laptop and smartphone and other accessories on a desk

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and UAH OIT is using it to reinforce our shared responsibility to keep the UAH information systems and data safe for everyone. You can do your part and #BeCyberSmart.

UAH OIT is working hard to keep the network, data, and assets secure but we need your help to do so.

Some believe the best way to keep a campus like UAH secure is to purchase the latest AI-based heuristically-learning system that analyzes documents, emails, and attachments using natural-language processing to identify the likely security risks. The truth is much simpler.

The best way to keep UAH secure is not purchasing the latest cybersecurity buzzword equipment, it’s by all of us making good, security-conscious decisions every day.

The simple steps you can take include:

Keep your system up to date. Vendors are regularly releasing new operating system and application patches which address discovered vulnerabilities. When possible, set your system to automatically download security patches from the manufacturer and do not ignore new patches that are released.

Think before you click. Avoid suspicious links and email attachments, and use UAH OIT services to help protect your personal information, connected devices, and university data. Remember to report any security incidents to the IT Service Desk.

When in doubt, throw it out. Stop and think before you open email attachments or click links online. If a link or attachment looks suspicious, even if you know the source, confirm before clicking! Links in email, messages, and online posts are often how cybercriminals trick you into being compromised. If something looks suspicious, it’s best to delete it. Always think twice before you click.

Use Google Drive or back it up with Code42. We encourage faculty and staff to use Google Drive to store all critical data but we understand that some data needs to be kept on your system. Faculty and staff have access to UAH’s Code42 backup solution. Make sure you are backing up copies of all your important work. Data can be lost in many ways, including computer malfunctions, malware, theft, viruses, and accidental deletion.

Guard your devices. In order to prevent theft and unauthorized access, never leave your laptop or mobile device unattended in a public place, and lock your devices when not in use.

Secure your accounts with strong passwords. This goal is easier to meet when you use techniques like passphrases. Never share any of your usernames or passwords with anyone. When available, turn on or expand the use of multi-factor authentication, like Duo, for an added layer of security beyond the password.

If you want some good information about strong passwords, a great source is one of the earliest computer hackers and KnowBe4’s Chief Hacking Officer, Kevin Mitnick.

Report anything suspicious. Finally, if you experience anything unusual with your computer or device that you suspect may be due to a compromise, change your password immediately and contact the OIT Help Desk.

For questions or more information, contact