Since 2004, the United States Congress has declared October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month, helping citizens protect themselves online as threats to technology and confidential data become more commonplace. Cyberattacks threaten national security, affecting small and large businesses and individuals.
Here at Boise State, we take cybersecurity seriously. Along with encouraging students to stay safe, especially with many online classes, we also offer degrees and certificates that prepare you for the frontlines of cyber operations. Even if you don’t take the classes, knowing how to be safe online is vital for every student.
One of the ways that Boise State encourages safety is with our logins using multi-factor authentication. A password is not the only step in proving who you say you are when logging in from a device. Duo Security multi-factor authentication is required for students, faculty and staff.
A strong password has always been practical. In the early days, we often didn’t use passwords with punctuation marks, numbers or capital letters. It is recommended to have a combination of these for a strong email.
- Use different passwords for different accounts.
- Develop mnemonics to remember complex passwords.
- Consider using a password manager program to keep track of your passwords.
- Do not use passwords based on personal information that can be easily accessed or guessed by anyone.
- Do not use words that can be found in any language dictionary.
- Don’t share your passwords, especially if someone may be trying to trick you into giving them your sensitive information.
- Reset your passwords every few months. Some companies set reminders for their employees.
Keep in mind that browsers with the ability to save passwords can be an issue, as anyone with access to your computer can discover your passwords. This is why it is always good to log out. If you share a computer, create separate profiles. It is also suggested to avoid public wifi and computers to access sensitive accounts such as banking and email.
Protect Yourself From Phishing
Phishing is “the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.” This isn’t always done through email. Many phishing attempts can happen through texts and phone calls.
- Keep your operating system, browser, and other software up-to-date.
- Use and maintain antivirus software and a firewall.
- Regularly scan your computer for spyware. Some programs let you set up a schedule, automatically do it for you or both.
- Use caution with email attachments and untrusted links.
- Keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
- Block and mark any suspicious email as spam. This can also be done on cell phones for text messages and calls. Some companies offer spam blocks for phone calls.
Follow Boise State Online During Cybersecurity Awareness Month
We are excited to engage with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Cybersecurity Alliance for the 19th annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter for more cybersecurity content and tips.
More About Cyber Programs at Boise State
Cody Shepherd and Kris Pruett are enrolled in cyber degree programs at Boise State and benefit from asynchronous coursework and applicable curriculum. They chose online cyber degrees to advance in their careers and prepare for the frontlines of cybersecurity in their organizations.