What is computer vulnerability?
In spite of the best efforts of the developers, all operating system (OS) and software/application have flaws. A flaw is a vulnerability if it has the potential of allowing unauthorized users to make unintended use of the computer.
Developers and hackers are in a constant race to find those vulnerabilities and see if they can be patched before they get exploited. The developers' best efforts can be thwarted if you, the end user, do not apply the patches and updates they produce.
If you are using a university computer, your office may have a computer support person who keeps your computer patched and updated for you. Ask around to see if that is true for you.
If you own the computer, you are probably your own computer support person. For the protection of your own private information and the investment you made in the computer, you must be sure that your computer OS and software are always kept up-to-date. You can probably schedule your OS to check for updates frequently and alert you when one is available.
How do we discover computer vulnerabilities?
Each week we scan all computers connected to the USU Network. We use a variety of tools and techniques as we look for areas that could be vulnerable. If we discover problems with a particular machine, we send out a customized email message to that person with an explanation of what we have found. We give the owner a few days to acknowledge the notification. We ask them to check into the problem and let us know how they plan to fix it.
Those who need help addressing the identified problems, may visit mytech.usu.edu to contact their organization's IT support personnel or they may phone the IT Service Desk at 797-HELP.
If people don't respond by our deadline, we disable their computer registration until we hear back from them. We do not charge a fee for finding vulnerabilities.