October News from Information Security

It’s here again! In addition to exciting athletics, Mountain Day, and cooler temperatures, October brings us Cybersecurity Awareness Month! A whole month celebrating and emphasizing cybersecurity awareness?! A security professional’s dream! But you should be excited also, as Cybersecurity Awareness Month brings us another round of virtual scavenger hunting and winning cool prizes. New awareness posters will be up each week and everyone can resolve to take the few minutes to complete the required cybersecurity awareness training. Woo-hoo!! Let’s go in depth on some of these topics.

Berry has participated in Cybersecurity Awareness Month, formerly known as National Cyber Security Awareness Month since 2014. We did miss 2017, but all the other years there have been informative articles, interesting awareness posters, virtual scavengers hunts and other activities every October. Cybersecurity Awareness Month, or CAM, is jointly supported by the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the United States government (CISA). The overall theme this year is “Secure Our World” and each full week of October will cover a different topic related to cybersecurity awareness. The first week is about passwords and password managers, the second is about multi-factor or two-factor authentication, the third week is about how to recognize and report phishing emails and other social engineering attacks, and the last week will cover updating your software.

As already revealed, the first week’s theme will be “Create strong passwords and use a password manager”. This topic is foundational for any cybersecurity discussion. The important starting question is “How many online accounts do you have?”. The second question is “How many unique passwords do you have?”. The stunning connection between these two questions is that the answer SHOULD be the same! We should use strong, unique passwords for every account we have.

What is a strong password? For Berry accounts, a strong password is at least 14 characters long, includes both upper and lower case letters, a number, and a symbol. It can’t contain three consecutive letters of your username or have too many repeating characters. It is unique. It hasn’t been exposed in a data breach.

How is it possible to achieve strong passwords for all your accounts? Use a password manager! Password managers help you create and store strong passwords. They also help you fill in your credentials for websites you visit. Good password managers will alert you to duplicated passwords among your accounts. Great password managers will alert you to exposed passwords. You can get more information and get details on a few different password managers by going to the Password Manager Quick Info page right here on this site.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month brings us another Virtual Scavenger Hunt. Each full week of October there will be new questions about cybersecurity awareness here on this site. Find the answers and enter to be eligible for participation prizes for each week you answer questions and complete the whole scavenger hunt to be eligible for the grand prize of a set of Bluetooth earbuds. The start page for the scavenger hunt is live. You can get to it by clicking here. More details about the grand prize are posted there. Good luck!

The required cybersecurity awareness training for this semester should be completed by November 10th. Take a few minutes here in October to complete it and you will avoid the email reminders and know that you have contributed to making our campus safer. Follow the link in your email, or, if you can’t find that email or the link is expired, log in to https://myapps.berry.edu and click on the Berry Security Awareness app there, or go to https://berry.litmos.com and click on the link on the left side of the page that says “Sign in with your Berry account”. DON’T attempt to put in your email and password in the username and password fields…that won’t work.

One last thing – be on the lookout for phishing emails – we are receiving lots of them everyday and they are of all different varieties. Be vigilant!

That’s all I have this week. There will be another article on Monday, the 9th, and one each Monday of the month. Get going on the scavenger hunt, compete your cybersecurity awareness training, and be cybersecurity aware as you go about your online life.

All Berry students, faculty and staff have MFA enabled on their Berry account, and you should use it in the most secure way via the Microsoft Authenticator app on your smart phone. But don’t stop there! Use the Microsoft Authenticator as your second factor on any site that supports Google Authenticator. Turn MFA/2FA on everywhere you can. Yes, it will take you another few seconds to log in, but your data and account will be safer.

Please continue to report those phishing emails! Once the fall semester starts, we are holding a drawing at the end of every month for a small prize and all you need to do to enter the drawing is to report a phishing email.

If I’m not covering a topic of cybersecurity you are interested in or concerned about, please let me know. I want to be your first and best resource on cybersecurity information, so let me know how I can help and inform you.

If you’re not following Berry OIT on Facebook (@BerryCollegeOIT), Twitter (@berryoit), or Instagram (@berrycollegeoit), you should be, as more information from OIT and specifically Information Security, will be provided using these outlets. If you are not into social media, you can also subscribe to get updates via email. Just use the link available in the right-hand sidebar on the website.

Check out https://support.berry.edu for more information about OIT and the services we provide. You can always check back here for warnings about current phishing emails, confirmations of valid emails you might have a question about, and data breach notifications. There’s also the events calendar where events will be posted, like Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Food For Thought

Ever wonder what happens to used electric car batteries, and all the other recharchable batteries we use every day? Watch this YouTube video to find out.

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