University celebrates National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Victoria Walker, Staff Writer

Since 2004, however, the month of October has ushered in a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. At the University, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is celebrated with a series of events designed to highlight the unique nature of internet usage and communication.

One would be pressed to find a University student who does not very regularly log onto the internet. Students pull out their laptops to access assignments on Moodle, to do research, to watch television after a long day, and to contact our friends on and off-campus. However, each access brings with it risks that internet users probably do not spend much time thinking about. When individuals enter their credit card information to buy a shirt online, they are trusting a certain anonymous individual or system with their personal information. When they ask Google a question or look up a song on YouTube, we are feeding their information preferences into a database. While it would be unrealistic to try and avoid all of these potential threats, it is important to remain cognizant of the ongoing possibility of cybersecurity breaches into their own personal online identities.

This year the University’s month of events is focused on data collection and retention, along with the “What do YOU have to lose?” campaign. The main program, which occurred on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in the ELC Forum, was a talk by Blue Marlin Enterprises, Inc. founder and president Mike Marlin, who spoke with students and faculty members about his experiences as a leader in the cybersecurity field.

The second event is a L&IT Cybersecurity Awareness Hunt; a scavenger hunt run through the app GooseChase. After starting an account, students have the opportunity to earn points by tweeting about internet security, sending in a picture of a phishing email, finding posters around campus, and more. Points can eventually be translated into prizes for winning students.

In addition, the University’s daily Message Center is featuring tips, articles, and information about cybersecurity both on campus and in the broader community throughout the month.

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