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    Welcome to the Cyber Security Awareness Month 2018!

    We know that you all have questions about cyber security, on how to be better protected online both at home and here at Ringling, (if you don't have questions, start asking!).  That's why we are excited to announce in the coming weeks of this National Cyber Security Awareness month we will be releasing some snippets and blurbs of information to help you along having a safer online presence. 

    But don't think we'll just email this important information out, we want you involved in looking to be safer online. You'll have the chance to look around campus and spot the extra information. Starting Monday the 8th, look out! there might be some Cybersecurity Awareness waiting for you around the next corner! 

    However, If you do miss them walking around campus we will have all the information here(as it comes out, no cheating), and we will also email you short messages through the coming weeks.

    Stop.Think.Connect

    We've reached the end of our Cyber Security Awareness Month and we thank you for participating with us.  Staying secure online is not the duty of some select few but all of us need to stay safe.  We all have many contacts and connections and they all can be affected by us being compromised.  It is not a matter of being paranoid online but safe in our browsing and posting.  Online as well as with most things in life, follow a simple three step process.  STOP. THINK. CONNECT.  Stop before clicking on that link, before answering that odd question.  Think, about where that link is going, about what is being asked.   Connect, only if everything checks out.  Through the past few weeks we've given you just a sample of things to think about but we urge you to be proactive in your own online safety and of those around you.  Remember, don't hesitate to contact us at IT for more information or for help in staying protected.

    Scroll down to review the topics discussed on this year's Cyber Security Awareness Month

    Social: All that Information

    Social engineering, a fancy name for the right questions and conversation to get information about you.  This subtle way of obtaining access to your accounts rely on what you yourself provide online.  Would you be surprised to know that there is a high chance that most answers to your secret questions are out there on comments or your profile on social media?  That along with clever conversations by someone looking to gain access to your accounts can lead to all this information being put in the hands of a bad person by yourself!  We urge you to go to your social media pages, look around, and check.  Did you put in your profile that you love cheesecake, and did you by chance use "What's your favorite food?" as a secret question somewhere?  Well, someone can already change your password and lock you out of an account.  Be careful what you post and how you secure your online presence.

    Email: Something Phishy

    Have you ever received a scam email?  Phishing is a more direct way of trying to scam you and you should always watch out for them.  These emails often come in as if you already have a relationship with the sender (which might itself be masquerading as a known contact).  Maybe they are asking for some information that you may be able to provide and telling you to go to a site and login to provide it.  These sites may look like the real thing but are there to gather your credentials.  There are other things to look for such as slight spelling or grammar errors.  Maybe what they are asking itself is not usually something you would get an email about either.  All in all, if you receive an email asking to do something like that, contact the person or institution (bank, school, etc) through an officially listed phone or in person and confirm they are asking for this information.

    Apps: Beware of the Permissions

    Countless apps are installed in our phones but, do we know what these apps are asking for or do we blindly tap Install?  More and more we are hearing about data breaches happening because of apps taking advantage of overreaching permissions granted to them at installation.  When installing an application and it asks you to grant it permissions, stop and think why it is asking for them.  It makes sense for that messaging app to have access to your contacts.  If that funny car horn app is asking to check on your contacts, pictures, messages, and call history, there's something wrong with it.

    Software: Keep it up to date!

    It is a fact of life that we will always be bothered by that update reminder jumping at us every couple of days. However, this computer version of the Check Engine light is its way of telling you it needs some help to keep things clean and smooth for you. Many of the updates that your computer requests are in fact fixes for security problems it may have. Ignoring these is like leaving your door open on purpose after someone tells you there is a thief trying out doors to find an open one and get in. Take the extra time and keep your computer happy and updated. It will run better and keep you safer.

    Websites: Always use HTTPS

    More and more we are visiting websites that require us to login and enter personal or financial information in order to take full advantage of their services.  This is not necessarily a bad thing but it does require us to be careful where we put our information.  When visiting a website, especially when we know it will require giving them our information, it is important that we notice the website is secure.  One of the ways to do that is to check if the website is using the HTTPS protocol (at the beginning of the website address).  If it just uses HTTP or if it does but your browser warns you that the site is still not secure, do yourself a favor and avoid entering any important information in it because guess what?  It is not secure!

    Files: Scan Everything

    We download a lot of files on a daily basis.  We plug in all sorts of external and thumb drives to our computers on a daily basis.  But, do we ever stop and think where those files came from or what they can do to our computers?  Malware and spyware, among other more nefarious bugs, usually hide alongside seemingly innocent or useful programs and files we download off the internet.  Then we can be carrying those along in thumb and external drives and sharing them around.  That's why it is important to always take a couple seconds to run a scan on any file you download or any drive you plug in that you are not familiar with.  Catch 'em all before they do any damage.

    Files: Back them up!

    A bad program crash, a power outage, an accidental deletion, a lost drive, or the accidental drop of said drive.  We've all experienced something that has made important files we always thought would be available no longer there.  That is why it is important that we back up what we do not want to lose.  Be it in multiple external drives, to the cloud, or shares and homespaces, there are options to safeguard those important files.  That cute picture of your first niece?  The files for that project you have been working on for weeks?  That spreadsheet with all the information you need to finish a report? Back them up!  Trust us, knowing that your files are safe from harm makes a huge difference.

    Logout! Have you been Hasselhoff'd

    Once upon a time here at Ringling, when a person would leave their computer logged in and stepped away, someone would come around and change their background to a tiled David Hasselhoff picture.  Objectively funny admittedly, but it hides a bad problem.  What happens if you do this and someone with bad intentions happens to notice?  What happens if you leave your browser open and perhaps your bank account logged in?  Or your hard worked on files right there for the taking?  Pretty bad situation. So please remember to always lock your computer or simply log off if you are stepping away.

    Multifactor: Another Me?

    Let's say one of your passwords was unfortunately compromised. Chances are you won't know that until something bad happens to your account. That's where multi factor authentication works wonders! This will let you enter a generated code sent to you so that only you can log in. Some sites will even let you know that someone tried to access it unsuccessfully without the code. At that point your account is still safe and you can go and change that password. All is good! Not all sites or programs have this feature but if there is the opportunity, take it!

    Passwords: None of these is like the other!

     

    Now that we use sentences or phrases for our passwords, why use the same old boring one for everything? Using different passwords for different things makes it harder for someone that may have guessed one of your password to have access to everything else that you log into. Can’t possibly remember all of them? Fair enough, we’d recommend using a free password manager such as LastPass and keep them there under a single GOOD lock and key, instead of sticky notes all over your desk with all your passwords… Please don’t. So, with those useful phrases as our passwords, why not say something about what you will log into as part of your password? Be creative! 

    Password: Are you strong enough?

    IC@nRememberTh1sP@$$2, We’re sure you can actually read that password and possibly remember it quite well. Best part? It would be considered a strong password with all those little details that most want you to have. The trick is to use sentences or phrases and just sprinkle characters and numbers where they make sense to you. Doing this prevents bad people from making a computer go through a dictionary just to guess your password, and they do that all the time! Making a phrase reduces that threat significantly since a computer will have more trouble trying to Cr@ckTh1sP@$$. Try it and you won’t have password problems anymore! Just don’t use those particular ones; You wouldn't want everyone reading this to know your password.  

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