Passwords, Phishing and Cyber Threats, Oh My!

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and Kent State is looking to keep the university community safe online

You get an email from your supervisor demanding you send them your cell number so they can text you important instructions. You get a text asking you to verify that you’re logging into your FlashLine account. But you’re not. Now you’re wondering how many times you’ve used this same password.

Cybersecurity Image

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and Kent State University is looking to keep its community safe online. Throughout the month, the Division of Information Technology is encouraging faculty, staff and students to participate in weekly virtual events to learn more about cyber threats. Each week of the month focuses on an aspect of cybersecurity such as password strength, multi-factor authentication and phishing.  

The first week kicked off with a word search revolving around passwords and password strength. Visit Kent State’s SecureIT website for password tips, and how to improve passwords, passphrases and the how to effectively use password managers. Users can be reminded not to share passwords, to be aware of keyloggers, and how to check for a secure connection before submitting a password to a site.

James Raber

The week of Oct. 9, the department launched a new app where the community will be able to find out if they have multi-factor authentication on for their Kent State accounts. Visiting the Login Health Check website will help you make sure multi-factor authentification works on your account and has up-to-date information. Entering your credentials will give you the status of your security and some optional upgrades for even more protection.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month was designed to provide interactive apps, simulations and other engaging tasks to allow participants to take part and to build awareness of safe cybersecurity practices all with a little bit of fun.  

Jim Raber, associate chief information officer, is one of the many people who put together this month's activities.  

“One of the biggest threats that any university or organization faces is phishing,” Raber said. 

“Phishing is basically a fraudulent email that comes in and probably looks somewhat legitimate, but has hallmark attributes like a sense of urgency or call to action,” he said.  

Flash mascot telling you whether your account is secure

The third week of October focuses on the topic of phishing, and Kent State students will get the opportunity to take part in a phishing simulation. The simulation will test students on their knowledge of warning signs commonly seen with phishing incidents. Be on the lookout for that email Monday, Oct. 16.

The final week will have a cumulative quiz to test your knowledge about what you learned this month, along with the chance to win prizes.  

The division’s hope is to educate the community on how to detect fake emails and to prevent phishing and other cyber security threats throughout the programs this month.  

“At the end of the day it all comes down to keep[ing] your account safe,” Raber said. “It's keeping your password to yourself, turning on multi-factor authentication whenever and wherever you can, and not reusing the same password across multiple services.”

The division invites all students to take part in the free online web safety courses to brush up on their cybersecurity knowledge.

Visit the Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023 website.

Cartoon person with a tablet in their hands sitting next to a dog with the words Be Cyber Smart
POSTED: Thursday, October 12, 2023 02:15 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 12, 2023 05:22 PM
Luke Trupo, Flash Communications