Research Instruction & Information Technology Group

Acceptable Computer Use Policy: SCB – AD20

The purpose of this policy is to outline the acceptable use of computer equipment within the Smeal College of Business.

1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline the acceptable use of computer equipment within the Smeal College of Business. Inappropriate computer use exposes everyone to risks including virus attacks, compromise of network systems and services, and possible litigation.  College computing systems are for business purposes in serving the administrative, academic and research activities of the College, University, faculty, staff and students.
Effective security is a team effort involving the participation and support of every College of Business employee and affiliate who deals with information and/or information systems. It is the responsibility of every computer user to know these guidelines and conduct their activities accordingly.

2.0 Scope

SCB-AD20 applies to faculty, staff, students, contractors, consultants, temporaries, and other workers in the Smeal College of Business, including all personnel affiliated with third parties. This policy also applies to all equipment that is connected to the Smeal College of Business network or provided to the user by the College for off-site use (home systems, loaner laptops, PDAs, cell phones, etc.).

3.1 Policy

3.2 General Use and Ownership

  1. The Smeal College of Business recommends that any sensitive or vulnerable information be handled ONLY on computers maintained by the College’s IT department (RIIT Group).
  2. The College recommends that any information that users consider sensitive or vulnerable be encrypted.
  3. For security and network maintenance purposes, authorized individuals within the Smeal College of Business may monitor equipment, systems and network traffic at any time, per the Smeal College of Business Audit
  4. The Smeal College of Business reserves the right to audit networks and systems on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with this policy and University policies.

3.3  Security and Proprietary Information

  1. Information contained on Internet/Intranet/Extranet-related systems should be classified as either confidential or not confidential, as defined by University confidentiality guidelines, details of which can be found in Human Resources policies. Examples of confidential information include but are not limited to: University private, University strategies, competitor sensitive, trade secrets, specifications, student lists, and research data. Employees should take all necessary steps to prevent unauthorized access to this information.
  2. Keep passwords secure and do not share Authorized users are responsible for the security of their passwords and accounts. In addition to the password requirements listed in the Smeal College of Business Password Policy, it is strongly recommended that system level passwords should be changed quarterly, and user level passwords should be changed every six months.
  3. All PCs, laptops and workstations must be secured with passwords for all local accounts in compliance with the Smeal College of Business Password Use additional settings as deemed necessary to prevent unauthorized access to resources and data that resides either locally or remotely.
  4. All PCs, laptops and workstations that have security logging capabilities must have basic OS level auditing turned on to facilitate tracking of user accounts in the event of a security breach or other unauthorized.
  5. Because information contained on portable and remote computers is especially vulnerable, special care should be Portable systems containing sensitive university data should utilize hard drive or memory-card encryption techniques to protect the data in the event of unauthorized physical access to the system.
  6. While it is currently not required, postings by employees from a Smeal College of Business email address to newsgroups or forums should contain a disclaimer stating that the opinions expressed are strictly their own and not necessarily those of Smeal College of Business or the University, unless posting is in the course of business duties.
  7. All hosts used by the employee that are connected to the Smeal College of Business Internet/Intranet/Extranet, whether owned by the employee or the Smeal College of Business, should be continually executing approved virus-scanning software with a current virus database.
  8. Employees must use extreme caution when opening unsolicited e-mail attachments, which may contain viruses, e-mail bombs, or Trojan horse
  9. All systems connected with the Smeal College of Business network infrastructure may only use IP addresses assigned by the College or its delegates. IP addresses are provided via DHCP and employ a mechanism to ensure that only the intended host receives the IP address or are authenticated and logged so that the user of that IP address during a given period of time can be determined in the event of a security Users are forbidden from employing methods to by-pass this important security mechanism.
  10. To maintain proper data encryption, all systems storing or utilizing sensitive administrative data, and using a wireless connection must also utilize a College approved VPN (virtual private network). Systems transferring sensitive university data over non- secure networks (wired or wireless) must encrypt that data during

3.4  Unacceptable Use

The following activities are prohibited. Employees may be exempted from these restrictions during the course of their legitimate job responsibilities (e.g., systems administration staff may have a need to disable the network access of a host if that host is disrupting production services). Under no circumstances is an employee of the Smeal College of Business authorized to engage in any activity that is illegal under local, state, federal or international law while utilizing resources owned or provided by the Smeal College of Business.

The lists of prohibited activities presented below are by no means exhaustive, but attempt to provide a framework for activities which fall into the category of unacceptable use.

System and Network Activities

The following activities are strictly prohibited, with no exceptions:

  1. Violations of the rights of any person or entity protected by copyright, trade secret, patent or other intellectual property, or similar laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the installation, use or distribution of "pirated" or other software products that are not appropriately licensed for use by the Smeal College of
  2. Unauthorized copying of copyrighted material including, but not limited to, digitization and distribution of photographs from magazines, books or other copyrighted sources, copyrighted music, and the installation of any copyrighted software for which the College Smeal College of Business or the end user does not have an active license is strictly
  3. It is illegal to export software, technical information, encryption software or technology, in violation of international or regional export control The appropriate College security officer should be consulted prior to export of any material that is in question.
  4. Introduction of malicious programs into the network or servers (e.g., viruses, worms, Trojan horses, e-mail bombs, ).
  5. Revealing your account password to others or allowing use of your account by others. This includes family and other household members when work is being done at
  6. Using a Smeal College of Business computing asset to engage in procuring or transmitting material that is in violation of sexual harassment or hostile workplace laws in the user's local
  7. Making fraudulent offers of products, items, or services originating from any Smeal College of Business account. Or, offers of products, items, or services for personal profit from any Smeal College of Business account.
  8. Making statements about warranty, either expressly or implied, unless it is a part of normal job
  9. Effecting security breaches or disruptions of network communication. Security breaches include, but are not limited to, accessing data of which the employee is not an intended recipient or logging into a server or account that the employee is not expressly authorized to The only exception to this is when access is part of a security analysis performed by an authorized individual within the College or University. For purposes of this section, "disruption" includes, but is not limited to, network sniffing, ping floods, packet spoofing, denial of service, and forged routing information.
  10. Port scanning or security scanning is expressly prohibited unless prior approval is obtained from the College’s Network Security
  11. Executing any form of network monitoring which intercepts data not intended for the employee's host, unless this activity is a part of the employee's normal job/duty.
  12. Circumventing user authentication or security of any host, network or account apart from assigned duties performed by IT professionals.
  13. Interfering with or unsanctioned denying of service to any user other than the employee's host (for example, denial of service attack).
  14. Using any program/script/command, or sending messages of any kind, with the intent to interfere with, or disable, a user's terminal session, via any means, locally or via the Internet/Intranet/Extranet apart from assigned duties performed by IT professionals.
  15. Providing information about, or lists of, Smeal College of Business employees to parties outside the
  16. Expanding the College’s network through the use of private firewalls, routers or NAT devices without the consent of College IT
  17. Obscuring PCs, servers or other devices attached to the Smeal College of Business network though the use of private firewalls, routers or NAT devices without the consent of the Smeal College of Business IT department (RIIT Group).

Email and Communications Activities

  1. Sending unsolicited email messages, including the sending of "junk mail" or other advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such material (email spam).
  2. Any form of harassment via email, telephone, pager, sms text messages or Instant Messaging services whether through content, language, frequency, or size of
  3. Unauthorized use, or forging, of email header
  4. Solicitation of email for other email addresses, other than that of the poster's account, with the intent to harass or to collect
  5. Creating or forwarding "chain letters" or "pyramid" schemes of any type.
  6. Use of unsolicited email originating from within Smeal College of Business networks or other Internet/Intranet/Extranet service providers on behalf of, or to advertise, any service hosted by the Smeal College of Business or connected via Smeal College of Business
  7. Posting identical or similar non-business-related messages to large numbers of newsgroups (newsgroup spam) or forums

4.0 Enforcement

The Smeal College of Business Research Instructional and Information Technology Group (RIIT Group) has been authorized by the Dean of the Smeal College of Business to enforce this policy.

Any employee found to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action by their Administrative unit, the College, or the University.

5.0 Definitions

Spam: Unauthorized and/or unsolicited electronic mass mailings.

Internet: A worldwide system of computer networks

Intranet: A private network that is contained within an enterprise.

Extranet: A private network that uses the Internet protocol and the public telecommunication system to securely share part of a business's information or operations with suppliers, vendors, partners, customers, or other businesses.

Firewall: A system or device designed to prevent or allow certain network traffic to or from a subnet or subset of PCs on a subnet.

6.0 Revision History

06/04/2007 - Initial modification from COE policies, used with permission in conjunction with the Penn State IPAS project.

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