Elon Technology Blog

Cybersecurity 101: 5 Quick Tips For Staying Safe Online

To kick off National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’re sharing five simple tips for keeping your personal information safe from cyber attacks. While you may feel that you’re not at risk for a cyber attack, keep in mind that over 1.9 billion data records have been hacked during global cyber attacks in just the first half of 2017.  It’s even possible that your information has been hacked without your knowledge. Luckily, there are several ways to protect yourself from the threat of cyber attacks.

Here are 5 tips for staying safe on the web:

  1. Create secure passwords

    • Want to create a secure password and, most importantly, remember it? Check out LastPass, a password manager that will help you create strong passwords and remember them for you! Test your password strength and find out how secure your password is here!
  2. Lock your devices

    • Lock all of your devices with passcodes to keep intruders out. Even if your device is stolen, a passcode will stop the thief from accessing your personal photos, emails, data, and more.
  3. Look out for email scams

    • To avoid phishing scams and increase your email safety and security, don’t open attachments or links from senders you don’t know. Rule of thumb: If you’re not expecting an email or attachment from a sender, simply don’t open it.
  4. Keep personal information personal

    • Just like in real life, there’s such a thing a sharing too much information. Don’t post sensitive information to social media, such as your phone number or where you live. Also, be sure not to share private information over an unsecure public network, such as credit card information or bank logins.
  5. Backup your information regularly

    • Be sure to backup your data, contacts, files, photos, etc. in case your device is lost or stolen. Learn how to backup an Apple device here, or an Android here.

Beyond having a large scale impact on major corporations and databases, cyber attacks can impact our daily lives as well. Hackers can tap into emails with personal information, bank accounts, social media, and much more. Make sure to follow these quick tips and do your part in protecting your devices from viruses and hackers. To learn more, read next week’s article on cybersecurity in the workplace and follow #ElonSecure on Twitter!

 

 

 

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NCSAM 2017: Cyber security is our shared responsibility

This October marks the 13th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)!  Since its creation in 2004, NCSAM has been a respected source of cybersecurity tips and information for staying secure online. Be sure to join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook this month as Elon shares advice and resources for keeping your personal information safe. #ElonSecure

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Keeping your data secure when using cloud services

Cloud network graphic via LinkedIn

What are cloud services?

If you’ve ever streamed a show on Netflix or Philo instead of watching a physical DVD or VHS, you’ve used a cloud service.  The ability to access data from virtually anywhere and from any device is made possible by the use of cloud services. Thanks to cloud services, data can live on one or more servers, often called “the cloud,” instead of residing on just one device (like a computer, phone, hard drive or DVD).  Devices can connect to the cloud to access text files, emails, movies and shows, and more. Some well-known cloud services include Google Docs, Dropbox, and the Office 365 suite.

Here are just a few ways you’ve probably used cloud services:

  • Syncing the photos on your phone to an online file storage app, such as Google Drive or Apple’s iCloud
  • Collaborating with other people on a single Google Doc or Word Online
  • Typing a note on your computer and it automatically syncing with your phone
  • Sharing files with coworkers using Office 365 or Sharepoint.

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Hurricane Harvey disaster relief scams

NOAA’s GOES-East satellite captured this image of Tropical Storm Harvey over Texas on Aug. 27 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 UTC).

While Hurricane Harvey has slowly begun to subside, the storm’s destructive effects will continue to be felt across Texas and surrounding areas for years to come. Unfortunately, when natural disasters strike, malicious cyber scammers consider this a prime time to capitalize on those wanting to help disaster victims. Donating money to disaster relief charities and other help organizations can be helpful for victims in need, however please be aware of fraudulent emails asking for money or credit card information to protect yourself from cyber scams.

Emails requesting donations from deceptive charitable organizations may appear over the next several days, weeks, or even months. Fraudulent emails often contain links or attachments that are directed to malware-infected or phishing websites. Exercise caution when handling any email with a subject line, hyperlinks, or attachments related to Hurricane Harvey, even if it appears to come from a trusted source.  Verify the legitimacy of any email solicitation by contacting the organization directly using a trusted contact phone number.

Before giving to a charity, consider these tips advised by the Federal Trade Commission to avoid any charity or fundraiser that:

  • Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs, and how the donation will be used.
  • Won’t provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible.
  • Uses a name that closely resembles that of a better-known, reputable organization.
  • Thanks you for a pledge you don’t remember making.
  • Uses high-pressure tactics like trying to get you to donate immediately, without giving you time to think about it or do any research.
  • Asks for donations in cash or asks you to wire money.
  • Offers to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect the donation immediately.
  • Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. (By law, you never have to give a donation to be eligible to win a sweepstakes.)

If you’d like to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, check out this list of reputable organizations where you can get involved.

Tips for Email Security:

  • Do not click links in unsolicited email messages
  • Use caution when opening email attachments
  • Check out these articles on the Technology Blog to learn more about malware and email phishing schemes.

 

Image credit:  NASA/NOAA GOES Project

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5 Moodle tips to start the semester

Image of a start lineIt’s time to get your Moodle courses ready! Here are five helpful (and short) tutorials for building your Moodle course at the start of the semester.  Continue reading »

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What is malware?

Malware is software used to perform malicious actions.  You may have recently heard about one type of malware called ransomware during the WannaCry attack.  Read an in-depth analysis of WannaCry.  There are several actions you can take to help protect against malware attacks.  One action is thinking before clicking on attachments or links in unsolicited emails.  The Securing the Human series from the SANS Institute, a respected source for information security training has created an informative video which talks more about malware. Read more about the SANS Institute.

Watch this video to learn more about what malware is and how to help protect yourself from a malware attack seeking to compromise your devices and data.

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Remember passwords easily with passphrases

We already know the common best practices when it comes to passwords like creating a long password, using a unique password for each account, and changing passwords often.  But… how do we remember all of these long, unique, and changing passwords?  If you are not using a password manager like LastPass consider using passphrases to help with remembering these passwords.  The SANS Institute, a respected source for information security training has created an informative video about passphrases. Continue reading »

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Windows 10 versus Windows 7: What You Need to Know

This summer, Campus Technology Support will roll out Windows 10 to University-owned devices on the 2017 Summer Replacement schedule, as well as PCs in classrooms and labs. For those of us who run screaming from software updates, curse Facebook every time it’s redesigned, and stubbornly refused to give up our flip phones, this change may be jarring. Continue reading »

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Parking ticket phishing email

PhishingTextA new phishing email is appearing in inboxes, urging users to pay a parking ticket.  Below is an example of the email with suspicious areas highlighted.

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Hello spring, goodbye digital clutter

Digital Spring CleaningJust as our lives can get cluttered with physical stuff, our digital lives can also benefit from some spring cleaning. Use the tips below to help clear your devices and make sure you are still using secure online practices.

TIP #1 Remove unused apps

“Clean” your mobile devices by deleting unused apps. Not only do they consume storage, they also clutter your screen.  For apps you do use make sure they are up to date and review their permissions. Continue reading »

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