October 2015 BearAware Bulletin

October 1, 2015

Is that a Spam in Your Hand?

Come and find out at Dr Pepper Hour from 3 - 4 p.m. on October 13, 2015! Baylor ITS will host Dr Pepper Hour in celebration of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), a national initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security developed to “engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident.” Since 2007, Baylor ITS has participated in NCSAM with a series of BearAware public awareness campaigns designed to create a cybersecure community. This year's BearAware initiative features a variety of Seussian images and turns of phrase developed to inspire Baylor students, faculty, staff and visitors to learn and follow best practices when it comes to staying safe online.

Keep your eyes open for Spams, Phishy Fish, Bears riding in Balloons, the Grinch, Truffula trees and more. Visit www.baylor.edu/bearaware for great tips on being cybersecure. Follow @bearaware on Twitter and Like BearAware on Facebook to receive useful tips and warnings about threats that impact our community.

6 Ways to Protect Your Information

Being BearAware is actually pretty simple. While none of the following suggestions are foolproof, using them in combination will go a long way to protecting your personal information and important digital files.

  • Use Secure Passcodes
    Whether it is a passcode to your device, email, social media platform or your bank account, keep it secure by making it at least 8 characters in length (12 or more is preferred), use a combination of characters (numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols), and avoid using common words (names, places, dictionary words).
  • Lock Your Devices
    Secure your laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone with a passcode to prohibit access to your information.
  • Use Up-To-Date Antivirus Software Antivirus/Anti-malware software routinely scans your device for indications of known computer viruses and malware. While these programs cannot prevent everything from affecting your computer, installing a reliable antivirus software package and keeping its definitions up-to-date can save you potential headaches that come with being infected.
  • Beware of Free, Public Wi-Fi
    What sounds like a dream could actually be a nightmare! Other people connected to a Wi-Fi access point may be able to access the information on your device. To be safe, be certain you know and trust the Wi-Fi network you are using.
  • Do not Provide Sensitive Information Online
    There are only a small handful of companies or institutions that require your Social Security number, bank account information, policy numbers for insurance accounts or your credit card information. If you can avoid entering this and other sensitive information online, it is in your best interest. If you must, make certain your online session is encrypted (https://) and that you are actually on the website of the entity to whom you plan to provide the information.
  • Back up important files
    There is no media available that is failsafe. Hard drives crash, USB keys stop working and DVDs deteriorate over time. Back up your most important files in secure, cloud storage (like Baylor’s Box service). If you back your files up to an external drive, be sure to check the operation of the drive regularly.
Gone Pfishin’…Again

We recently sent a BearAware Alert about the increase in successful spearing attempts we are seeing in the Baylor community. Spearing emails continue to become increasingly sophisticated and some have now developed to the point where it is difficult to discern whether the email is from a legitimate source or whether the sites linked in the message are truly authentic. The only way to avoid being “phished” is to manually enter the URL for the entity that is emailing you into the browser. Log in through the company’s authentic interface and then see if there are notifications for you from the company. Baylor ITS - along with most banks and other institutions - will never ask you to provide sensitive information online through an email based form or by clicking on an embedded link in an email that leads to an online form. Be very wary of messages that lead you immediately to an online form and then ask for sensitive information.

Contact ITS for Assistance

If you believe that you have been a victim of cybercrime or simply have questions about the information in this bulletin, please contact the ITS HELP desk at (254) 710-4357 (HELP). Follow @BaylorITS on Twitter and “Like” the Baylor ITS Facebook page for all of the latest news and information from Baylor ITS. For outage notifications and other emergencies, follow @BaylorITS_Alerts on Twitter.

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