Taylor Releases Ohio University Audit

Recommends Ways to Improve Computer Security, Reduce Threat of Hackers

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Athens -

State Auditor Mary Taylor released the Ohio University audit today offering recommendations on ways the university can improve computer security and protect personal information from hackers.

This audit follows recent news reports documenting five incidents of hackers accessing personal information, including the social security numbers and medical records of students, alumni and staff.

“Proper security measures will help prevent intruders from gaining access to personal information stored in the university’s computer systems,” Taylor said. “In light of the school’s current situation, I urge university administrators to consider the recommendations made in this report in an effort to increase security and regain the trust of students, alumni and staff.”

Recommendations include:

  • Enhancing the security levels of certain software applications to further protect the system from unauthorized activity. By having proper security levels in place, university information would be more secure.
  • Centralizing computer network security systems to help decrease the potential theft of confidential records and information.  The management of the school’s computer network security is currently spread across the university and within different university colleges.
  • Hiring additional staff to work in the information technology (IT) department to ensure the department runs at its most efficient and secure levels.

Auditors have made recommendations in previous audits to centralize the university’s network security systems and increasing IT staff. In 2005, auditors said staff levels were not sufficient to operate at the most secure level.

The State Auditor’s Office works to ensure that all public funds are spent appropriately and in accordance with state and local laws.  The office also works aggressively to root out fraud, waste and abuse in public spending, and help prosecute those who seek to use public funds for personal gain.

A full copy of the audit is available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us. For more information on the recommendations, please contact Steve Faulkner in the Auditor’s Office at (614) 644-0056 or via email at slfaulkner@auditor.state.oh.us.