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Happy National Cyber Security Awareness Month!

It’s October!  Around the Office of Information Technology (and even the White House), that translates as National Cyber Security Awareness Month!

It has always seemed fitting that October was chosen as the month to remind everyone how to stay safe online, since becoming a victim of online scams, phishing attempts, and malware infections can be just as scary as anything you might see on Halloween.

Although you can tell yourself that zombies and ghosts aren’t real, you can’t say the same about things like cyber threats and crimes.  They are very real and the best way to protect yourself is to be informed.

We recently posted about email phishing attempts, but because it is one of the biggest threats out there and the emails are looking more and more real, you can never have too much information.  Here’s a video from SANS Securing the Human that provides some more great tips in only five short minutes.

This is already the ninth year recognizing National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which means that threats have been trying to outsmart prevention tips for almost a decade.  Luckily, there is a wealth of resources available to help stay safe online.  Boise State’s Information Security Services team has an Awareness Program page that provides information specific to different types of technology users on campus.  You can also visit staysafeonline.org for cyber security tips on everything from mobile devices, online shopping, and protecting your children online.

Even as cyber attacks and the efforts to thwart them evolve, protecting yourself always comes down to common sense.  We mentioned this three years ago at this time of year and it’s still very relevant today:

  • Never respond to emails asking for your personal information.
  • Make sure antivirus software is installed (and kept current) on your computer.
  • Don’t trust a website to tell you your computer is infected with a virus.
  • Close your browser if you receive any suspicious messages or pop-up windows asking you to click on something unrelated to the site you are viewing.

If you think you may have received a phishing email or have any other cyber security questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at helpdesk@boisestate.edu or call 426-4357.

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