common threats to Illinois. Numerous times a year cyber criminals attempt to gain secure information by trying to trick readers into providing private information such as names, passwords, bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc. Protect yourself by learning to identify and report phishing attempts.

Don't know what phishing is or how or where to report it? Visit the Tech Services Phishing webpage for additional information.


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