October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart2
Cybersecurity is Everyone's Job
October means CSAM
Week 1_ Be Cyber Smart3
Week 2_ Fight the Phish3
Week 1_ Be Cyber Smart1
Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart2
Cybersecurity is Everyone's Job
October means CSAM
Week 1_ Be Cyber Smart3
Week 2_ Fight the Phish3
Week 1_ Be Cyber Smart1
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Held every October, Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CSAM) is a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safe and secure online while increasing the resilience of the Nation against cyber threats.

Now in its 18th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to build momentum and impact with the ultimate goal of providing everyone with the information they need to stay safer and more secure online. SUNY College of Optometry is proud to support this far-reaching online safety awareness and education initiative which is co-led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month has an overarching theme that we ask you to use in your own October initiatives. This year, under the theme of “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”, the campaign will emphasize the role each individual plays in online safety and stress the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace.


FACTS AND FIGURES

  • The average total cost of a data breach in 2020 was $3.86 million and took an average of 280 days to identify and contain. (IBM)
  • The use of new breach techniques has boomed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 35% of breaches having leveraged new techniques in 2020. (Cynet)
  • 88% of data breaches are caused by human error. (Tessian)

More than ever before, technology plays a part in almost everything we do. Connected devices have been woven into society as an integral part of how people communicate and access services essential to their well being. Despite these great advances in technology and the conveniences this provides, recent events have shown us how quickly our lives and businesses can be disrupted when cyber criminals and adversaries use technology to do harm. Cybersecurity Awareness Month aims to shed light on these security vulnerabilities, while offering actionable guidance surrounding behaviors anyone can take to protect themselves and their organizations. Everyone has a responsibility to do their part in securing our interconnected world.

In support of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, ITS will focus and highlight on a different cybersecurity topic each week, including:

October 4-8, 2021

Week 1: Be Cyber Smart

Take simple actions to keep our digital lives secure.

October 11-15, 2021

Week 2: Fight the Phish!

Learn how to spot and report phishing attempts to prevent ransomware and other malware attacks.

October 18-22, 2021

Week 3: Explore. Experience. Share.

Commemorate the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education’s (NICE) Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week and the global cybersecurity workforce.

October 25-29, 2021

Week 4: Cybersecurity First

Explore how cybersecurity and staying safe online is increasingly important as we continue to operate virtually in both our work and personal lives.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021 Topics

Week 1: Be Cyber Smart
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Week 1: Be Cyber Smart

Get Familiar with the Cyber Basics

At a time when we are more connected than ever, being “cyber smart” is of the utmost importance. This year has already seen more than a fair share of attacks and breaches, including the SolarWinds and Kaseya breaches as well as high-profile attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and other critical infrastructure. Furthermore, as has been underlined by these recent breaches, cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated with more evolved bad actors cropping up each day.


FACTS AND FIGURES

  • 61% of data breaches used compromised credentials. (Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report)
  • 56% of IT leaders believe their employees have picked up bad cybersecurity behaviors since working from home. (Tessian)
  • More than 99.9% of Microsoft enterprise accounts that get invaded by attackers didn’t use multi-factor authentication. (ZDNet)

Luckily, there are several steps that we can take on a daily basis to mitigate risks and stay one step ahead of malefactors. Here are a few quick tips:

Enable MFA

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds that necessary second check to verify your identity when logging in to one of your accounts. By requiring multiple methods of authentication, your account is further protected from being compromised, even if a bad actor hijacks your password. In this way, MFAs make it more difficult for password cracking tools to enable attackers to break into accounts.

Use strong passphrases/password manager

This may seem obvious, but all too often securing strong passphrases/password managers is overlooked. People spending more time online during the pandemic has certainly contributed to more bad actors prowling for accounts to attack. Using long, complex, and unique passwords is a good way to stop your account from being hacked, and an easy way of keeping track and remembering your passwords is by using a password manager.

Perform software updates

When a device prompts that it’s time to update the software, it may be tempting to simply click postpone, and ignore the message. However, having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system on devices is one of the best defenses against online threats. So, don’t wait – update.

Do your research

Common sense is a crucial part of maintaining good online hygiene, and an intuitive step to stay safe online is to do some research before downloading anything new you are downloading to your device, such as apps. Before downloading any new learning app on your device, make sure that it’s a by checking who created the app, what the user reviews say, and if there are any articles published online about the app’s privacy and security features.

Check your settings

Be diligent to double check your privacy and security settings, and be aware who can access your documents. This extends from Google docs, to Zoom calls, and beyond. For meetings on Zoom, for example, create passwords so only those invited to the session can attend, and restrict who can share their screen or files with the rest of the attendees.


Being cyber smart and maintaining stellar online hygiene is the best way to protect yourself and others from cyber attacks. No single tip is foolproof, but taken together they can make a real difference for taking control of your online presence. Following these tips is also easy, and free. By taking preventive measures and making a habit of practicing online safety, you can decrease your odds of being hacked exponentially – and prevent lost time and money, as well as annoyance.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Own Your Role in Cybersecurity: Start With the Basics
Cyber Secure at Work Tip Sheet
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Tip Sheet
Online Privacy Tip Sheet
Protecting Your Digital Home Tip Sheet
Social Media Cybersecurity Tip Sheet

 

Week 2: Fight the Phish!
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Week 2: Fight the Phish!

Fundamentals for Shoring Up Phishing Defenses

From ransomware to SolarWinds, the cybersecurity space has been as hectic as it has ever been over the last 12-24 months. However, for all of the emerging threats and news that are cropping up on the horizon, phishing — one of the oldest pain points in cybersecurity — is continuing to quietly wreak havoc, and is as big of a threat as it has ever been.

Despite often being overlooked in terms of hype, phishing has been a mainstay in the cybersecurity threat landscape for decades. In fact, 43 percent of cyberattacks in 2020 featured phishing or pre-texting, while 74 percent of US organizations experienced a successful phishing attack last year alone. That means that phishing is one of the most dangerous “action varieties” to an organization’s cybersecurity health. As a result, the need for proper anti-phishing hygiene and best practices is an absolute must.


FACTS AND FIGURES

  • Malware increased by 358% in 2020. (Help Net Security)
  • According to the FBI, phishing was the most common type of cybercrime in 2020, with the bureau receiving 241,342 complaints in 2020. (FBI)
  • Phishing attacks account for more than 80 percent of reported security incidents. (Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report)

With that in mind, here are a few quick best practices and tips for dealing with phishing threats.

Know the Red Flags

Phishes are masters of making their content and interactions appealing. From content design to language, it can be difficult to discern whether content is genuine or a potential threat, which is why it is so important to know the red flags. Awkward and unusual formatting, overly explicit call outs to click a hyperlink or open an attachment, and subject lines that create a sense of urgency are all hallmarks that the content you received could be potentially from phish and indicate that it should be handled with caution.

Verify the Source

Phishing content comes in a variety of ways, however, many phishes will try to impersonate someone you may already know — such as a colleague, service provider or friend — as a way to trick you into believing their malicious content is actually trustworthy. Don’t fall for it. If you sense any red flags that something may be out of place or unusual, reach out directly to the individual to confirm whether the content is authentic and safe. If not, break-off communication immediately and flag the incident through the proper channels.

Be Aware of Vishing and Other Phishing Offshoots

As more digital natives have come online and greater awareness has been spread about phishing, bad actors have begun to diversify their phishing efforts beyond traditional email. For example, voice phishing — or vishing — has become a primary alternative for bad actors looking to gain sensitive information from unsuspecting individuals. Similar to conventional phishing, vishing is typically executed by individuals posing as a legitimate organization — such as a healthcare provider or insurer — and asking for sensitive information. Simply put, it is imperative that individuals be wary of any sort of communication that asks for personal information whether it be via email, phone or chat — especially if the communication is unexpected. If anything seems suspicious, again, break-off the interaction immediately and contact the company directly to confirm the veracity of the communications.


Phishing may be “one of the oldest tricks in the book,” but it is still incredibly effective. And although it may be hard to spot when you may be in the midst of a phishing attempt, by exercising caution and deploying these few fundamentals, individuals and organizations more broadly can drastically mitigate the chances of falling victim to a phishing attack.


Additional Resources

Spotting a Vaccine Phishing Scam: Can You Find the Red Flags? (NCSA)
How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams (FTC)
To Click or Not To Click: That is the Question (NCSA)
Identity Theft and Internet Scams Tip Sheet (CISA)
Phishing Tip Sheet (CISA)
Phishing General Security Postcard – This postcard explains phishing and provides signs and tips to prevent attacks (CISA)
Attack Spotlight: Microsoft Office 365 Credential Phishing (ProofPoint)
Attack Spotlight: OneDrive Phishing Campaign (ProofPoint)
Attack Spotlight: Scammers Mimic Real Banking Emails (ProofPoint)

Week 3: Explore. Experience. Share.
Week 4: Cybersecurity First

SUNY College of Optometry is

recognized as a CSAM Champion!  

The Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champions represent those dedicated to promoting a safer, more secure and more trusted internet.

Champions include companies and organizations of all sizes, schools and school districts, colleges and universities, nonprofits, government organizations and individuals.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion

Additional information and resources on cyber issues and implementing sound cyber security practices are also available at the following websites: