University of Chicago Cybersecurity Awareness Month

The line between our online and offline lives is indistinguishable. In these tech-fueled times, our homes, societal well-being, economic prosperity and nation’s security are impacted by the internet. 

Source: National Cybersecurity Alliance 

COVID-19 triggered a massive shift in how we work. As we learn to navigate our connected world while juggling family and work emails at home, it’s more important than ever to take active steps to protect our sensitive data. This includes protecting our work as University employees and safeguarding our personal data, such as our identities and financial information. 

IT Services published a guide earlier this year with key steps you should take to stay safe while working remotely. Some measures you can take today include: 

  • Use a separate device and account for each person using a shared personal device. 
  • Install all updates to your device’s operating system, applications, and web browsers. 
  • Use a secure, password-protected wired or wireless network. If you must use public Wi-Fi, use the University’s virtual private network (VPN). 
  • Keep your data secure. Whenever possible, save and edit all data using cloud storage services (Google Drive, UChicago Box, or Microsoft OneDrive) rather than on a local computer or external storage device. 
  • Keep your device secure by installing antivirus and ensuring that your device has a screen timeout or lock if left unused. 
  • Be careful when printing sensitive documents and information. Keep them stored securely and shred them when no longer needed. 

For more these topics and for more remote work tips, be sure to review the website at workingremotely.uchicago.edu 

It’s important for all individuals to do their part protecting the information and computer devices that are entrusted to them. The Internet is an interconnected world, and the online safety of any individual depends on everyone doing their part.  

To foster that sense of community and help build a culture of information security at the University of Chicago, we are publishing several new blogs and reference guides throughout October. 

What is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month – observed every October – is a government and private sector partnership that raises awareness about cybersecurity and best practices for preventing cyberattacks and the spread of malware. Cyberattacks can result in serious problems for the University and its faculty, such as the alteration and misrepresentation of faculty data, the loss of private information the University is legally bound to protect, or a massive shutdown of the University’s online operations.

The University of Chicago joined more than 1,700 other organizations by committing to support this campaign as a National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion. As part of that effort, the Information Security team will share weekly blog posts that include helpful and interesting facts and recommendations selected to keep members of the University community informed about the latest security concerns and empowered to do their parts to keep themselves and the University safe.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020 Themes:

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA) are proud to announce this year’s theme:

“Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”

This theme encourages individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace, stressing personal accountability and the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity. The University of Chicago will focus following weekly themes:

  1. Week of October 5: “If You Connect It, Protect It”
  2. Week of October 12: “Securing Devices at Home and Work”
  3. Week of October 19: “Lock Down Your Login”
  4. Week of October 26: “Think Before You Click”

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Blog Posts:

3 Wi-Fi Habits to Adopt Today - Oct 8, 2020

Studies have shown that most mobile device users — even those who are security-savvy — tend to throw caution to the wind when it comes to connecting to open-access, public Wi-Fi networks. Public networks are displayed in the list of Wi-Fi networks without a lock icon. Read the full blog post.

3 Facts About the Internet of Things (IoT) and Guide to Best Practices - Oct 13, 2020

It’s likely you own one or more items that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). This collective term is used to describe a growing number of consumer, medical, and business items that are used to sense, control, and communicate data and activities. Read the full blog post.

3 Tips to Managing Passwords and PINs to Avoid Account Compromise - Oct 23, 2020

We have so much to remember every day. Add to that the dozens (or more) passwords and PINs we must remember in order to log in to work and personal accounts, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Read the full blog post.