October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and the Information Security Office wants to help you better protect your accounts and the information stored within. In honor of this year’s theme of “Own IT, Secure IT, Protect IT,” we’ve put together a shortlist to help ensure your information is secure and protected.

  1. Always use unique, strong passwords or passphrases for each account. This will limit the impact if one of your passwords gets compromised. Recent data breaches have shown the importance of using unique passwords for each account. Cybercriminals will attempt to use passwords obtained from one site to breach others. When setting up a new account, be sure the password you select is strong and different from others you have used in the past.
  2. Wherever possible, set up multi-factor authentication on your accounts. Enabling MFA will require a second method to verify a user’s identity after the password has been entered, making it more difficult for criminals to access your account if your password gets compromised. MFA can work via text message, hardware token, or through an authenticator app on a mobile device.
  3. Don’t click on links or open attachments in unexpected emails. Sender information on emails can be falsified, so it’s important to confirm with the sender in person or via a trusted phone number.
  4. Be careful when sharing personal information online. Cybercriminals will use whatever information they can find to try to impersonate you or compromise your accounts.
  5. Avoid doing online banking or working with sensitive information when on public wireless networks. By using a VPN, you can protect your network traffic when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi.
  6. Make sure your devices are updated regularly. Most systems can be configured to install updates automatically. Ensuring your devices have the latest security patches can help prevent attackers from compromising your systems.

To learn more about each of these topics and hear from industry experts, check out the free 2019 Cybersecurity Expo, which will be held Thursday, October 10, in the Pegasus Ballroom inside the Student Union.