NEWS

Mount students learn how to be good ‘digital citizens’

November 01, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -

Alex Valentin, director of IT Technical Services (center) and John Nicoletti, IT Network Administrator (left), discussed tips on how to be a good “digital citizen” with Mount Saint Mary College freshmen recently.

Alex Valentin, director of IT Technical Services (center) and John Nicoletti, IT Network Administrator (left), discussed tips on how to be a good “digital citizen” with Mount Saint Mary College freshmen recently. 

 

Mount Saint Mary College technology experts recently gave a group of freshmen valuable tips on how to be good “digital citizens.”

Alex Valentin, director of IT Technical Services, and John Nicoletti, IT network administrator, presented “Your Digital Footprint and Effective Passwords – How Your Digital Footprint Has Changed and Who’s Looking” on Thursday, October 26. 

The key to being a good digital citizen lies in making smart decisions about what one says and does online, Valentin explained. The things one does to be a good real life citizen, such as being kind, courteous, and law-abiding, go a long way in protecting that person online.

Valentin noted that while some social media and phone apps might seem like users are anonymous, security experts and law enforcement can often pinpoint the original poster.  “You’re never truly anonymous online,” he said. 

So just like in offline life, saying negative or threatening things can land a person in hot water. “Just be respectful,” said Valentin. 

Another issue to consider is what Valentin calls the “context conundrum.” For example, a photo of someone holding a silver can may imply that they are drinking beer. In reality, it might be a can of soda, or the person may have just snatched the drink away from a friend. Without context, it is difficult to know for sure. 

With some companies requiring access to a candidate’s Facebook profile as a condition of employment, “Think twice before you post that ‘silly’ picture,” Valentin suggested.

Nicoletti’s message was simple: Passwords “are meant to be secure, not convenient,” he said. So while it might be tempting to use a birthday, anniversary, or the first few letters of the alphabet, a password that’s not easy to guess is always the right choice. 

For students interested in making a career of computer safety, Mount Saint Mary College’s Division of Mathematics and Information Technology now offers a cybersecurity concentration for undergraduate IT majors. 

The concentration provides comprehensive coverage of technical, ethical, legal, and contemporary topics in the field. It offers theoretical and hands-on skills to identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities in software applications, operating systems, computer networks, the internet, and mobile networks, as well as an insider understanding of the mathematical algorithms behind encryption and decryption techniques. 

A concentration in cybersecurity can lead to careers in technology, security software, defense, government, teaching, e-commerce, banking, finance, business, and more.