Security Awareness

Use FAQ

Use

 

Use

Can student employees be allowed to maintain University applications and systems that contain confidential information?

Yes. Student employees may be considered to be "school officials" with "legitimate educational interests" for purposes of access to University data (regardless of the data's medium - electronic, paper, fiche) and computer systems when such access is solely for the purposes of performing the tasks for which they were hired. The Office which hires the students is legally responsible for informing them that they are responsible for being aware of and complying with M.G.L. Chapter 66A and the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The obligations of the University to comply with the laws carry over to and are assumed by the working student.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Can I download software onto my work computer?

Some desktop computers are set up so that only a system administrator can download or install software on them. Other desktop computers allow unrestricted downloads/installs. Check with your desktop computer support staff before trying to download/install any software to find out any restrictions in effect.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What operating systems are allowed to connect to the campus network from computers in dorm rooms?

Contact your campus network administrator for specific network requirements.

Date Revised : 2003-09-16

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Can I use University computers to browse Web sites that aren't work-related? Is it ok to use my computer during a coffee break?

Incidental use of University computing resources is permitted as long as it does not interfere with work, you have the permission of your supervisor, and does not violate university policies/guidelines.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Can I dial in to the University network and computer systems from home or while on travel?

Yes. Employees are allowed to dial into University systems and networks. Contact the system administrator to get dial in instructions.

Date Revised : 2003-06-05

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Can I dial in to my office computer from my home computer?

No. You can dial in to a University network to perform University business however, you should not be dialing in directly to any University desktop computer/pc.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Can I use the computer in my office or one loaned to me by the University and kept at home for personal tasks?

University computer systems and networks should not be used in the performance of illegal activities or to perform tasks that result in personal gain to the employee's. If a University-owned computer is used for personal tasks, be aware that the University has the right to look at any documents/files stored on its system if necessary, for University's business, regardless of whether the system is housed on University property or at an employee's/student's home.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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If I use the computer in my office or one loaned to me by the University and kept at home for personal tasks who owns the documents/files?

The University has the right to look at any documents/files stored on its system if necessary for University's business, regardless of whether the system is housed on University property or at an employee's/student's home.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What is the University's stance on the use of Napster, Gnutella and other "peer to peer" applications (e.g., Freenet, BitTorrent, etc.)?

File Sharing provides a convenient way to transfer information, and facilitate collaboration on projects. It can also make it convenient for a hacker or virus to invade a computer. Many of the latest viruses take advantage of shared directories that aren't adequately protected. Todays hackers can take advantage of these same vulnerabilities to place Trojans in a computer to use in gathering information and attacking other machines.

The University allows file sharing, but recommends that this tool be used only when other, safer solutions, such as Secure FTP are inadequate, and that the shared folders be protected by secure passwords which are only shared with trusted friends and associates.

Additionally, the use of file sharing or peer to peer (i.e., p2p) applications should be in compliance with University Data and Computing Policies/Guidelines/Standards and federal and state laws.

The Copyright Act of 1976 applies in to illegal file sharing of music and video. The Copyright Act prevents the unauthorized copying of a work of authorship. A copyright is the set of exclusive legal rights authors have over their works for a limited period of time. These rights include copying the works (including parts of the works), making derivative works, distributing the works, and performing the works (this means showing a movie or playing an audio recording, as well as performing a dramatic work). Currently, the author's rights begin when a work is created. Copyrighted works are not limited to those that bear a copyright notice.

One must also bear in mind that activities on web sites, including activities involving WAV, MIDI or MP3 files, can give rise to liability under laws other than copyright laws. A WAV file that suggests an origin for goods or services (e.g. the theme song of a popular television show) might possibly give rise to trademark liability.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What is the University's stance regarding the downloading of movies?

Movies should not be illegally copied/downloaded on University computers or using University networks.  Legal download services such as Ruckus, Napster, etc. can be used for the legal downloading of movies onto computers using the University network.  Contact your campus IT department to see if they offer any free or discounted legal music/movie downloading services.

The Copyright Act of 1976 applies to the downloading/copying of movies electronically. The Copyright Act prevents the unauthorized copying of a work of authorship. A copyright is the set of exclusive legal rights authors have over their works for a limited period of time. These rights include copying the works (including parts of the works), making derivative works, distributing the works, and performing the works (this means showing a movie or playing an audio recording, as well as performing a dramatic work). Currently, the author's rights begin when a work is created. Copyrighted works are not limited to those that bear a copyright notice. As a result of changes in copyright law, works published since March 1, 1989 need not bear a copyright notice to be protected under the federal statute.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What is the University's view regarding the use of networks connected to but not belonging to the University?

Abuse of the networks or of computers at other sites connected to the University's computers or networks is treated as abuse of computing resources at the University.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Can I remove equipment from a University network?

No. You should not remove any University-owned or -administered equipment from any computer system, except as authorized by the appropriate system or network administrator.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Can I connect dial-up modems to my computer?

No. University Data and Computing Guidelines do not allow you to connect dial-up modems to workstations or microcomputers/PCs that are simultaneously connected to a network.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Can our department host a web site for a non-University organization?

University Data and Computing Guidelines prohibit University computing systems from hosting sites for non-University organizations across any University network unless this activity is related to the University's missions of education, research and public service including instruction, research, administrative tasks and collaborative activities with other entities, including but not limited to colleges/universities and private businesses.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What are the standards of intellectual honesty and plagiarism for computer software?

The same standards of intellectual honesty and plagiarism apply to software as to other forms of published work. For example, individuals should not copy another's computer file and submit it as theirs nor should they work with someone else on an assignment, sharing the computer files and then submit that file, or a modification thereof, as their own individual work.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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I am playing a game on a computer in a public lab area. Do I have to stop using the system if other students want to use the computer?

You should not use public, lab or departmental equipment for personal entertainment when other authorized users need access to perform University related tasks.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Is there anything I should be aware of if I am accessing computers and networks in other states?

Any network traffic exiting the University system is subject to the acceptable use policy/guidelines of the network through which it flows, as well as University Data and Computing Guidelines. Please note that the laws of other states may apply depending on the actual location of the computer to which you are networked (e.g., if you have connected to a computer in California, California computing laws must be adhered to. You can be prosecuted in any state through which your access flows or in which it terminates however, as a user you should focus on either the state where you are or the state where you are getting the data from.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Who can access University computers?

Access may be given to: stand-alone micro, mini or mainframe computers; or to networked computer systems. Student access is primarily for work associated with their course of study, activities related to courses, or administrative tasks related to their association with the University (e.g., accessing their own academic/administrative data such as courses, grades). Staff are given access to perform their job functions. Students and staff may however, use their access to University computers to use worldwide networks such as the Internet. Information resulting from communication on University computer systems is University property. You are responsible for any activity carried out under their University logon or operator ids. Employees who access University or Campus networks for private purposes should subscribe to a commercial service provider.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Can I use University computers to develop computer games?

In an academic or instructional setting activities such as academic game development, computer security research, and the investigation of self-replicating code can be performed as long as you contact the appropriate system, network and/or security administrators(s) so that the effects on the system can be determined and evaluated.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Is there a limit regarding the number of copies I can print/make?

Individual systems may have print/copying restrictions, in general however, you should not print excessive copies of documents, files, data or programs.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Can pornography be stored on University computers or sent over University email systems?

No. You are prohibited from storing, sending, posting or, publicly displaying or printing unsolicited mail or materials that are of a fraudulent, defamatory, harassing, abusive, obscene or threatening nature on any University system/network. The sending of such messages/materials will be handled according to University codes of conduct, policies and procedures.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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I want to download music and movies using peer to peer (i.e., p2p) sharing. What issues should I be aware of?

The following issues should be considered:
a. Are you legally downloading/copying the music/move or is your action resulting in copyright infringement? You can suffer serious consequences for illegal downloading including losing University network access, losing housing, temporary suspension, expulsion and civil suit by the copyright holder or their agent (e.g., Recording Industry Association of America).
b. The use of peer to peer applications open your computer to others. Your computer could be compromised if the application has vulnerabilities that allow worms, viruses, trojans, and hackers to exploit it.
c. Some peer to peer sharing licenses let companies use your computer to distribute pirated software, videos, or audio files. You are liable for activity originating from your computer.
d. Many peer to peer applications, including downloading feature films, consumes a high volume of resources thereby impacting the entire network and other users.
For more information re: peer to peer file sharing and how to evaluate the risks go to http://onguardonline.gov/p2p.html.

Date Revised : 2006-02-24

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I want to use peer to peer applications but do not want the program's to allow others to be able to upload from my computer. How can I do this?

Disable your peer to peer program's uploading capability. For more information regarding how to do this, go to http://security.uchicago.edu/peer-to-peer/no_fileshare.shtml.

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What legal downloading services are available?

Most legal music/video downloading services function on a subscription basis that allows users to license the use of or buy copies of music/video online. Each service has their own fees, requirements and offerings (e.g., music, television shows, feature movies, articles, interviews, ring tones, community interaction, etc.) so you should look at all before making a decision. Additionally, your campus may offer one or more of the legal downloading services for free or at a discounted rate so be sure to contact your Information Technology group before buying a service on your own. Some of the legal downloading services available are:

Policy Referenced : Responsible/Acceptable use of Computing and Data Resources (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

 

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