You are here: American University Information Technology IT Security IT Incident Response

IT Incident Response

OIT works cooperatively with Campus Police, General Counsel, the Office of Risk Management, and other identified offices (depending on incident) to coordinate the appropriate investigation and response for a given IT security incident.

Each incident investigation requires consideration of relevant DC and/or Federal law, University Policy, privacy concerns, business continuity, and risk mitigation.

IT Security Incident Examples

Some examples include:

  • Using University IT resources to gain unauthorized access into any non-University computer system 
  • Using University IT resources to harass or threaten someone
  • Accessing your computer or your data without permission or authority 
  • Using a University system without authorization 
  • Compromising University data: unauthorized distribution or unauthorized change 
  • Unexpected disruption of University services

Frequently Asked Questions

Read the specific scenarios addressed below for guidance, or contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550,, or chat via for assistance.

Stop all activities on your computer; and contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550 or chat via It is important to tell the Help Desk analyst that you have an urgent issue, and that you suspect an IT security incident has occurred. They will direct you to a member of the Information Security team.

Please report all abuse or misuse of technology resources, as soon as is practical, by sending an e-mail to or chatting via All reports of abuse or misuse should contain a brief explanation of the suspected abuse or misuse.

When possible, please include the suspected AU IP address, and the date and time when the suspected abuse occurred. The more specific you can be, the better chance we have of tracking down the suspect.

If you receive a threatening e-mail, contact the American University Police immediately and file a report.

AU uses SPAM filters to try to catch inappropriate or objectionable e-mail. Spammers continue to find ways around these technical filters. If you find a message that slips through, you can report the undesired or SPAM e-mail.

Please forward the e-mail with your report to the IT Help Desk. Be sure to save the file as an EML format.

Please contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550,, or chat via, if you need assistance with viewing and forwarding the full headers.

If you are reporting what you believe is criminal activity, do not delete the e-mail from your computer, until you have contacted Campus Police and have been instructed to do so.