Marshall IT raises awareness for cyber security

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Throughout October, the Marshall University Information Technology Department is participating in National Cyber Security Awareness Month to raise awareness for cyber security and teach students and faculty how to use caution in the digital world. 

Sarah Quarles, an IT security analyst, said the main goal of NCSAM is to teach students and faculty how to be safe online and how to protect themselves on social media. 

“Following the Stay Safe Online organization’s theme ‘Own IT, Secure IT, Protect IT,’ our hope is that students, faculty and staff will take responsibility of their own online security by staying safe on social media and learning about privacy settings,” Quarles said. “We hope they secure their data by using stronger passwords and taking advantage of better authentication methods. Finally, to maintain protection of the data, we hope they will keep software and operating systems up to date and use caution on shared networks or workstations.”

Other topics explored for NCSAM include how to share personal data safely and how to protect personal information. 

“Our awareness campaigns in October and throughout the school year have taught students and faculty how to protect themselves online,” Quarles said. “They have become more aware of fraudulent schemes, like phishing emails, so they don’t fall victim to giving up personal or sensitive information.” 

Quarles said skills learned during NCSAM provide various benefits to students and faculty. 

“Students and faculty are improving password management skills, along with understanding the importance of applying software and operating system updates,” Quarles said. “Together, these benefits have protected their own personal information, as well as the Marshall University’s infrastructure and sensitive data.”

NCSAM started in 2004 to teach people how to stay safe online. Marshall IT began participating in NCSAM in 2010, making this year their 10th year being involved, Quarles said. The campaign is organized each October by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. 

Those interested in more information about NCSAM may visit staysafeonline.org/ncsam or marshall.edu/it/ncsam. 

Brianna Toney can be contacted at [email protected] 

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