K-State celebrates National Cybersecurity Awareness this month

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In 2017, more than 3,500 individuals exposed their Kansas State eID’s and passwords in 2017, Rebecca Gould, director of Information Technology Services, said. Since the start of 2018, more than 450 individuals have given up their credentials.

“It’s going in the right direction; that’s the most important thing,” Gould said.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is celebrated annually every October and is led under the direction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cybersecurity Alliance. NCSAM is in its 15th year of recognition on the national scale. K-State has observed the month for the last five years.

The main goal of the organization is to provide awareness on issues related to information security and safety of computer hardware and to increase the general understanding and importance of cybersecurity, Gould said.

Though K-State’s recognition of NCSAM may seem to be solely directed towards students, Gould said the month is meant to bring awareness to everyone through weekly activities which emphasize specific audiences such as faculty, staff and the general student population. The first week, which is currently ongoing, focuses on personal privacy and general awareness of what should and should not be shared on the internet.

As far as basic cybersecurity tips go, Gould emphasized the importance of keeping your password private and personal.

“One of my mantras is ‘When in doubt, don’t give it out,'” Gould said.

If asked for personal information over email, Gould said the same mantra applies. Though some emails can look legitimate, this is how many phishing scammers harvest your personal information and gain access to accounts are private.

“There’s many links out there that you could lick on that could be a scam,” said Ben Power, IT HelpDesk consultant and sophomore in management information systems. “Make sure that it’s from a credible source before you click on anything.”

To make NCSAM possible at K-State, chief information security officer Chad Currier oversees the activities and an additional 300 IT professionals help to bring the visions of the team to fruition.

“Think wisely about your eID and keep your password safe,” Shayne Rose, junior in management information systems and IT HelpDesk consultant, said. “Don’t share it and keep your passwords separate for each account. That way, if your account gets compromised, then your accounts are safe.”

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