Although Cybersecurity Awareness Month is drawing to a close, it is important to remember that cybersecurity awareness is important all year long. Keep your data, devices and accounts secure by following these tips from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA):
- Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts and devices to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media and any other service that requires logging in.
- Shake up your password protocol. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts.
- If you connect, you must protect. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is updating to the latest security software, web browser and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates and protect your devices with anti-virus software.
- Play hard to get with strangers. Cybercriminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email is from or if the email looks ‘phishy,’ do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. When available, use the “report phish” or “report” option to help your organization or email provider block other suspicious emails before they arrive in your inbox.
- Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you like to grab a coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones and your physical belongings. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are – and where you aren’t – at any given time.
- Keep tabs on your apps. Most connected appliances, toys and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.
- Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking.
Each of us can get involved this year to help the campus community increase online safety and security. #BeCyberSmart by utilizing the following resources:
- CISA’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month Website
- CISA’s Cyber Essentials – basic cyber best practices for business leaders
- Learn about careers in cyber with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies
Contact IT Services with questions about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month or to report suspicious activities.