Iowa State University

ITInformation Technology

Are You at Risk for Identity Fraud?

This news item expired May 15, 2012. It may contain out-of-date information.

Not sure? Maybe it's time for a check-up!

The Issue?

If you are receiving and opening unexpected emails from seemingly legitimate sources (i.e. banks, government agencies, etc.) asking for personal information, then your email, passwords, computers and credentials can be at risk.

The Risks?

These emails are typically not from legitimate sources. In actuality, the email will likely contain links to websites or software infected with a virus, worm, or Trojan horse, set in place to allow entry through the backdoor of your computer, giving thieves access to your personal information.

With access to your passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), social security number and similar information, these "password stealers" are able to use your credit cards and other credentials without you knowing or feeling the impact until it's too late.

You're Infected?

Viruses, worms, and Trojans can be severely damaging to your computer equipment and the information stored on it. Once you are certain it's a virus, worm, or Trojan horse, the best advice is to get help. Call us. You may have to wipe your hard drive clean!

Defend yourself!

Whether you have been infected before or not, you want to do all you can to prevent any recurring event. Here are some tips and best practices for securing your computer equipment and personal information stored within:

  • Install a Personal Software Inspector (PSI) like Secunia for Windows. Secunia handles third party software and is currently free for personal and home use. Antivirus software is no longer enough.
  • Avoid opening email messages that you are not expecting. Instead, place a call to your bank or credit card company to verify if it is their message. Do not use any phone numbers from the infected email.
  • Regularly update software on your cell phones, laptops, and other computers. Java, for example, should always be current on your computer. Hackers frequently use Javascript and Java to run their harmful software.
  • Avoid sharing your email and password with anyone simply because they ask for it.
  • Apply pass codes to your cell phones and pass phrases to all of your computer equipment.
  • Change your pass phrases often and store them in a safe place. Try not to use the same pass phrases for all your equipment. Be sure to use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols if allowed.
  • Backup or store your files with Iowa State's CyFiles. Or, use an external hard drive. Never be too busy. Take the time to do it. You will be happy that you did.

Set Up an Appointment with the Solution Center

You can depend on IT Services for:

  • Rapid Response
  • Damage Control
  • One-on-One Support

Learn more about protecting your computer software and equipment. Learn how to: