It's Easy To Stay Safe Online

Be Privacy Aware

Privacy vs. Convenience

Whenever you sign up for or even just use a service online, all kinds of data is being gathered about you. It is important to make an informed decision on if a given service is worth it for you or not. The following steps are a good start to decide if you actually want a company to have your data.

  • Is the service, app, or game worth the amount or type of personal data they want in return?
  • Can you control your data privacy and still use the service?
  • Is the data requested even relevant for the app or service (that is, "why does a Solitaire game need to know all my contacts")?
  • If you haven't used an app, service, or account in several months, is it worth keeping around knowing that it might be collecting and sharing your data?

Does this app need to know your location?

When giving permissions to an app be sure to check that it has the lowest permissions necessary to function as you need. Solitaire does not and should not need your location or contacts. Privacy settings can generally be adjusted app by app or at a system wide level. Go to to find out more about managing your privacy settings. 

Protect Your Data

Security of your information is crucial to the privacy of it as well. It is important to follow some cybersecurity practices to keep this data secure.

  • Create long (at least 12 characters), unique passwords for each account and device. Use a password manager to store each password – maintaining dozens of passwords securely is now easier than ever.
  • Turn on multifactor authentication (MFA) wherever it is permitted – this keeps your data safe even if your password is compromised.
  • Turn on automatic device, software, and browser updates, or make sure you install updates as soon as they are available.
  • Learn how to identify phishing messages, which can be sent as emails, texts, or direct messages.

What is a Phishing Scam ?

Phishing is a form of internet scam where a person with malicious intent pretends to be someone else to obtain data that they shouldn’t have access to. This can be done through email, phone calls, text message or social medias. No one is immune to falling for a phishing attacks. By knowing how to recognize, recover, and report phishing you can protect yourself and others from phishing attempts.


  • Telltale Signs of a Phishing Attack: 
    • Is sender Email address legit? Even if the address looks right, is it strange or unexpected? 
    • Is the message urgent, unexpected or too good to be true?
    • Is it asking you to click a link or file?  (hover over to check first)
    • Is it asking  you to login to a site looks familiar or download a file? (check URL even if the site looks right)
    • Does it look unprofessional, with misspellings and improper grammar?
    • More info at Federal Trade Commission (FTC) web site to recognize phishing scams.


  • If you login to an unknown site, change your passwords immediately
  • Scan your device with an anti-virus software and turn on automatic updates
  • Make sure Multi-factor Authentication ( MFA) is turned on for additional security
  • Backup your data
  • If your information is lost or exposed, follow the steps at FTC site.


Test Your Phishing Knowledge!

Why Should You Update Your Devices? 

Software update reminders can be annoying and interrupt your workflow. Given that no software release is ever perfect, new exploits are identified regularly, and malicious actors look for systems with vulnerabilities, timely response is important and will help keep you safe. Although the process of updating your software can get tedious, but the sooner you update, the sooner you'll secure yourself. 

Best Software Update Practices: 

  • Turn on automatic updates wherever possible. 

  • Only get updates from official software sites and built-in update utilities, and not from email links or web browser pop-ups. 

  • Be mindful of personal devices.  Devices like security cameras, smart home accessories, and digital assistants all provide convenience, but require updates to maintain safety and privacy.  

  • Don’t just worry about updating your device, make sure the apps on your devices are also regularly updated as well


Throughout October, we will have both employees and student #BeCyberSmart training sessions and activites. This week we will also have a quiz/game that tests you on your knowledge of information regarding updating your devices. 

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Examples of Malicious update notifications: 

Notice how they are browser pop-up ads and are using but not exact company logos. Stay clear of clicking any of these pop-ups and close them as soon as you can. 


Fake Update

Example 1: Notice the .biz link, have you ever seen that before? There are also grammatical errors throughout the page, "often the cyber criminals to block". Does that seem very official? Always go through official websites to update software.

Fake Update

Example 2: The urgency of this message is a red flag that it is not legitimate. Once again notice the link, do you think Adobe Flash would send you off of their site for a download?


Fake Update

Example 3: The count down is a clear indicator that this is a fake download. You will never receive a message from Apple through your browser. Avoid installing anything that is not from the official app store.

For questions, please email or visit

#BeCyberSmart #CyberSecurity 

Protecting Yours and University Data

One of the biggest threats in cybersecurity is the loss of data. Not knowing the intention of the individual that steals information can become a nightmare. Protecting online data is simple and can be easily done. Here are some examples of steps you can take to protect your data.

  • Do not save your credit card or personal information in your browser.
  • Think before you text/email any Personal Identifiable Information or (PII).
    • Does the other party need the information?
    • Could this information be misused if someone with malicious intent got ahold of it?
  • Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts to reduce risks.
  • Avoid clicking on popups or links even if they look legitimate. They could be fake:
    • Check if the link has a secure internet browser address (https) on the pop up and your browser should not display any virus alerts.

This week we will also be doing a scavenger hunt. In this we will have you search SecureIT website and find some useful information to help protect your data online.

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Data Classification:

Not all data is created equal. Some are more sensitive than others and need to be kept confidential no matter if it is yours or others. Some data are restricted by law due to privacy and security reasons.  Have you heard of FERPA, HIPAA, COPPA and GDRP? These are all laws to regulate organizations to protect privacy.  Here are the details on Data Classification Standards.  KSU Employees: Please explore our SharePoint Site to learn more about Data Classification Standards and Data Governance.

Backing Up Your Data:

It is a good practice to regularly back up important data and to delete or offload anything that is not necessary. There is the 3-2-1 rule for backing up data.

       3  Copies of your data should be kept.

       2  Different types of storage.        

       1  Copy kept somewhere off site, like the cloud.

Safe Email Practices:

Ever since the first email was sent back in 1971 it has been one of the most used methods for communicating and distributing information for many purposes. Here are some good rules to follow when sending an email.

  • Avoid sending any sensitive information in your email.
    • This includes information such as your credit card information, PII, and FERPA.
  • If you absolutely must send out sensitive information:
    • Make sure the person receiving information really needs it, verify person and their email.
    • Encrypt sensitive information to make sure the content is secure and safe.
    • Don’t ask for sensitive info in a mass email.
    • If sensitive information is requested in massive chain email, please inform the sender if it is a mistake and don’t reply to ALL.  


For questions, please email or visit

#BeCyberSmart #CyberSecurity 

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Protect Your Accounts

As more and more of our lives move into the digital space, it is important to keep all of our accounts secure. Every time you sign up for a software, social media, or any website that requires your personal information, you are putting your information at an elevated risk. As a result it is important that you are aware of what information you are sharing on the internet, ensure that you take the steps to protect your accounts properly. Keep reading for a chance at winning a prize in this week's activity!


Because a creating a password is the first and most basic step taken to secure your account, having a strong one is important. Here are some basic guidelines for creating a secure one.

  • Do:
    • Create a Unique Password
    • Use Passphrases
    • Use a Password Manager
    • Include a Special Characters & number in Your Password
    • Make Your Passwords Long (16 characters or more)
  • Don't:
    • Reuse Your Passwords/Passphrases
    • Store Passwords In Your Browser
    • Use Personally Identifiable Info (e.g. Your Name)
    • Use a Common Password (e.g. password123)
    • Use Dictionary words

What is MFA?

Multifactor Authentication (MFA) is one of the best ways to boost your accounts security. Here are some benefits:

  • Reduces risk of compromised passwords
  • Increases security with something you know
  • Complies with single-sign-on
  • It adds next level security even remotely
  • It's easy to use

Why You Should Be Using A Password Manager

In average, most people have over 100 accounts. How can one remember 100 unique and complex passwords? This is where a password managers role lies. A password manager is software created to manage all your online credentials like usernames and passwords. It stores them in a safe, encrypted database and also generates new passwords when needed. Use a password manager to help manage different passwords across your accounts and services. The best ones work for all browsers and devices. You can learn more by reading this article from, Here are some benefits of using one:

  • Saves time
  • Works across all your devices and operating systems
  • Protects your identity
  • Notifies you of potential phishing websites
  • A better way to share passwords with people you trust
  • Notifies you when you use weak or compromised passwords

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