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Idaho State University raises awareness about cyber security

October is cyber security awareness month. So Idaho State University’s information security center is working to promote awareness. The National Information Assurance Training and Education Center is putting up posters around campus with advice and safety tips.

It is also doing educational videos and going to local classrooms to promote personal safety, as well as remind teachers how best to protect student information.

Each week of October, NIATEC is focusing on a different topic of cyber security. One week focuses on internet security in business, another week will showcase “app-titude,” safety with apps and smart phones, which has become the number one tool for cyber attackers.

NIATEC is working to promote the awareness as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s national campaign “Stop. Think. Connect.”

“It’s goal is, ‘Okay, let’s actually think about what we’re doing online before we do it, what we’re doing with our technology before we do it,” said John Lovelace, system security analyst, NIATEC. “Then you safely connect. It’s not to deter people from using it, but to encourage people to think before they act.”

The campaign is one area of focus for NIATEC. Lovelace said the campaign is not necessarily about teaching people cyber security, it’s more about reminding them how important it is and being vigilant in security.

“As you get more people online, you have more people willing and able to use it unwisely and unlawfully,” Lovelace said. “And I think it’s important in the same way that you would lock your doors, same way that you wouldn’t accept candy from strangers, the same simple thoughts that you put into your everyday actions, those should translate to the security world with information technology.”

NIATEC said two of the most important precautions people can take are also some of the most commonly overlooked.

One, is to make sure you know where links and emails are coming from before opening them. If it looks suspicious, leave it alone.

The second is to have a strong password. Make sure it’s at least 8 characters in length. Make sure it’s something you can remember, but others can’t guess. Also, make sure you don’t write your password down where people can find it. And don’t use the word “password” as a password, it’s too commonly used and guessed.

More tips on cyber security can be found on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.

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