Computer Network – Policies & Guidelines on Access and Usage

The mission of the Information Technology Services Centre (ITSC) is to operate and develop its Computer Network and IT facilities (CUHKnet) to support and promote academic, research, and administrative activities in the University. Network connections are also maintained to the rest of the Chinese University campus including many departmental LANs, as well as to off-campus networks such as HARNET and Internet.

All faculty, staff, and students using CUHKnet facilities are responsible for using these facilities in an effective, ethical, and lawful manner. Most of the policies and guidelines presented in this document are expressed in general terms. They are applicable to all facilities and services that ITSC provide. Policies and guidelines that are more specific to a facility or a service are documented onlineAs a user of CUHKnet you are automatically governed by the policies and guidelines in this document and on other electronic media.

The use and operation of CUHKnet are subject to the following disclaimers.

  1. Every effort is made by the ITSC staff to prevent loss of data in the event of hardware or software failure or through human error. This is done by making regular backup copies of data stored on the CUHKnet. It must be recognized, however, that in rare cases it may not be possible to restore the latest version of every data file from these backups, and some data loss may occur. Because these cases are outside the ITSC staff’s control, the staff are not liable for any loss of data arising directly or indirectly from the failure of hardware, software, or from human error.
  2. Appropriate effort is made to maintain system security, however, unauthorized access to information is possible through malicious mischief. The ITSC staff cannot guarantee against loss of privacy, theft of information, damage or loss of data arising directly or indirectly from the absence or failure of system security protection mechanisms. ITSC will accept no liability whatsoever for any direct, incidental, consequential or indirect damages, loss or corruption of data, loss of profits, goodwill, bargain or opportunity or loss of anticipated savings or any other loss resulting from your access to, reliance on, or use of, or inability to use CUHKnet, whether based on warranty, contract, tort, negligence or any other legal theory, and whether or not ITSC knows of the possibility of such damage.
  3. Most of the software used on the CUHKnet is purchased or licensed from third-party vendors, usually without source code. This limits the ITSC staff’s ability to repair bugs in this software, or to modify the software. In many cases, several software packages of similar purpose are provided to attempt to serve a broader range of needs. However, the CUHKnet can make no warranty, express or implied, regarding the computing services offered or their fitness for any particular purpose.

When applying for access to CUHKnet facilities, a valid CU Link card must be presented. For some facilities, CUHKnet may require an application to be endorsed by the applicants’ supervisor or head of the department.

  1. The facilities of the CUHKnet, including core and fee-charging services, are made available to the faculty, staff, and students at the University. Facilities may also be made available to student organizations and staff organizations by special arrangement.
  2. Only properly authorized persons may access CUHKnet facilities; proper authorization is provided by ITSC staff members or their designates in the form of an account issued in the name of the authorized person.
  3. A user should not permit any other person, including other authorized users, to access CUHKnet facilities through his or her account, unless the access is on behalf of the account holder.
  4. Those people who have been issued keys, access cards, or combinations to obtain access to CUHKnet facilities may not use these items to allow other persons to access the facilities. Keys, access cards, and combinations should not be lent or given to others.

Users of the CUHKnet have the following rights and responsibilities.

  1. To enable the ITSC staff to accurately maintain information about the user of each account, each user is responsible for supplying current information to the appropriate ITSC staff member including department affiliation, degree program (undergraduate or graduate), and the University position (faculty, staff, graduate staff, or student).
  2. To provide false or misleading information for the purpose of obtaining access to CUHKnet facilities is a violation of University policy.
  3. Users are responsible for all activities that initiated in or on CUHKnet by their accounts or computing devices. They should ensure that their devices meet relevant security standards and are securely configured with updated security patches or updates as soon as practical.
  4. Users are responsible for selecting a secure password for their account and for keeping that password secret at all times. Passwords should not be written down, stored online, or given to others. Passwords should never be given out to someone claiming to be an ITSC staff member; authorized ITSC staff members do not need to know individual user’s password.
  5. Users are responsible for protecting their own files and data from being read and/or written by other users, using whatever protection mechanisms are provided by the operating system in use. Users are responsible for picking up their printer output promptly to avoid theft or disposal.
  6. Users are urged to report any system security violation, or suspected system security violation, to the CUHKnet staff or through ITSC Service Desk System at immediately.
  7. Most CUHKnet facilities are made available on an unmonitored basis. It is the responsibility of every user to act in such a manner as to not cause damage to the physical equipment. Accidental damage, or damage caused by other parties, should be reported to the CUHKnet staff as soon as possible so that corrective action can be taken.
  8. Users who borrow hardware, software, or documentation from CUHKnet are responsible for its proper care and to return it in a timely fashion.
  9. Users are responsible for following all official notices posted in computer laboratories or online.
  10. Users have the right not to be harassed while using CUHKnet facilities, whether it is physical, verbal, electronic, or any other form of abuse. Harassment should be reported to the CUHKnet staff or ITSC Service Desk System at
  11. Users have the right to make data access requests to ascertain from ITSC whether ITSC holds personal data of which they are the data subjects, and if ITSC holds such data, to be supplied with a copy of such data. Above all, users of the CUHKnet facilities are responsible at all times for using them in a manner that is ethical, legal, and not to the detriment of others.

The ITSC staff have a responsibility to maintain effective operation of the CUHKnet facilities.

  1. ITSC staff have the responsibility to make every reasonable effort to maintain the privacy of a user’s data files and emails.
  2. ITSC staff have the responsibility to comply with the guidelines of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance in using and holding personal data of its users. Details of ITSC privacy policy and practices in collecting, holding and using of staff and student personal data can be found at here.
  3. Subject to item 5a and the University Policies and Guidelines on the Use and Monitoring of the University’s Information and Communication Technologies Facilities and Services (via CUHK Login), ITSC staff have the right to carry out the following tasks
    1. In the normal course of examining and repairing system problems, and when investigating instances of improper use of CUHKnet facilities, the ITSC staff may need to examine users’ files, emails, printer listings and etc; temporarily revoke user account or block access to user files.
    2. To protect against hardware and software failures, backup of all data stored on CUHKnet systems is made on a regular basis. The ITSC staff has the right to examine the contents of these backups to get sufficient information to diagnose and correct problems with system software, or to investigate instances of improper use of CUHKnet facilities
  4. Investigations that discover improper use may cause the ITSC staff to: limit the access of those found using facilities or services improperly; disclose information found during the investigation to University or law enforcement authorities; initiate disciplinary actions as prescribed by University policies and procedures.
  5. With reasonable cause for suspicion, the ITSC staff has a right to monitor any or all aspects of a system, to determine if a user is acting in violation of the guidelines set forth in this document.
  6. The ITSC staff may alter the priority or terminate the execution of any process or suspend an access to CUHKnet or block any harmful traffic that is consuming excessive system resources or objectionably degrading system response without prior notification.
  7. The ITSC staff may remove or compress files that are not related to Information Technology Services Centre missions, or which are consuming large amounts of disk space, with or without prior notification.
  8. The ITSC staff has a responsibility of keeping the database of user accounts in the computer systems up-to-date. A user account and data files will be deleted, without prior notice, once he/she is not a member of the University.
  9. The ITSC staff may terminate connected login sessions that have been idling (unused) for prolonged periods of time to free resources. The definition of a “prolonged period” of time may vary from system to system, depending on resource availability.
  10. The ITSC staff have a responsibility to provide advance notices of system shutdowns for maintenance, upgrades, or changes so that users may plan around periods of system unavailability. However, in the event of an emergency, the CUHKnet staff may shut down a system with little or no advance notification. Every effort will be made to give users a chance to save their work before the system is taken out of service.
  11. The ITSC staff have a responsibility to report any violations of University policy to the appropriate authorities. They have the authority to remove harassing, defamatory, pornographic, obscene, indecent, or distasteful contents from e-mail, website, online and etc.
  12. The ITSC staff may refuse or restrict access of CUHKnet facilities to any person who has violated the guidelines in this document, or who has violated the guidelines of other computer facilities belonging to the University.

Users should observe the proper use of CUHKnet facilities

  1. Many resources, such as network bandwidth, computing power, printer queues, login sessions, software licenses and etc, are shared by all users. No user may monopolize these resources.
    1. Users should not load the system in such a way that others cannot perform their work normally. Only a single instance of large, resource-intensive programs should be executed at one time.
    2. Long print jobs should not be printed during periods of peak printer demand.
    3. Many software packages have a limited number of licenses, requiring users to share the licenses.
    4. The resources of workstations located in public laboratories should be respected; jobs may not be run that would interfere with the use of that workstation by the person sitting at the keyboard.
  2. CUHKnet facilities are provided for academic, research and administrative uses. CUHKnet facilities must not be used for commercial or personal gains without explicit approval of ITSC.
  3. The ITSC staff recognizes the academic value of research on computer security and the investigation of self-replicating code. However, the use and development of this type of software, if not properly supervised, can inadvertently affect the operation and integrity of CUHKnet systems.
    1. Users may not intentionally develop or use programs which harass other users of the system.
    2. Users may not intentionally develop or use programs which attempt to bypass system security mechanisms, steal passwords or data, or “crack” passwords.
    3. Users may not intentionally develop or use programs that, by design, attempt to consume all available system resource (cpu, memory, swap space, disk space, network bandwidth, etc.). Special arrangement can be made with ITSC in case such a request is required.
    4. Users may not intentionally develop or use programs designed to replicate themselves or attach themselves to other programs, commonly called worms or viruses.
    5. Users may not intentionally develop or use programs designed to evade software licensing or copying restrictions.
    6. Users who believe they have a legitimate reason to use or develop programs in the above categories must give prior notice to the ITSC staff. Special arrangements can be made to provide an adequate environment for conducting the research without risking damage to or impairment of other systems.
  4. Users are forbidden to give/disclose their passwords to anyone or allow anyone to use their email or computing accounts.
  5. Files owned by individual users are to be considered private property, whether accessible by other users.
    1. Just as an unlocked door or window does not implicitly grant permission to strangers to enter your house, the ability to read another user’s files does not implicitly grant permission to read those files.
    2. Under no circumstances may a user alter a file that does not belong to him or her without prior permission of the file’s owner. The ability to alter another user’s files does not implicitly grant permission to alter those files.
  6. Because this is an educational environment, computer systems are open to perusal and investigation by users. This access must not be abused either by attempting to harm the systems, or by stealing copyrighted or licensed software.
    1. Most system-level files are parts of copyrighted or licensed software, and may not be copied, in whole or in part.
    2. The same standards of intellectual and academic honesty and plagiarism apply to software as to other forms of published work.
    3. Making copies of software having a restricted-use license is theft and so is figuring out how to “beat” the license.
    4. Deliberate alteration of system files is vandalism or malicious destruction of University property.
  7. Harassing, threatening, defamatory, pornographic, obscene, indecent, unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory or distasteful contents should not be sent via email or posted online.
  8. Do not post sensitive, confidential, or proprietary information about the University.  Sending forged email or posting forged messages online are regarded as dishonest and are forbidden.
  9. Unsolicited massive emailing without explicit approval from ITSC is prohibited. Sending electronic messages to people you do not know or who do not need to get your message is a nuisance.
  10. CUHKnet facilities and network connections may not be used for the purposes of making unauthorized connections to, breaking into, or adversely affecting the performance of other systems on the network, whether these systems and networks are University-owned or not. The ability to connect to other systems via the network does not imply the right to make use of or even connect to these systems unless properly authorized by the owners of those systems.
  11. All software (including operating systems, applications, services, etc.) require regular updates. Updates can improve security and reliability of your computing devices. When software reach their end of support, there would be no further security updates, patches and technical support available from the vendor. Computers running with these software are highly vulnerable to security attacks without the vendor support. To connect to CUHKnet, these software should therefore be upgraded, updated, replaced or decommissioned.
  12. Other organizations operating computing and network facilities that are reachable via the CUHKnet may have their own policies governing the use of those resources. When accessing remote resources from CUHKnet facilities, users are responsible for obeying both the guidelines set forth in this document and the policies of the other organizations.

Hong Kong copyright and patent laws protect the interests of authors, inventors, and software developers in their products. The software used on CUHKnet facilities is operated under license agreements with software suppliers.

  1. Software license agreements serve to increase compliance with copyright and patent laws. It is against Hong Kong law and ITSC policy to violate the copyrights or patents on computer software. It is against ITSC policy and may be a violation of Hong Kong law to violate software license agreements.
  2. Software in use on CUHKnet facilities, unless it is stored in areas specifically marked as containing replicable software, may not be copied to other media or otherwise removed from CUHKnet facilities.
  3. Source code for licensed software is not allowed to be included in software that is released for use outside the CUHKnet.
  4. Copyright Infringement is strictly prohibited on the campus network.
  5. Unauthorized uploading or downloading of copyright works may attract civil or even criminal sanctions. Users should be well aware of the copyright ownership of the files.
  6. The ITSC staff has the responsibility to track down any infringement of copyright by taking proactive measures such as monitoring network activities and browsing usage log.
  7. Users have the responsibility to report a copyright infringement activity in the University. Copyright infringement should be reported to the ITSC staff or through ITSC Service Desk System at
  1. Step One. When a student or a staff member is alleged to be abusing computing resources, all of his or her computing privileges may be suspended immediately to protect the computing resources and to assure reliable service to the rest of the community.
  2. Step Two. The student or the staff member will be notified and be requested to discuss, in person, with the person responsible at ITSC.
  3. Step Three. If the student or the staff member is proven to have violated the policies and guidelines set forth in this document, penalties will be imposed as described in Section (9) of this document.

The disposition of situations involving a violation of the guidelines set forth in this document and the penalties that may be imposed for these violations are as described below.

  1. Infractions such as overloading systems, using CUHKnet facilities for commercial purpose, forging email or electronic message, harassment and sending massive number of unsolicited emails will result in temporary deprivation of CUHKnet access privileges for TWO weeks.Repeated infractions will result in temporary deprivation of CUHKnet access privileges for ONE month and the case will be escalated to the University authorities for further action. If the offender is a student at the University, the case will be referred to the Dean of the student’s college or the Graduate School. If the offender is a staff member at the University, the case will also be referred to the appropriate authority of the University.
  2. Serious infractions such as giving or disclosing passwords to others, allowing (not for job delegation purpose) others to use one’s email or computing accounts, unauthorized use or access of ICT facilities or services, attempts to steal password or data, attempts to steal licensed software, infringement of copyright and attempts to damage computer facilities (inside or outside the University) and violation of local laws such as those in Appendix (I) will result in temporary deprivation of CUHKnet access privileges for ONE month. The case will also be escalated to the University authorities for further action. If the offender is a student of the University, the case will be referred to the Dean of the student’s college or the Graduate School. If the offender is a staff member of the University, the case will be referred to the appropriate University authority. Repeated serious infractions will result in temporary deprivation of CUHKnet access privilege for THREE months. The case will also be escalated to the University authorities for further action. If the offender is a student of the University, the case will be referred to the Dean of the student’s college or the Graduate School. If the offender is a staff member of the University, the case will be referred to the appropriate University authority.
  1. University IT Policies (via CUHK Login)
  2. University IS Policies and Standards (via CUHK Login)

For any enquiries, please contact us by:
ITSC Service Desk:

Phone: 3943-8845 (Hotline Services)
Monday – Thursday 08:45-13:00 14:00-17:30
Friday 08:45-13:00 14:00-17:45
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday close

  1. The Telecommunication Ordinance
    • (S. 27A, Cap. 106) – Prohibiting unauthorized access to computer by telecommunication.
  2. The Crime Ordinance
    • (S. 59, Cap. 200) – Extending the meaning of property to include any program or data held in a computer or in computer storage medium.
    • (S. 59 and 60, Cap. 200) – Extending the meaning of criminal damage to property to misuse of a computer program or data.
    • (S. 161, Cap. 200) – Prohibiting access to computer with criminal or dishonest intent.
  3. The Theft Ordinance
    • (S. 11, Cap. 210) – Extending the meaning of burglary to include unlawfully causing a computer to function other than as it has been established and altering, erasing or adding any computer program or data.
    • (S. 19, Cap. 210) – Extending the meaning of false accounting to include destroying, defacing, concealing or falsifying records kept by computer.
  4. The Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance
  5. Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights
  6. Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance

Last update: Mar 2023