Cybersecurity Month:
Protect Your Data, Protect OSU

By: Academic Technologies

Posted on: October 8, 2023

October is Cybersecurity Month, a national initiative to raise awareness and promote best practices for online safety and security. As members of the Oregon State University community, we all have a responsibility to protect our data, our accounts, and our institution from cyber threats.  

Cybersecurity is not just a technical issue, but a human one. We are often the first line of defense against phishing, malware, ransomware, and other attacks that can compromise our personal and professional information. That’s why it’s important to stay informed, vigilant, and proactive in safeguarding our digital assets.  

We all have a role to play in keeping our data, systems, and networks secure from unauthorized access or misuse. Whether you are a student, faculty, or staff member, you can take some simple steps to improve your cybersecurity habits and reduce your risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime. 

Some of the steps you can take are:

Use strong passwords and a password manager

Strong passwords are long, random, unique, and include all four-character types (uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols). Password managers are a powerful tool to help you create and store strong passwords for each of your accounts. Learn more about password managers here. 

Using a passphrase of up to 30 characters is considered a strong password. For example: Go Beavs! Chainsaw R0@R! 

Turn on multifactor authentication (MFA)

MFA adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts by requiring something you know (your password) and something you have (such as your phone or a token) to log in. MFA makes it harder for hackers to access your accounts even if they have your password. Learn more about MFA here. 

Recognize and report phishing

Phishing is a common technique used by cybercriminals to trick you into revealing your personal information or credentials by sending you an email, text, or call that looks legitimate. Be cautious of unsolicited messages that ask for your information or urge you to click on a link or open an attachment. Verify the authenticity of requests by contacting the sender through a trusted channel. Report phishing attempts to the IT Help Desk or the appropriate authorities. Learn more about phishing here. 

Update software

Keeping your software up to date is one of the best ways to protect your devices from cyberattacks. Software updates often include security patches and improvements that fix vulnerabilities and bugs. Check for updates regularly and enable automatic updates if possible. Learn more about software updates here. 

These are just some of the basic cybersecurity practices that you can adopt during Cybersecurity Awareness Month and beyond. To learn more about cybersecurity and how to stay safe online, visit the Cybersecurity Awareness Month website or the OSU Information Security Office website 

You can also find various events and activities related to cybersecurity on the OSU Events Calendar. Here are some of the highlights:

Remember, cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. Together, we can make OSU a safer and more secure place for learning, teaching, and research. Thank you for your attention and participation in Cybersecurity Awareness Month! 

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