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John Carroll University is once again participating in the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month program run by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) to create awareness about Cybersecurity.  This year’s awareness theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” Each week in October, we will provide information and tips from leading cybersecurity organizations on protecting yourself online. Our goal is to help you make the most of today’s technology…safely and securely.

Our weekly email themes are as follows:

  • Tip #1 - If You Connect It, Protect It
  • Tip #2 - Securing Devices at Home & Work
  • Tip #3 - Cybersecurity Resources
  • Tip #4 - The Future of Connected Devices

Given our many internet-connected devices and constant online presence, it is essential that we follow safe cybersecurity practices to protect ourselves online.

Facts and Figures

  • Hackers attack every 39 seconds, on average 2,244 times a day. (University of Maryland)
  • 56% of Americans don’t know what steps to take in the event of a data breach. (Varonis)
  • 46% of organizations got all of their malware via email. (Verizon 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report)

Calls to Action

  • Share with Care: Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it, and how it might affect you or others. Consider creating an alternate persona that you use for online profiles to limit how much of your own personal information you share.
  • Think before You Click: If you receive an enticing offer via email or text, don’t be so quick to click on the link. Instead, go directly to the company’s website to verify it is legitimate. If you’re unsure who an email is from — even if the details appear accurate — or if the email looks “phishy,” do not respond and do not click on any links or open any attachments found in that email as they may be infected with malware.
  • When in Doubt, Throw It Out: Links in email, tweets, texts, posts, social media messages and online advertising are the easiest way for cybercriminals to get your sensitive information. Be wary of clicking on links or downloading anything that comes from a stranger or that you were not expecting. When available, use the “junk” or “block” option to no longer receive messages from a particular sender. Don’t trust those links.
  • Own Your Online Presence: Every time you sign up for a new account, download a new app, or get a new device, immediately configure the privacy and security settings to your comfort level for information sharing. Regularly check these settings (at least once a year) to make sure they are still configured to your comfort.

The year 2020 presented a major disruption in the way many work, learn, and socialize online. Our homes are more connected than ever. The University has expanded its network connections more than ever too. With more people now working from home, these two internet-connected environments are colliding on a scale we’ve never seen before and introducing a whole new set of potential vulnerabilities that users must be conscious of. Tip #2 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month will focus on steps users and organizations can take to protect internet-connected devices for both personal and professional use.

The University’s data safety and security is a responsibility we all share. As the lines between our campus and personal lives have almost disappeared, it is critically important that exercising smart cybersecurity hygiene flows between the two.

Facts and Figures

  • The global smart home market is forecast to reach a value of more than $141 billion by 2023. (Statista Research)
  • 90% of IT professionals believe remote workers are not secure and 70% think remote staff poses a greater risk than onsite employees. (OpenVPN)


  • Get Savvy About WiFi Hotspots:  Public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure, which means that anyone could potentially see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone while you are connected to them.  Limit what you do on a public WiFi and avoid accessing sensitive accounts like email and bank accounts.  If you must connect, use a virtual private network (VPN) or personal/mobile hotspot for a more secure connection.
  • Lock Down Your Login:  Create long and unique passphrases for all accounts and use Two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible. 2FA will fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics or a unique one-time generated code sent to your phone or mobile device.
  • Think Before You Click:  If you receive an enticing offer via email or text, don't be so quick to click on the link.  Instead, go directly to the company's website to verify it is legitimate.  If you're unsure who an email is from - even if the details appear accurate - or if it's looks phishy; do not respond, click any links, or open any attachments because they may be infected with malware.

The following video highlights the Do's and Don'ts of phishing attacks: