A-Z Index

Network Security and Legal Issues

Network Security and Legal Issues

As we become more globally connected, Northwest is committed to ensuring efficient management and security of all campus technology resources to ensure the University's strategic goals for student success.  All individuals using Northwest-provided technology resources and accounts are required to support and abide by campus technology policies.

You, Northwest Technology & Security

Cybercrime is a worldwide problem and it affects students, faculty and staff on University campuses across the globe. Northwest is dedicated to preventing and mitigating security risks through outreach, awareness, assessment, policy and best practices.

An important part of the solution is for you, the user, to be alert for fraud and adopt good online habits such as changing your password when you are concerned it may have been compromised, deleting posts with too much sensitive information and keeping your anti-virus software current.

Northwest IT resources, including bandwidth and IP addresses,belong to the University.  These resources do not belong to end users.  Anyone using Northwest's wired or wireless networks are required to follow Northwest Technology Policies, as well as the acceptable use policy of the Missouri Research and Education Network (MOREnet), Northwest’s Internet service provider (ISP).

MORENet logo

Disclaimer: Although the local, state and federal criminal statutes and legal consequences (e.g. fines, jail time, etc.) found within Northwest's technology policies sections have been produced and processed from legitimate government and pertinent legal/educational sources believed to be reliable, no warranty expressed or implied is made by Northwest regarding completeness or precision of the content.


You, Northwest Technology & the Law


Northwest Scales of Justice
  • It is illegal to copy or delete data that is not yours without the permission from the owner/copyright holder.
  • It is illegal to steal someone else's identity and/or impersonate them to acquire merchandise, credit or to access their personal accounts and information.
  • It is illegal to harass someone through social media or email.
  • It is illegal to tamper with someone's email, social media accounts or web pages.
  • It is illegal to display sexually explicit material in a public place where a minor potentially might view the material.
    • Anyone under 18 years of age is considered a minor in the state of Missouri, except in certain criminal cases where a 17-year old maybe charged as an adult.
  • It is illegal to view, possess, reproduce, alter or distribute (or otherwise access and use) child pornography.
  • It is illegal to knowingly harm or to actively incite harm to others because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability.  
  • It is illegal to send unsolicited nude or sexually explicit photos or communications by text message, email or other electronic forms and is considered child pornography if the images are of someone younger than 18.
  • It is illegal to post nude, sexually explicit or obscene photos or communications of others without their knowledge and consent by text message, email or other electronic forms and is considered child pornography if the images are of someone younger than 18.
  • It is illegal to possess, view, reproduce, alter or distribute adult pornography in violation of local, state and/or federal law.

Explicit Material - Know the Rules



  • 407.020. Unlawful practices — penalty
    • Can be Class E felony.
  • 407.1120-1141. Electronic mass practices and unsolicited electronic mail — penalty
    • Can be Class E felony if it falls under 407.020.                                        


  • 542.402-422. Illegal wiretapping — penalty
    • Class E felony


  • 557.035.  Hate offenses — provides enhanced penalties for motivational factors in certain offenses 
    • Class D Felony.
    • Class E Felony.
  • 565.090. Harassment — penalties
    • Class A misdemeanor.
    • Class D felony.
  • 565.240. Unlawful posting of certain information over the Internet — penalty
    • Class C misdemeanor.
  • 565.252. Invasion of privacy — penalty
    • Class A misdemeanor.
    • Can be Class E felony.
  • 569.095. Tampering with computer data — penalties
    • Class A misdemeanor.
    • Can be Class E felony.
  • 569.097. Tampering with computer equipment — penalties
    • Class A misdemeanor.
    • Can be Class E felony.
    • Can be Class D felony.
  • 569.099. Tampering with computer users — penalties
    • Class A misdemeanor.
    • Can be Class E felony.
  • 570.223. Identity theft — penalties
    • Class A misdemeanor.
    • Class B or C or D felony.
  • 570.225. Misappropriation of intellectual property — penalty
    • Class A misdemeanor.
    • Can be Class D Felony.
  • 573.060. Public display of explicit sexual material — penalties
    • Class A misdemeanor
    • Can be Class E felony.
  • 573.037. Possession of child pornography — penalty
    • Class D felony.
    • Can be Class B felony.
    • Possession subject to separate punishments for each item of child pornography or obscene material.

You, the Northwest Technology & University Conduct Violations

As a member of our Bearcat family, you are expected to respect and abide by all University-approved policies, procedures and codes of conduct, as well as local, state and federal law.


Things you should not do at Northwest:

  • Do not use Northwest's information technology resources (e.g. networks, hardware, software,  accounts, etc.) to gain unauthorized access to other technology resources.
  • Do not install programs or hardware that might interfere or compromise the intended operations of the Northwest wired or wireless networks or University technology equipment.
  • Do not distribute or copy a program, music, motion picture or other type of digital media without proper authorization.
  • Do not plagiarize or infringe on the privacy rights, intellectual property rights or copyrights of others.
  • Do not prevent, intimidate or harass Northwest users from legally expressing their ideas and opinions, even if they radically differ from your own, using Northwest hardware, software and network(s).
  • Do not use social media, email or web pages to harass or incite harm toward Northwest students, faculty, staff, alumni or others based on political affiliation, race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability.


Fredrick Douglass Inspiration Quote

  • Do not create, distribute or use programs that may damage or negatively impact others.
  • Do not send unsolicited mass mail or send email, text or chat messages to unwilling recipients.
  • Do not use Northwest information technology resources personal gain and illegal activities.
  • Do not use Northwest information technology resources to advertise or solicit sales of products, event admission or services.
  • Do not assign an IP address to a computer on the Northwest network.
  • Do not tamper with or upgrade the internal components of your Northwest-issued laptop, desktop or tablet computer.
  • Do not disjoin your Northwest-issued tablet, desktop or laptop from the campus domain.
  • Do not rename your Northwest-issued tablet, desktop or laptop computer.  

You, Northwest Technology & Personal Equipment/Software

Certain types of non-Univeristy, personally-owned hardware, software & programs are prohibited on campus and from connecting to the Northwest wired and wireless networks.  The Office of Information Technology will actively monitor for the use of these types of hardware and software activity.

If activities involving prohibited hardware and software are detected or prohibited hardware and software is discovered, Information Technology staff (whenever reasonably possible) will: 

  • Attempt to notify the user of violating Northwest Technology Policies.
  • Give the user the opportunity to disconnect from the Northwest Network.
  • Give the user the opportunity to remove the prohibited hardware or software from campus without further disciplinary action.
  • Exceptions to this standard procedure include:
    • Malicious activities
    • Illegal activities
    • Network emergencies that involve potential loss of key services, licenses and violation of agreements.

If non-University, personally-owned hardware or software is negatively affecting either the campus wired or wireless network, it will result in:

  • Immediate (without warning) disabling of your Northwest Network Account.
  • Loss of connection privilege to both the wireless and wired campus networks.


DHCP & NAT Equipment Could duplicate services and make a user utilize a router under a hacker's control.  Could also be used to steal an IP address from an organization for its own use.  An IP is similar to a social security number in that it is a unique numerical label assigned to each device connected to a network.

DNS & DDNS Equipment

Could be used to launch a distributed denial of service attack to disable a University server and then take over that service so that users are directed to bogus web sites that are owned by the attacker.
Network/Port Scanners & Packet Sniffers Could be used to probe network equipment or listen, read, capture or "sniff" network traffic.  In short, could be used to view and capture communications on a wireless or wired network and compromise privacy and security.
Setting or Resetting Traffic Priority Could expose a network to multiple security risks such as a denial of service attack.  A hacker could obtain information such as what network adapters are available during a client logon sequence or move information offsite.
Modifying or Changing Physical MAC addresses Could be used to impersonate another user in the domain or present themselves as a duplicate MAC on the same LAN, which would cause service problems for the user being duplicated.  A hacker could also transmit rules and Ethernet frames to that address, which would cause errors for everyone on the network.
Internet Connection Sharing Could allow computers to be infected by malware or allow a hacker to directly access your computer and get a look at your data.
Non-approved Operating Systems Could cause spontaneous shutdowns and loss of data, as well as, allow computers on the network to be infected by malware.
Network or Cable/DSL routers Could be taken over for criminal activities such as illegal downloads and attacks on web sites and used in distributed denial of service attacks.  Could allow a hacker access to information on the network and to your personal data such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, email and more flowing through an encrypted WiFi network.

Servers not Operated or Approved by Northwest's Office of Information Technology

A server is defined as any machine or device connecting to the Northwest wired or wireless networks that provides files or services or sends more data than it receives. 

Providing online services to users via the campus network or turning your computer into a server to provide files to other users on the campus network could create network multiple security risks like invasion of privacy and subject you to legal charges including, but not limited to, copyright infringement.   

Types of prohibited servers:  Domain, HTTP, FTP, IRC, MP3, VPN, music or video servers and open file servers or shares.

Assigning a Static IP Address If a hacker knows you and your IP, then he can gain enough information to slowly penetrate into your network from offsite and compromise your password among other security issues.
Devices to Extend Northwest Network Services Non-University-approved wireless LAN devices can disrupt and slow down network services to other users on the campus wireless network.
Tunneling Software Could allow a hacker to access or provide a network service that the network does not support or to obtain access to data across the network by bypassing firewall protection.
Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Viruses are the biggest security risks, because peer-to-peer file sharing enables files to be transferred among multiple computers, many of which may be infected with files carrying worms and malware.  Other issues include online attacks and self-help attacks that could target a computer's IP Address and allow access to your computer by a hacker.
Be Aware! Any software or hardware that circumvents or bypasses campus network management tools such as a firewall is prohibited.  All equipment that the Office of Information Technology determines interferes with the normal operations of the campus wired or wireless network and its servers is prohibited.

Any Questions?



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