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Laptop Security Checks to be Available October 18-19

Friday, September 23, 2016

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. In an effort to encourage students, faculty and staff at the University of Georgia to keep their computers safe and secure, EITS and the Franklin College Office of Information Technology will offer free computer security checks and troubleshooting at the Computer Health and Security Fair, Tuesday, October 18 and Wednesday, October 19. 

The fair will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days in the second floor rotunda of the Zell B. Miller Learning Center (MLC). The fair is free and open to all UGA students, faculty and staff. 

At the fair, technical volunteers will handle requests on a first-come, first-served basis. They will conduct security check-ups of personal PC and Mac laptops of UGA students, faculty and staff. The technical volunteers will remove malware, install the latest software and security updates, ensure that firewalls are enabled and update antivirus and operating systems. They will also examine other software problems, such as slow performance and unknown error messages. 

Comprehensive health and security check-ups can take between 30-60 minutes, and at times, there may be a short wait prior to visiting with an IT professional. For issues that will take more than an hour to resolve, technical volunteers will give guests instructions for how to fix those issues. 

Hardware repairs will not be offered, and university-issued computers will not be checked at the event. 

EITS has conducted the Computer Health and Security Fair every October for more than 10 years now. The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ Office of Information Technology (OIT) partnered with EITS to co-sponsor the Computer Health and Security Fair in the spring of 2014. Since then, Franklin College OIT has sent seven to 10 volunteers to each event and contributed supplies such as post-it notes and styluses. Last year, more than 200 students, faculty and staff benefited from the free security checks and malicious software removal services. 

“I think the fair also benefits our technical volunteers from EITS and Franklin College who get to spend some face time with the community members we serve,” said Ben Myers, the University’s Interim Information Security Officer. “We hope to educate each of them on steps they can take to protect their devices and themselves from online security threats.” 

Beth Woods, the Executive Director for Information Technology at the Franklin College Office of Information Technology, recommends individuals backup their data before attending and bring their laptop’s power cable to the event. 

“We really emphasize the importance of teamwork, exemplary customer service and giving back to the community,” said Woods. “The Computer Health and Security Fair is always a popular volunteer opportunity for our team of IT professionals. We enjoy collaborating with IT professionals from EITS and other campus units, but our team is most excited to connect with and help faculty, staff and students.” 

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take steps to keep their computers secure and safe from malware, viruses and phishing attacks throughout the year. These include running regular anti-virus scans; using strong passwords; never sending their MyID and password in an email; and reporting any suspicious emails to the EITS Help Desk, at helpdesk@uga.edu. 

More tips on staying secure are available on the Office of Information Security’s website, infosec.uga.edu.