L&IT Services wraps up National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Jaxon White, News Section Co-Editor

As October comes to an end, so does National Cyber Security Month. 

To honor the public awareness campaign set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the University’s Library & Information Technology (L&IT) staff has sent weekly emails detailing casual practices for students and staff to secure their technology through October.

“The annual campaign aims to raise awareness about cyber security best practices and stress the collective effort needed to prevent cyber intrusions and scams,” senior specialist of client support Rob Guissanie said in an email on Oct. 5. 

The first email sent by Guissanie lists some general practices to minimize the risks of having a home network. These tips include changing default passwords that come with devices, restricting access to the network to certain people, keeping all softwares up to date and protecting the name of your network.

“Each year, L&IT sends out weekly communications to our end users on various topics and themes,” information security program manager Brandon Seymore said. “This year, we are focusing on how people can #BeCyberSmart within their personal lives, and at home.”

As the emails have progressed through the month, they have also addressed specific issues in the world of cybersecurity. 

A second email on Oct. 13 talked about maintaining security in social media, ironically relevant considering the University’s official Instagram account was hacked only a week prior to the email. L&IT recommends the University community to update privacy settings consistently and to only connect with trusted people, amongst other things. 

The next email in the series, advises campus on how to deal with imposter scams. 

“As technology continues to evolve, cybercriminals will use more sophisticated techniques to exploit systems, accounts, and devices to steal your identity, personal information, and money. To protect yourself from online threats, you must know what to look for. One of the most common Internet scams is imposter scams,” Guissanie said in his Oct. 20 email. 

Imposter scams are what most people consider spam calls—someone claiming to be someone they aren’t in order to obtain personal information such as Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers or other records.

L&IT recommends adding multi-factor authentication similar to DUO Mobile, broadly used by University accounts. A few other suggestions include never sharing personal information through email and avoiding free internet access. 

To round out the month, L&IT shared their recommendations on how to safely travel with technology during the upcoming holiday season. 

“When traveling, it is always important to take proactive steps to secure Internet-enabled devices,” Guissanie’s Oct. 26 email noted. “The more we travel, the more we are at risk for cyberattacks.”

Tech support said that information should be backed up, technology should be kept up to date, and that campus members should stop using auto connect for their devices, Guissanie averred. 

“Some devices will automatically connect to available wireless networks or Bluetooth devices. This instant connection opens the door for cyber criminals to remotely access your devices. Disable these features so you choose when to connect to a safe network.”

Tech support asks that anyone with questions or concerns reach out through email, by calling their support line or submitting a ticket through L&IT services. 

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