Harper College

Stay Secure

Acceptable Use of Harper College Communications Network (HCCN)

I. Philosophy:
Harper College provides for the use of technology and information equipment, software, networks and facilities to further the College's mission of instruction, communication, research, and public service. Access and use of facilities is a privilege and must be treated as such by all users. Acceptable use is based on common sense, common decency, and civility, and users are subject to such procedures and processes, which operate in the College. Responsibility for the provision and support of the resources resides with Information Technology organization.

II. Risk and Responsibility: E-Mail, Internet Resources, and Electronic Files
A. Security
Harper College utilizes industry standard tools, processes, and equipment to protect electronic files stored on its computer systems and to filter materials that are transmitted or received via the College computer resources. Harper College assumes no liability for offensive material that any user may encounter such as material that is illegal, defamatory, obscene, inaccurate, or controversial. 

B. Privacy
Users are strictly prohibited from accessing files and information other than their own, those which were intended for the user, and those for which the user has permission from authorized College personnel to access.

The College reserves the right, to access its computer and network systems, including current and archival files of users' accounts; if that access would be imperative to conducting College business; if there is strong evidence of improper usage; or if there is strong evidence of impropriety. Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act ("IFOIA"), electronic files are treated in the same way as paper files. Any inspection of electronic files, and any action based upon such inspection, will be governed by all applicable federal and state laws and by College policies.

C. Education and Training
All users have the responsibility to use the facilities and all forms of technology resources in an efficient, ethical, and legal manner. Users are expected to follow equipment and lab usage guidelines and, when necessary, receive training in the use of these resources. They should accept responsibility for their own work by learning appropriate uses of software to maintain the integrity of work created. Users should keep archives and backup copies of important work. They are responsible for learning and properly using the features of securing and/or sharing access to files.

III. Unacceptable Uses:
It is the joint responsibility of all users to help avoid unacceptable uses such as but not limited to:

  • Using the resources for any purpose, which violates federal laws, state laws or College policies.
  • Using the resources for commercial purposes.
  • Misrepresenting the user's identity or affiliation in the use of information technology resources.
  • Creating, sending, storing or soliciting patently harassing, intimidating, abusive, or offensive material to or about others.
  • Intercepting, disrupting, or altering electronic communications.
  • Using another person's account, user ID, name, or password.
  • Sharing of individual user accounts and resources with another person or another organization.
  • Attempting to exceed, evade or change assigned specifications or limitation of an account without the approval of appropriate College personnel. Impeding the use of systems by others.
  • Attempting to corrupt the system.
  • Reproducing or distributing copyrighted materials without authorization.

Use of networks, technology, and information resources accessed from the College, such as Internet, satellite teleconferencing and distance learning facilities, is subject to the same principles and guidelines that are present within the College. Networks, technology, or information resource providers outside the College may, in turn, impose additional conditions of appropriate use, which the user is responsible to observe when using those resources.

IV. Consequences:
Abuse of these guidelines will result in possible legal action and/or official campus disciplinary procedures. Incidents involving unacceptable uses will be handled through existing processes.

Personally identifiable information (PII) is information that can be used to locate or identify an individual. Loss of such information may lead to identity theft or other fraudulent use.

Examples of PII include:

  • Full Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Social Security Number
  • Credit Card Number
  • Driver's License

Ways to minimize the risks of exposing your PII:

  • If you are asked for your PII, find out how the information will be used and how it will be protected by reading the "Privacy Policy" provided.
  • If you receive an email or pop-up message asking for your PII, don't reply or click on the link. If you believe the request for information is legitimate, call the company directly.
  • If you are shopping online, never provide your personal or financial information through the web site until you have checked for indicators that the site is secure - web site addresses should start with https and a lock icon should be present.

Identity theft is a serious crime. Identity theft happens when someone uses  information about you without your permission. They could use your:

  • Name and address
  • Credit card or bank account numbers
  • Social security number
  • Medical insurance account numbers

Some warning signs that you may be a victim to identity theft are:

  • Errors on your credit or bank statements
  • Errors on your credit report
  • Late or missing bills
  • Receiving credit cards you did not apply for
  • Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
  • Denials of credit or being offered less favorable terms for no apparent reason

If you believe your identity has been stolen, a helpful guide is available from the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov.

Tips to prevent identity theft: 

  • Don't give out your Social Security number, mother's maiden name, Harper College Student ID number or any account information over the phone, unless you are sure the caller is legitimate.
  • Don't carry your Social Security card, passport, or birth certificate with you, except when necessary.
  • Verify that the website is secure with https:// before entering personal information including username, password, credit card number, etc.
  • Review your financial statements and reports.
  • Shred or burn all documents that have your personal information on them before throwing away.
  • Only release your Social Security number when absolutely necessary. If a business uses it for identification, ask to have an alternative number used.
  • Never write down PINs and passwords. Memorize them instead. Do not use any part of your name, birth date, Social Security number, or any easy to guess words as your password or pin.
  • Order and review your credit report at least once a year from the national credit reporting bureaus.
  • Be careful what you share on social media. Do not share personal details such as birthday, name of school, pet’s name, your location, etc.

How is social engineering done?

  • Social engineers are individuals with malicious intent. They try to trick people into providing sensitive information which will give them access to data.
  • They may call on the phone pretending to be someone from the Harper College Human Resources or Information Technology division and ask that you provide sensitive information.
  • Social engineers do not limit their tactics to phone calls, they also "Dumpster Dive". Be sure to always shred or dispose of sensitive documents in a secure container.

Laptops are used everyday to make our electronic lives more readily accessible. Some tips to help keep your information secure on your laptop are:

  • DO NOT leave your laptop on your desk unattended. Secure your laptop with a PC cable lock or place it in a locked desk or cabinet to prevent unauthorized access.
  • When traveling, carry your laptop as carry-on luggage and always keep it secure and close at hand.
  • Report the loss of laptops immediately to the Service Desk and your supervisor.

Mobile devices have become an important part of our lives. We recommend the following security tips:

  • Turn on the security features of your device – all devices have them.
  • Configure a passcode to gain access to and use the device.
  • Use your phone’s auto-lock feature.
  • Don’t share your phone with others. There is only one passcode to gain access unlike a computer where there can be multiple accounts.
  • Leave your Bluetooth turned off when you are not using it. Bluetooth connections should be done in private, uncrowded areas.
  • Enroll your device in Find My iPhone or an equivalent service. This will help you locate your device should it be lost or stolen.
  • Install security updates.
  • Do not “jailbreak” your device. “Jailbreaking” removes the manufacturer’s protection against malware.
  • Obtain your apps only from trusted sources such as the Apple iTunes Store, Google Play, or the Amazon App Store for Android. This helps you avoid malware which is often distributed via illicit channels.
  • Backup your data regularly. It is recommended to sync your mobile device with your computer.


Last Updated: 12/20/23