Living in the Digital Age of Information has its perks, no doubt about it. From an ever-expanding list of resources for every subject imaginable to the ability to communicate instantly from opposite ends of the earth, it’s kinda cool living in the now. But sometimes you peek beneath the surface and find a bunch of people cowering, fidgeting, doing their best not to think about how easily abused our systems are, trying like nuts to not let anything slip past them, weeping at the futility. The honest truth is that there’s legitimate concern backing up that paranoia. That’s just how it is. You can’t place every fact together in a connecting stream and not expect bears to go fishing in it. And, unfortunately, such was the case about a month ago when a (now former) employee of Cuesta College seriously breached the security of fellow staff members. From addresses to Social Security numbers, a great many current and former staff records were downloaded together and emailed without any prior authorization, allegedly by former Cuesta College Human Resources Analyst Lacey Fowler. She was arrested and charged with felonies.
Although there’s so much cause for alarm at the potential for security breaches in today’s times, a life lived in fear is hardly advisable if its many tastes are to be equally sampled and savored. All the same, one must take precautions to best avoid these occurrences, and it seems that Cuesta is headed in that direction. The Cuesta College Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve a one-year contract with LifeLock, a leading provider of proactive identity theft protection services. A full year of free service will be offered to all employees (past and present) whose information was jeopardized by the breach. “In this challenging and frustrating occurrence, the district is committed to providing peace of mind for current and former employees, and we are pleased to offer a full year of free identity theft protection services through LifeLock,” said Board of Trustees President Pat Mullen.
For the record, those of you reading this in possession of a computer, please don’t ever forget to install antivirus protection, paid for or otherwise. There are plenty of excellent and trusted computer protection programs that are free, and when your friends force you to begin watching that anime on the only site that seems to have it, it would be best to have some sort of safeguard just in case.
Contributor Chris White-Sanborn is hesitant to share a cup of water with your computer. After getting that all checked out first, don’t forget to send her your collegiate news at firstname.lastname@example.org.