October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) – a public awareness campaign to encourage safe and secure computer use.
According to the organizers of NCSAM, the security of our nation’s cyber infrastructure is only as strong as its weakest link. Everyone has a responsibility to keep their section of cyberspace secure and protected.
The GCU Information Security department recommends a few simple steps that will protect the University’s networks, your computer and yourself.
- Protect your passwords. Do not share your passwords, and if you must write them down, keep them in a secure place.
- Beware of free downloadable software. Reputable companies such as Adobe and Microsoft offer free downloadable software, but many more companies that are disreputable offer malware of spyware posing as software. Malware is malicious software that attacks your computer system; spyware is software that steals your private information.
- Beware of fake anti-virus software. Malicious software often “scares” the computer user into downloading it.
- Be cautious with the type of information you post on social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter. The continued use and popularity of these sites also makes them targets for cyber attack. Learn about the privacy settings of these sites and use them. Even with privacy settings, still be careful with what you share online.
- Use caution with file-sharing programs. Not only are you at risk for breaking copyright laws by downloading pirated content, these sites have a long history of spreading malicious software.
- Do not open emails from people you do not know. Be alert to phishing scams. These are suspicious messages from what appear to be reputable sources. For example: a bank emails you about a problem with your account. The email will ask for your bank account information. A real bank will never ask for this information in an email.
For more information on safe internet use, visit staysafeonline.org.