It’s easy to stay safe online.
In fact, a few simple actions can make a big difference in securing your data and devices — we are not powerless against online threats and attacks.
To help members of the U community avoid and combat cyber threats, the University of Utah Information Security Office (ISO) will share some IT security best practices and resources in October for Cyber Security Awareness Month (CAM). CAM is an annual initiative to ensure users have the resources they need to stay safe online. This is the ninth year that the university has participated in the initiative and the fourth year it is a Cyber Security Awareness Month Champion.
“We want to empower students, faculty and staff to take control of their online lives,” said Michael Adair., senior information security analyst for ISO Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) team.
This year’s CAM topics include securing your online accounts, updating your systems and software, and learning how to recognize and report phishing.
“All Cyber Security Awareness Month topics, while not new, are fundamental to information security and online safety,” Adair said.
He likened account security to locking your front door, helping keep intruders out. System and software updates, which he says are sometimes overlooked, help protect against vulnerabilities that criminals can exploit to gain access to your data and devices.
Phishing, however, remains the most prevalent cybercrime, measured by number of victims and dollars lost. Adair said about a third of cyberattacks start with phishing, and threat actors are constantly trying new, proven tactics to trick you. For example, many criminals use social engineering to exploit our emotions or create a sense of urgency to trick us into opening a malicious link or providing personal information. Anyone can fall victim to such methods.
“Phishing will expand and transform as electronic communications change – from text messaging to social media,” Adair said. “Already we are seeing more pernicious phishing campaigns.”
That’s why it’s important to check and revise our cybersecurity habits.
“Sometimes we think we know it all, but as technology evolves, so do cyber threats. Thus, IT fundamentals – and best practices – must also evolve, which forces us to review our habits and protections from time to time.“, he said.