Information Technology Services IT Security Office
SERVICES

The IT Security Office provides specific security services to Mason faculty, staff, and students. Here you will find a list of all our offered services with descriptions and how to request each service.

IT Security Services

CAS Authentication
Information on this service coming soon!
Enterprise Whole Disk Encryption
The IT Security Office (ITSO) offers whole disk encryption for Microsoft Windows and Apple workstations and laptops to protect against unwanted access to data when the computer is powered off. Whole disk encryption protects all of the data on the hard drive. The enterprise solution supported by the ITSO allows for recovery if passwords are lost or operating systems experience failure through centralized, encryption key management. In addition, if a computer is lost, this service can create an audit trail to provide evidence of encryption and protection up to the point of loss.

University faculty and staff must request approval to store highly sensitive data on their workstations and laptops. Upon approval, the hard drive must be encrypted. For information concerning this requirement, go to the Authorization to Store Highly Sensitive Data web page.

Faculty and staff may request encryption services for sensitive data that they believe could result in significant, negative impact to the organization if exposed.

This encryption solution provides access control restrictions in addition to those delivered by MESA. Auditing and logging, which provides assurance of system encryption, is performed by the application and can indicate and alert when unauthorized access is attempted.

The whole disk encryption solution provides limited protection for systems while they are powered on and is only one component of protecting highly sensitive data. The ITSO can assist with assessing and formulating additional, appropriate controls and other recommendations.

This service is restricted to Microsoft Windows and Apple workstations and laptops.

Requirements for classifying, controlling, and protecting regulated data are described in University Policy Number 1114: Data Stewardship.

All users of the George Mason University network must adhere to University Policy Number 1301: Responsible Use of Computing.

How to Get this Service

To request storage of highly sensitive data on your workstation or laptop go to the Authorization to Store Highly Sensitive Data web page. To request encryption services outside the need to store highly sensitive data, contact the ITU Support Center and request "whole disk encryption services provided by the IT Security Office." Your request will be evaluated by the ITSO. There is no charge for this service.

Additional Information

The back end systems that support the enterprise encryption solution are included in TSD's critical infrastructure and are robustly supported with uptime of 99.9% or better. Support for end clients is performed by ITSO staff upon request or when alerted. Due to the nature of this service, approvals, evaluations, and risk assessments determine installation timeframes. For maintenance, contact the ITU Support Center, clearly specify the support request, and ask that it be directed to the IT Security Office.
Firewalls
The Mason network utilizes firewalls for protection from unauthorized access and malicious attacks. Departments may request adjustments to firewall settings to enable specific types of access or services hosted on their equipment or to permit access to newly installed servers. All servers connected to the Mason network must be registered with the Information Technology Unit.

Access to secure services and applications is limited to authorized users only.

All servers connected to the Mason network must be protected by the network firewalls and must adhere to the following policies:

How to Get this Service

Firewall protection is automatic. Setting adjustments for departmental servers can be requested by completing a Firewall Change Request form. (TSD system administrators may request firewall changes via e-mail or SDE tickets for servers hosted in the Aquia Data Center.)

To register a server with the ITU, complete a Public Internet Host Request form. There is no charge for this service.
Network Vulnerability Scanning
The network vulnerability scanning application managed by the IT Security Office is a full-featured solution that allows for scanning of systems by authorized system administrators. Scans can be conducted either from behind or in front of university network firewalls and from networks that appear to be from outside the university LAN. The application provides for delegation of scanning, alerting, and reporting.
Because vulnerability scanning can negatively impact systems and applications, system administrators are responsible for the scanning on their systems. It is a violation of the university’s Responsible for system administrators to probe or scan systems outside their authority.

System administrators are given accounts with limited rights that allow them to scan, see alerts, and access reports for their systems. System owners need to approve account requests, which should be accompanied by a list of systems to be scanned.

All users of this service must adhere to:

How to Get This Service

This service is only available to system owners or administrators as defined in the Data Stewardship Policy.

Contact Curtis McNay, cmcnay@gmu.edu, to request access.

Additional Information

The vulnerability scanning application provides context sensitive help information. Since vulnerability scanning requires very specific knowledge of TCP/IP networking and of the host being scanned, users of this system are expected to have appropriate technical knowledge and understanding of network vulnerability scanning technology.

Contact Curtis McNay, cmcnay@gmu.edu with any questions.

Third party training:

Security Awareness Training
The IT Security Office (ITSO) provides topic-specific presentations and training for IT Security related issues, including:

Compliance with:
  • University and Commonwealth IT Security Policy
  • Federal IT Security Regulations
  • PCI-DSS Standard

Cyber Security Awareness:
  • Social Networking and Cloud Services
  • Phishing
  • Web-Based Threats
  • Securing Your Web-Browser

Recommendations for best practices:
  • Securing PC and Servers
  • Protecting Sensitive Data

Custom presentations and training based on unique business risks:
  • Requirements for Using Highly Sensitive Data
  • What is Critical for Business Continuity?
  • How is Sensitive Data Protected in Storage and in Transit?
  • What are the Risks of Workstation Compromises and Authentication Credentials?

Every member of the university community is required to complete IT Security Awareness Training at least once a year when their Patriot Pass password expires. The training typically takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Additional information is available on the Patriot Pass web page.

How to Get This Service

To request and schedule a presentation or training, contact Karen L. Bates, Communications Coordinator, kbates8@gmu.edu. There is no charge for this service.
Symantec Endpoint Protection (Antivirus)
The IT Security Office is using Symantec Endpoint Protection version 12 that is available to all university-owned resources as well as faculty, staff, and student systems.

Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 (SEP 12) combines technologies from previous Symantec products such as:
  • Antivirus and antispyware: Antivirus and antispyware scans detect viruses and other security risks, including spyware, adware, and other files, that can put a computer or a network at risk.
  • Personal firewall: The Symantec Endpoint Protection firewall provides a barrier between the computer and the Internet, preventing unauthorized users from accessing the computers and networks. It detects possible hacker attacks, protects personal information, and eliminates unwanted sources of network traffic.
  • Intrusion prevention: The Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is the Symantec Endpoint Protection client's second layer of defense after the firewall. The IPS is a network-based system. If a known attack is detected, one or more intrusion prevention technologies can automatically block it.
  • Proactive threat scanning: Proactive threat scanning uses heuristics to detect unknown threats. Heuristic process scanning analyzes the behavior of an application or process to determine if it exhibits characteristics of threats, such as Trojan horses, worms, or keyloggers. This type of protection is sometimes referred to as zero-day protection.
  • Kernel-level rootkit protection: Symantec Endpoint Protection expands rootkit protection to detect and repair kernel-level rootkits. Rootkits are programs that hide from a computer's operating system and can be used for malicious purposes.
  • Enhanced LiveUpdate: LiveUpdate now supports the downloading and installation of a wide variety of content, including definitions, signatures, whitelists to prevent false positives, engines, and product updates.

Mason provides two different configurations to users: faculty/staff-managed and student/home-unmanaged.
  • Faculty/Staff-Managed: This configuration is for systems on the MESA domain and remote access (VPN) users. Managed systems will automatically receive updates preconfigured with best practices.
  • Student/Home-Unmanaged: This configuration is for student and personal systems not on the MESA domain. While users will have the ability to adjust the features provided, they will be responsible for maintaining and updating the software if their systems or settings are changed.

How to Get This Service

Users connected to MESA were automatically upgraded to the new version with minimal impact during the month of July, 2013. 

Users not connected to MESA will have to download the new version from the IT Services Downloads page or http://itservices.gmu.edu/downloads/antivirus-information.cfm.

**The first time you open Firefox and Internet Explorer (IE) after installing SEP 12, you will be asked to allow or deny IPS add-ons. Make sure you click ALLOW.

New systems and rebuilt systems come with SEP 12 already installed.

If you are a System Administrator, please contact the IT Security Office at 703-993-5633 or itsoinfo@gmu.edu for additional information.