Marshall University supports month-long effort to promote Internet safety


October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

The United States Department of Homeland Security sponsors the month-long campaign to teach people of all ages how to stay safe on the Internet.

According to Jon Cutler, Chief Information Security Officer at Marshall University, the MU Division of Information Technology uses the campaign to educate students, faculty and staff on the importance of keeping their data, devices and online identities safe.

The four weekly topics this year are ‘protect your identity,’ ‘protect your data,’ ‘protect your devices’ and ‘protect your reputation.

The MU service desk has been providing tips relating to the “Stop. Think. Connect” campaign about Internet safety through Twitter. Tips on how to identify potential security problems have also been provided.

Cutler said Internet hackers are still using the same methods to trick people into sharing their personal information.

“One of the most common methods is phishing, which is when an email is crafted to catch the eye of a recipient and trick them into thinking they should click the malicious link or verify their passwords, date-of-birth and other personally identifiable information,” Cutler said.

Cutler suggested creating strong passwords and to avoid using a common password for multiple online accounts.

Cutler said misspellings, poor grammar and suspicious-looking hyperlinks are things to look for. For social media users, Cutler suggests users only accept requests from people they know.

Cutler also warned many computer programs come with unwanted adware or spyware, stressing the importance of doing research before installing programs.

“Be sure to keep at least one back up of your important files so you will still have a copy in the case of a corrupted hard drive or malware infection,” Cutler said.

Other faculty members have already developed Internet safety habits.

“Don’t click on suspicious links,” Lisa Daniels, grants officer for the Marshall University Research Corporation said. “If there is ever any doubt, turn it over to computing services. They do a great job of making faculty and staff aware of any immediate cyber threats.”

“Be proactive before it’s necessary to be reactive,” Cutler said.

Casey Adkins can be contacted at [email protected]