As we find ourselves in the month of October, we approach the midway point of the term (already!) and traditional fall activities like Homecoming, Fall Break and Halloween. October is also National Cyber Security Awareness month. Established in 2003 by the United States Department of Homeland Security and the National Cybersecurity Alliance, the campaign seeks to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity in our everyday lives. Homeland Security recently published updated tips for how to stay safe online – we encourage you to read their recommendations.
We have all encountered online scams and phishing schemes, and as we become more dependent upon on smartphones, we are more vulnerable to identification theft. The recent Equifax data breach has taken our concerns about security to a new level. So what can we do? At the University Center for Teaching and Learning, we take cybersecurity very seriously. We follow the guidelines and tips from CSSD Information Technology — there are items that all faculty, staff and students can (and should) be doing to ensure online security every day. In fact, our IT colleagues have published Security Tips of the Day for the entire month of October. Here’s today’s tip for Friday, Oct. 6: “Make sure you register more than one device for use with the University’s multifactor authentication.” On their site you’ll also find tips to safeguard your physical devices, like laptops and mobile phones. Did you know that nearly half of all laptop thefts occur in offices or classrooms – and that 98% of those items are never recovered? By adjusting our daily habits ever so slightly, we will position ourselves to better protect our online presence and our physical possessions. The bottom line: you cannot be too careful when it comes to cybersecurity.