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Computer Security Awareness Project, 2004-2005

Student Researchers: Alicia Coon, Ometere (Tuté) Ehinlaiye, Melissa Karolewski, Sarai Raffensperger
Advisor: Dr. Rose Shumba


The goal of this project was to enhance the public’s understanding and acceptance of information security issues through awareness and education. The project involved investigating the current computer security practices and techniques and hosting security awareness workshops at IUP.

Activities of 2004-2005

A presentation titled “Is Your Home Computer Safe” in April 2005. The presentation was done as part of the Natural Sciences Science Festival. A total of more than one hundred high school students attended the presentation. The student evaluations for the presentation were very positive and encouraging.

Activities of 2005-2006

A poster was accepted and presented at the 2006 Grace Hopper Conference October 4-7, 2006, in San Diego.

 Comp Sci Women at conference 

Alicia, Melissa, and Tuté visited Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania on the September 21, 2006, to talk about their experiences with undergraduate research. Lindsey and Tamara also accompanied the group. A poster based on the work from Computer Security Awareness paper was presented at the IUP Undergraduate Scholars Conference on April 4, 2006, and the IUP Women in Science Technical Poster Session organized by the College of Natural Science and Mathematics on April 9, 2006.

A paper, outlining the most commonly used tools and practices for home computer protection and the results of a questionnaire from 2004-2005 was presented at the twenty-first annual PACISE conference held at IUP on April 7, 2006. Alicia Coon, Tuté Ehinlaiye, and Melissa Karolewski presented the paper.


Home computer security is often a neglected area of security. In the fall of 2004, with funding from the ACM CREU (Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates in Science and Engineering) program, a project on home computer security was started. The goal of the project was to enhance the public’s understanding and acceptance of information security issues through awareness and education. The project consisted of three phases: the identification of currently used practices for computer security, an evaluation of the practices, and then a public awareness and education outreach program on the importance and relevance of computer security. Through a questionnaire survey, currently used practices for home security were collected and analyzed. The target population was the IUP student community. During the identification phase, a questionnaire was administered to random IUP classes. From the results of the survey, a list of the best of breed security tools was identified and reviewed. During the last phase, the research was presented to three groups of high school students during the 2005 Natural Sciences Science Festival.