Accessing your hard drives

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Save on Ryerson’s hard drives and this could be you. Ahhhh!

By Jill Koskitalo

Computer users beware: if you have been using Ryerson’s computer labs, your work may still be floating around.

Anything saved to the hard drive of a school computer may stay there for months. Once saved, the files are accessible to anyone else who uses the same terminal.

Ryerson computer labs offer a host of interesting files left by unaware students. Resumes, reports, telephone and student numbers – along with the names that go with them – and other personal correspondence are all available to any casual browser.

Michelle English, a first-year radio and television arts student, was shocked to learn her resume, including her address and telephone number, was available on a Ryerson computer’s C drive.

“I didn’t realize I had saved it on the hard drive,” English said. “ I probably did it absent-mindedly.”

English expressed concern that someone could get hold of her personal information and was surprised no one had ever warned her about this.

“I didn’t know about this at all. I never really thought about it,” she said. “They should definitely post warnings.”

Brian Lesser, of computing and communications services, said with the exception of one teaching lab, the computers are not purged regularly.

“Files saved to the hard drives can live there forever,” he said.

“I think warning students is a good idea. If it’s not already in the user guide…something should be put in there.”

The Ryerson User’s Guide to Academic Computing and the Internet does prohibit gaining access to and copying files without permission.

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