Cybersecurity Awareness Month
October 12, 2021
Every October, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity across our Nation. Led by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA), Cybersecurity Awareness Month shares messages and weekly themes of the importance of staying safe online. The program encourages individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace, stressing personal accountability and the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity.
While an increased online presence can be positive, Cybersecurity Awareness Month encourages everyone to take increased ownership of enhanced online activity and the important security practices that come along with it. The virtual safety of our community, and, ultimately, our nation, depends on our personal online safety practices.
With this in mind, ITS encourages you to implement as many of the following tips highlighted by CISA this year as you can.
Double your login protection
Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts and devices to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring. Read the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) How-to-Guide for more information.
Shake up your password protocol
According to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. Read the Creating a Password Tip Sheet for more information.
If you connect, you must protect
Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with anti-virus software. Read the Phishing Tip Sheet for more information.
Play hard to get with strangers
Cybercriminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email is from—even if the details appear accurate— or if the email looks ‘phishy,’ do not respond, and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. Use firstname.lastname@example.org at LBCCD for work-related phishing attempts or notify your email provider for your personal accounts to help block other suspicious emails before they arrive in your inbox.
Never click and tell
Limit what information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you like to grab a coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are – and where you aren’t – at any given time. Read the Social Media Cybersecurity Tip Sheet for more information.
Keep tabs on your apps
Most connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.
Stay protected while connected
Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot – like at an airport, hotel, or café – be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with the appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking.
If you have any questions regarding this or any other previous advisory, please feel free to email the Office of Information Security.