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M3 Research Summary
24 March 2020
The University of South Florida Tampa is one of the largest public universities in Florida.
Each year, over 40,000 students enroll at the university for pursuing various academic interests.
As a research institution, USF performs its mission through various activities in the state. The
institutional resources, including knowledgebases, such as libraries, and software applications
are housed on servers, and users from various locations on campus and external sites can access
the computing resources for accomplishing work and other activities.
Evidence from breaches and cybercriminal activity are useful as they help characterize
the problem at USF. Since the community at USF is a diverse community, with a wide range of
levels of sophistication regarding the use of computers and applications, it is critical to
characterize the problem with evidence for the community at USF. The plan and progress reports
are presented in exhibits A.1 and B.1.
Reports of breaches and cybercriminal activity abound in the media, but incidents
specifically related to the USF community provide the necessary evidence for characterizing the
problems at USF and explore solutions for the challenges or problems.
The USF community is digitally connected, and all the stakeholders ranging from
students to researchers and professors are engaging with applications as part of the university
experience. Browsers are one of the most popular interfaces for the entire community. Since
there are many browsers for the digital world, it is critical to analyze browsers for the suitability
and deploy the ones that are the most effective or relevant for the USF. The solution could also
include a range of browsers and tools and technologies for ensuring the privacy and security of
data or information.
EXPLANATION OF THE PROBLEM
The research institution operates at several locations with students, faculty members, and
researchers, engaged in the mission of USF. The use of computers is typical for the community.
Servers and workstations are part of the environment, but the information systems and network
teams are responsible for developing solutions to enhance the computing experience of the
stakeholders associated with the institution.
Working on the cloud and remote applications are part of the IT systems deployed at
USF. Students, faculty, and researchers use applications remotely or on the cloud for their
learning, research, or teaching activities. Since more and more applications are using the browser
as the interface for the applications, it is critical for the IT department to deploy the most
effective or relevant internet browser for the organization. The University of South Florida
maintains an updated software catalog, which includes browsers like Internet Explorer 11.
Based on the findings, and the browsers could be categorized as the most relevant
browsers for the USF community. Popular browsers include Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari,
among others, but the decision should be made based on tests that indicate the performance of
the browsers in comparison to each other, and the ones that provide the best results for the
This is a case of malicious information, which seemed to originate from a University of
South Florida employee, and got sent to recipients who had signed up to receive email
Website defacement is an issue for the digital community as it results in a disruption of
services (Howell 536). This attack is highly undesirable for the sites on USF, which range from
student projects to applications for university services.
10 News reported a case of ID theft concerning a USF employee, who misappropriated
IDs of 3 accounts to take $37K from their accounts. This is a case of identity theft, and in this
crime, the criminal only needs the personal information of the victims.
CAUSES OF THE PROBLEM
Applications are designed to achieve specific outcomes. Users could logon to the
application and perform activities like analytics, report writing, research, and other activities
relevant for research and teaching.
Digital blackboards are part of the learning curriculum, and students are responsible for
using digital blackboards as part of their learning programs. Completing quizzes and writing
reports are typical activities for students. There are some risks for this task if the browsers are not
secure or have been compromised. For this reason, the organization must secure the browser
without loss of functionality.
Instructors and professors are responsible for teaching courses to the student community.
Part of the instruction involves the use of software and other applications on the cloud. For the
best experience, including hands-on sessions, for the students, it is critical to deploy the optimal
technology resources. This includes the ability to work with browsers for the applications.
As a research community, USF employs a sizeable research community, which is
engaged in performing activities that help bring new ideas to light, or pioneering technology
innovation and other scientific phenomena. For evidence-based research, the researchers must
secure the evidence by plugging security holes that provide opportunities for hackers and
criminal enterprises to take or compromise intellectual property.
Thus, the investigation shows how each stakeholder is affected differently, even if the
interface is the same for all the stakeholders. Thus, the problem is not just about finding the best
browser for the institution, but also about incorporating tools and techniques that contribute to
enhanced levels of security. There are also opportunities for developing plugins and other tools
to enhance the user experience while blocking opportunities for loss of data.
USF is the home of a community of over 50,000 faculty, students, researchers, and
others, who actively engage at the institution. The analysis shows that each of the major groups
is affected uniquely, based on the nature of the activities at the institution.
Students are the ...