Cyber Security Awareness Month: 12 Steps to Stay Safe Online

Oct. 14, 2014

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Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275

WACO, Texas (Oct. 14, 2014) – October marks National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and Baylor University has joined a nationwide campaign to encourage vigilance when it comes to being safe online.

"Every day we experience the upsides of living in a connected world that is always on. However, the shadow side of our technology-rich environment is that our information constantly passes over layers of networks and may be vulnerable,” said Pattie Orr, vice president for information technology and dean of Baylor University Libraries. “In addition, our devices are designed to protect data stored on them, but they are not foolproof.

“It is important, especially as our technology becomes more mobile and personal, that each of us remains aware of how we are protecting our personal information and other people on the networks that connect us," Orr said.

The theme of this year’s campaign – "Clickaholics Anonymous" – offers "12 Steps" to become more cyber secure:

1. When in doubt, throw it out: Throw away unexpected email with attachments and/or links.

2. Create long, strong passphrases and passwords: 10 characters with uppercase, lowercase, number and symbol are standard.

3. Back it up: Keep a copy of all information and data on back-up hard drive or secure cloud file storage, like Box.

4. Shop, bank securely: When shopping and banking online, be sure to look for sites with "https://" to ensure safe, secure connection. Make sure to read warning messages that can pop up when visiting shopping sites.

5. Install anti-virus and scan often.

6. Use caution on public WiFi.

7. Keep your machine clean: Scan for malware, delete cookies and refrain from installing unnecessary toolbars, apps, etc.

8. Lock all devices: To prevent theft, habitually lock all devices to keep your information safe.

9. Set devices to auto-update.

10. Read before acting: Before clicking on links or agreeing to terms, read contributing text.

11. Beware of Ransomware: If you receive an email or popup indicating your data is "locked" until a fee is paid, seek help IT immediately.

12. It takes a community to make campus cyber secure.

The 12 steps are on display across @BearAware and @BaylorITS social media platforms, on posters in high-traffic areas around campus and flyers posted in campus buildings.

"Baylor has built its information security program to address not only the technical risks to information but also the user risk,” said Jon Allen, assistant vice president and chief information security officer. “Cyber Security Awareness Month and our ongoing BearAware campaign efforts simply bolster the things we are already doing by making all of our users aware of the genuine threat to their personal information and providing tips to help make us more secure."


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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