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Now more than ever, consumers spend increasing amounts of time on the internet — shopping, banking, connecting with family and friends, and handling medical and other personal records. More time online, however, comes with an increased risk of becoming the victim of a cybercrime.

Consider these statistics:

  • 64 percent of U.S. adults have noticed or been notified of a major data breach affecting their sensitive accounts or personal data
  • Consumers reported $905 million in total fraud losses in 2017
  • The U.S. business sector reported 571 data breaches in 2018 — the most ever recorded

#BeCyberSmart when sharing personal information online — whether on social media or other websites.

Here are some simple tips from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), which co-lead National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), to connect with confidence and safely navigate the internet, as well as some resources from University Information Technology (UIT) to help you get started.

Double your login protection

Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) 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.

resources

Shake up your password protocol

According to National Institute for 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. This 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.

Resources

If you connect, you must protect

Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, gaming 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 antivirus software.

Resource

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 the email. When available, use the “junk” or “block” option to no longer receive messages from a particular sender.

Resources
  • ISO's Beware of Phishing video (below) and Phishing 101 tip sheet are two great resources that will help you quickly familiarize yourself with phishing attacks.

  • Send suspicious emails to phish@utah.edu. ISO's Security Assurance team will investigate the email in a safe environment and let you know the legitimacy of the email.
  • The 2019 NCSAM Phishing tip sheet explains how criminals lure you in and how you can avoid such scams.
  • Can you spot when you're being phished? Take Google's phishing quiz to find out.

Under-share and don’t tell

Limit the information you post on social media — from personal addresses to where you like to grab 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 physical 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.

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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” — the practice of limiting access rights for users to the bare minimum permissions they need to perform their work — 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

Avoid connecting to any public wireless hotspot — like at an airport, hotel, or café. 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. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking.

When in doubt, use the U’s virtual private network (VPN) for secure internet access. Or if you’re visiting a partner institution, you can connect securely via eduroam

Resources
  • AnyConnect is the university’s preferred VPN client and can be downloaded through the OSL website (login required).

Don't forget about your IoT devices!

2019 NCSAM

YOUR DIGITAL PROFILE: OWN IT. SECURE IT. PROTECT IT.

DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PROTECT YOUR DIGITAL PROFILE AND DEVICES?

THE STRONGEST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST CYBERTHREATS

BUILDING A CULTURE AROUND CYBERSECURITY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH


ISO ON TWITTER

Last Updated: 10/7/19