By Marshall Bellamy and Dan
The Campus Communit Police Service and Information Technology
Services are trying to get the message out about computer security
after yet another theft — this time, the stolen laptop
contained four years of work on a PhD thesis, which was not
“Back up, back up, back up — or make a hard copy,
print it out,” said Ellen Smout from ITS’ network
security office. “There’s virtually nothing we
can do,” she said. “[The data] will be erased,
the system will be sold.”
“You should always back up the information you have,” explained
CCPS director Elgin Austen. “You can lose information
in a lot of different ways.”
“Don’t leave [laptops] unattended. A high percentage
of thefts happen that way,” Smout added.
Laptops tend to be stolen on campus an average of once every
couple weeks, Austen said, adding laptop thieves also tend
to be strangers on campus. “There will be the occasional
person out of a university of 35,000 who will be scoping campus.”
“As soon as you get devices like these — people
want to steal them,” he noted, pointing out that many
laptops are quickly sold for drugs.
Smout reported that last week ITS released a document listing
several ways to keep your computer safe.
“The message we were trying to get out in our document
is that this is the worst time — there’s no good
time, but this is when the pressure is on to get good grades
and finish school,” she said.
The document advises students to not leave laptops unattended,
backing up data and testing it periodically, remembering the
serial number of your laptop and protecting your data on the
computer with a password.
“I take it everywhere, like to the bathroom,” said
third-year political science student Jessica De Pauw of her
laptop. “I would never leave it unattended.”
Austen added that if students see a suspicious person on campus
they should call CCPS at 661-3300. “That’s what
we’re here for.”