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Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Computer-Related Incidents: Factors Related to Cause and Prevention

Virginia Rezmierski - University of Michigan

Jan 10, 2007

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Abstract

Computer-related incidents that have the potential to destabilize, violate, or damage, the resources, services, policies, or data of the community or individual members of the community are happening in increasing numbers. Despite the news, we know that they are happening not just in academia which has been painted as insecure and wide-open, but in corporate and not-for-profit environments as well. We have inclinations about what is causing these incidents, but now we also have facts. While we look for technical fixes to the problems, the real factors that are related to the cause of these incidents may not be technical at all, but rather human. This presentation will discuss the "Computer Incident Factor Analysis and Categorization Project", CIFAC, which was carried on at the University of Michigan under funding from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Rezmierski will present the project findings and will discuss what they mean for colleges, universities, corporations, not-for-profit organizations and individuals. The presentation will include discussion of actual incidents, the statistical methodology and findings, and the recommendations put forward by the researcher team.

About the Speaker

Virginia completed a BA in Sociology and Political Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University in the mid 1960’s. She then completed an MA in Psychopathology and Special Education from Syracuse University and taught emotionally disturbed boys for two years in the Syracuse Public Schools. She moved from New York to assume a position at the University of Michigan Children’s Psychiatric Hospital in Ann Arbor. There she designed a school liaison program, did psychotherapy, and led a treatment team researching and providing therapy and education for autistic in-patient children.

In the early 1970’s she received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Michigan, with a research specialization in non-verbal communication and aggression. She worked for several years as a consultant for area schools in the management of behaviorally disordered youth. During the next five years she served as Director of Special Education for four school districts in Michigan and spoke widely at the state and national level on topics related to non-verbal communication, behavior management, and emotional disturbance.

While at Syracuse University, she began her college level teaching career, providing a graduate course in child development and psychopathology. In the late 1970’s she moved from program administration to full time research and teaching, providing courses at the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus in teaching methods, educational psychology, and behavior management. Her research focused on designing developmentally prescriptive interventions for troubled youth.

In the early 1980’s Virginia changed the direction of her career to learn more about the information technology revolution that was occurring on college and university campuses. For approximately 20 years she was the Director of the Office of Policy Development and Education at the University of Michigan, where she led a team of policy analysts researching and analyzing information technology related policy issues. She has published numerous articles regarding information technology and ethics, privacy, security, and community building. She continues to speak nationally and locally on these issues as well and has led several national research projects to examine the costs and causes associated with information technology related abuse incidents.

In June, 2000, Virginia retired from her administrative responsibilities at the University of Michigan. She continues, however, to hold teaching appointments in three of the colleges at the University of Michigan. For the Ford School of Public Policy she provides a graduate course entitled: “Technology, Emerging Law, and Applied Policy”. For the School of Information she provides a graduate course entitled: “Ethics and Values”. She also holds an appointment at the School of Education. In 2002 she continued her research activities completing a National Science Foundation research project designed to examine the interface between systems logging and monitoring activities and student record privacy protections. Currently, she is publishing and speaking about the results of another National Science Foundation funded research project involving 36 colleges and universities and 28 corporate and not-for-profit organizations. The project investigated the causes of over 400 computer-related incidents and identified the best practices for preventing and managing such incidents.

Unless otherwise noted, the security seminar is held on Wednesdays at 4:30P.M. STEW G52, West Lafayette Campus. More information...

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