National Cyber Security Awareness Month
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). This annual effort aims to increase awareness and prevention of online security problems, spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA).
The University of Nevada, Reno is participating in NCSAM by sharing information and resources that can help you recognize, understand, and defend yourself against cyber threats. Awareness is the first step toward being cyber safe.
The four most prevalent information security issues we see at the University are:
- Phishing attacks – these are attempts to gain personal information through malicious emails. Learn how to recognize these emails and don’t become a victim.
- Password strength – weak passwords are major security threats. The best defense is having strong passwords or passphrases. A great approach is using a password manager. Learn more on our password manager webpage.
- Logging out – we work and learn on a public campus, so you never know who might be near your computer. Never walk away without locking your computer or logging out entirely.
- Gift card scams – are common malicious attempts to try and get your personal information or to steal from you. Be wary of bad actors who send emails that might at first-glance appear to be from your boss or professor but are asking you to purchase something. When in doubt, report the email and wait to speak with your boss/professor in person.
The overarching message of this year’s theme, ‘If you Connect it, Protect it,’ dives into the importance of keeping connected devices safe and secure from outside influence. More than ever before, connected devices have been woven into society as an integral part of how people communicate and access services essential to their well being. Data collected from these devices can detail highly specific information about a person or business which can be exploited by bad actors for their personal gain. Cybersecurity Awareness Month aims to shed light on these security vulnerabilities, while offering guidance surrounding simple security measures to limit the susceptibility of threats for commonly used devices.
This year, the Cybersecurity Awareness Month’s main weekly focus areas will revolve around:
- Understanding and following general security hygiene for connected devices and home networks
- The importance of connected devices security for remote workers
- How connected devices play a pivotal role in the future of healthcare; and
- The overall future of connected devices for consumers, professionals and the public domain
If everyone does their part – implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating vulnerable audiences or training employees – our interconnected world will be safer and more resilient for everyone.
Please review the following resources and start protecting yourself and our University community today.
- Information Security Training – this is available for students and for employees.
- Information Security Website – this has many resources including methods on how to protect your computer, how to set strong passwords, how to keep your email safe, and more.
- Abuse@unr.edu – send suspicious emails to the Abuse email address to report them. (Never click on any links within a suspicious email.)
- OIT’s Twitter Account – the Office of Information Technology’s Twitter shares information relevant to University of Nevada students and employees.
The following is a list of free external resources with extensive cyber security training and information available.
- National Cyber Security Alliance
- The National Cyber Security Alliance Twitter account – will be sharing additional tips and resources throughout the month
- Hacked Email – video and information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Protect Your Computer from Malware (malicious software) – video and information from the FTC
- FTC OnGuard Online
- DHS Stop. Think. Connect. Campaign
- Educause Cyber Security Awareness Library
Get involved and protect the Pack:
You can be an active participant by exploring the resources listed above to become cyber aware, and by sharing information via social media. When you post a resource or content related to cyber security for NCSAM, be sure to use the tagline “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”