October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

Posted on: September 29, 2016

Every October, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sponsors Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM). The campaign is a nationwide effort to raise public awareness about cyber security, and increase the resiliency of the country in case of a cyber-attack. Education, healthcare, business, entertainment, and government are all being changed and improved by the advances in information technology. At the same time, our interconnected world raises the risk of information theft, fraud, and abuse. Almost all aspects of our daily lives are touched by the Internet, making us more vulnerable than ever before to cyber-attacks.

This month, our Information Security Office (ISO) is working with Texas Student Media to deliver an awareness campaign focusing on the many ways students, faculty, and staff can protect their personal information online and offline. Protect Your Privates  offers information about a variety of cyber security related topics and also includes a Top Ten List of things you can do to improve your personal cyber security. By avoiding malware, protecting your privacy, locking down your social media accounts, updating your desktop, mobile, and wearable operating systems you can do a lot to assure the security of your personal information. Though the content of the Protect Your Privates campaign is largely geared for students, it is also very useful for faculty, staff, and friends and family. The ISO is also launching an information security focused comic strip in the Daily Texan next week. It should be a lot of fun!

The State of Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) is joining with the Department of Homeland Security and partners to highlight the importance of staying safe online. DIR, in collaboration with some of their partners, is offering presentations throughout the month on a variety of cyber security related topics.  These presentations are available to all State of Texas employees and not just information security staff. More information on the topics and registration links are available on the DIR Cyber Security Awareness Month website

Throughout October, the DHS will sponsor a number of events and initiatives focusing on cyber security awareness. The Stop.Think.Connect. campaign provides a wide variety of resources including a toolkit with materials targeted for different audiences and a series of educational videos. You can learn more about these tools and other resources on the DHS website. One important message the DHS delivers is that we all share in the responsibility to learn how to stay cyber safe.

Please take time to investigate these resources and learn more about how you can avoid malicious threats on the Internet by increasing your own understanding of information security. Remember too, that physical security is just as important for protecting both personal and professional data. You contribute to the resiliency of our campus and our nation by raising your own awareness of cyber security.

Special thanks go to the Information Security Office for their outstanding and effective work to protect the campus community!