In case you missed it, the Academy Awards of 30-second college student-made computer security awareness videos were recently announced.

Sponsored by EDUCAUSE, the National Cyber Security Alliance and ResearchChannel, the videos lack the glitz and glamour of an award-winning Hollywood production. I must say, though, most of the winners were entertaining.

The videos promote three major messages: run anti-virus software and a firewall, and enable automatic updates.

The third-place finisher, "When You Least Expect It," chose to focus on the need for wireless security. The clip by Nolan Portillo of California State University in Bakersfield depicts an attractive man and woman - both on their laptops - flirting across a coffee shop. At the end of the spot, he gets up, collects his laptop, and walks out. A message flashes on the screen that he just stole her identity.

The most amusing video came from Evan Michals of Dartmouth College. The actor in the video, sitting in the middle of the library, receives an IM claiming to come from a friend that includes a link to check out some vacation pictures. The actor clicks, only to have his computer infected by pop-up porn advertisements complete with sounds of o

It reminded me of that Southwest Airlines commercial of the woman in the office. Remember that one..."Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations..."

The purpose of the contest (beside the winners getting a handsome prize) is "to raise awareness of and increase computer security at colleges and universities."

While advice like this won't help reduce the number of breaches we've been reading about - colleges need a lot more than AV software to stop malicious hackers with their eye on vulnerable applications - it may help to save some students' from having their identities stolen by fraudsters or becoming part of a botnet.

When it comes to protecting a home user, it really is that simple. Keep your updates and basic security solutions running and you should be fine.

Oh, and don't click on those links promising vacation pictures.