Security 101

The U.S. National Information Systems Security Glossary defines "Information Systems Security" as: the protection of information systems against unauthorized access to or modification of information, whether in storage, processing or transit, and against the denial of service to authorized users or the provision of service to unauthorized users, including those measures necessary to detect, document,and counter such threats. 

The following terms are from the SANS website. SANS is the premier authority in information security.


The illegal use of email or another electronic medium (texting) used to send unsolicited bulk messaging to a user or group of users without their consent.


The use of e-mails that appear to originate from a trusted source to trick a user into entering valid credentials at a fake website. Typically the e-mail and the web site look like they are part of a bank the user is doing business with.


Similar to 'Phishing". The target(s) are more focused and deliberate, for example, A phishing attack against a department at a Corporation that handles credit card information.


Similar to PHISHING but SPAMMERS target your Smartphone via texting. If you receive a SMISH text, please forward it to 7726.  Many carriers (including the big four US carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile) let you report spam messages by forwarding them to 7726 (spells SPAM).


Tailgating is when an unauthorized person follows an authorized person into a secured building, for example, holding the door for someone at a Residence Hall. When the tailgater enters the secured building they are able to get valuable information. They can walk around and get names and phone numbers of employees or students so they can call the person and use their impersonating, social engineering skill. They can steal computers, PDAs, storage media, bills or anything else that has confidential information on it. The information bandits may be able to get into rooms that hold unattended smartphones and other valuable digital equipment.


Virus hoaxes are, in fact, a form of virus. A message is sent to a group of people asking them to forward the message to everyone they know. The object is to get everyone sending copies of warning message to everyone else, thus clogging up e-mail systems.

If you receive a message asking you to warn everybody about a virus, please do not. Instead, you might wish to check some of the many virus hoax web pages. Some of our favorites are:

If you receive a virus warning message and find that it is not listed on the virus hoax pages, please forward the message to the CTS Help Desk at

Always, Keep Your Screen Locked When You Are Away