National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Staying Safe Online

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a national effort to raise awareness about the importance of staying safe online. The overarching theme for the month is, ‘Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.’ and the Division of Information Technology is proud to be a champion for this online safety and education initiative.

Here are a few tips you can implement to protect yourself and your family against cyber threats:

  • Never click and tell. Keep account numbers, social security numbers, and passwords private. Avoid posting information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans online or on social media.
  • Limit app permissions. Check your app permissions and learn to say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Delete apps you don’t need or no longer use.
  • Make passwords hard to guess. Avoid using personal information such as your name or pets’ names and common words like ‘password’ or ‘1234’. Instead get creative and substitute letters with punctuation or symbols. Also, consider using the longest password or passphrase (a sequence of words like ILOVE2readtheSKY!) permissible.
  • Protect accounts with MFA. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is often available for financial, social media, and email accounts. MFA makes your account security stronger and reduces the risk of online fraud and identity theft.
  • Be cautious of free Wi-Fi. When using free Wi-Fi, avoid conducting any personal business that requires passwords or financial information, turn off file sharing, and turn off automatic connect. When finished, choose “forget network”. Using your smartphone as a hotspot is a safer alternative to using an insecure network.

Want more tips and tricks for keeping yourself safe online? Join Information Technology for a discussion on Tuesday, October 29 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Stern Student Center Ballroom for Cybersecurity: It’s Not As Scary As You Think. The goal of the event is to dispel common myths about cybersecurity like “it’s too hard,” “there’s nothing I can do about it,” and “it’s not going to happen to me,” while also empowering students, faculty, and staff with the information and tools they need to stay protected while connected.