Abuse of Information Technology Resources

What is IT Abuse?

The term "IT abuse" describes willful or negligent unauthorized activity that affects the availability, confidentiality, or integrity of information technology (IT) resources. In this context, "IT abuse" can take many forms and may involve any one of a variety of information technology resources. Prohibited conduct relating to computer access and use for which students and employees may be subject to disciplinary action are defined in their respective "standards of conduct."

Some examples of IT abuse include:

  • The use of obscene or abusive language;
  • Unauthorized use or misuse of state property or records which includes electronic data and email;
  • Willfully or negligently damaging or defacing state records, state property or other persons' property;
  • Falsification of records; and
  • Theft or unauthorized removal of state records, state property or another persons' property such as a DMCA violation.

Responsible Computing and Information Technology Policies

Everyone within the University of Virginia community has the responsibility to use University computing and communications technology resources only for legal and ethical activities. Members of this community must always keep in mind that the intended use of these resources is to support the University's general mission of instruction, research, and service.

The University Information Security office (InfoSec) has created the documents listed below to help members of the University community understand the University's expectations.

Since information technology resources are essential for supporting UVA's mission, it is important that all users of University IT resources familiarize themselves with and abide by the documents above, and by all University IT policies. Being a responsible user of these resources helps to ensure their confidentiality, availability, and integrity and reduces the likelihood that UVA users will become victims of such abuse.

Consequences of Abuse of IT Resources

Violations of law that occur in the context of computing activities have serious University-mandated disciplinary consequences.  Sanctions involving central University computing and communications resources for violation of policy or for law are determined by various disciplinary entities and are carried out by ITS. In the event that an immediate threat to the computing and communications systems is found, ITS will take direct and immediate action to safeguard the resources it is charged to protect.

The University Information Security office has a team which responds to reports of IT Abuse. This group investigates the problems reported and takes appropriate action to protect the members of the community and University resources. These actions can include blocking a computer or other device from accessing UVA's network.

Every member of the IT abuse team recognizes the often sensitive nature of both reports received and what is found during the course of an investigation. All members of the team hold both reports and findings confidential, consistent with both the letter and the spirit of the procedures described on these pages and the rules of the disciplinary bodies involved.

Since information technology is an integral part of our lives, IT abuse problems are prevalent. Being a responsible user of these resources helps prevent these kinds of problems and minimizes the possibility that you'll be the victim of such abuse.

Reporting IT Abuse

Should you become aware of suspected or confirmed instances of abuse of IT resources, report them to Information Security, your system administrator, or another appropriate University authority immediately. Computing resource abuse should be reported to  [email protected].  Incidents involving employees and sexually explicit material (e.g., pornography) should be reported directly to University Human Resources Employee Relations (Email: [email protected]).

About Spam

You may receive this type of email from someone you know or from a complete stranger.

Alerts & Warnings

This page lists current warnings regarding suspicious email messages and other cybersecurity hazards at the University of Virginia.


This page contains a list of frequently asked questions regarding IT abuse.

Prevent IT Abuse

This page details specific actions you can take to prevent IT abuse.

Report a Problem

This page covers the best way to report problems to University Information Security office.