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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Connect, Protect, and Secure Northwestern!

Posted Date: 1 Oct 2020

Effective Date: 1 Oct 2020

Ah, October – crisp blue skies, colorful falling leaves, pumpkin spice, and National Cybersecurity Awareness Month! Northwestern Information Technology (IT) is once again partnering with security teams across the University to promote and encourage responsible online behaviors that ensure the campus community is prepared to connect, protect, and secure Northwestern against cyberattacks designed to harvest sensitive information.

While the University has implemented many safeguards—Multi-factor Authentication, Virtual Private Network, Email Defense System, and more—to secure Northwestern’s systems and networks, student, faculty, and staff vigilance remains critical. Cybercriminals continue to innovate, and together, we must continue to enhance our knowledge around cybersecurity.

“Personal and institutional data are incredibly valued assets. When exposed, cybercriminals engage in nefarious acts that harm not just the University’s reputation, but individual reputations as well,” said Nowell Arnold, associate director and deputy chief information security officer, Northwestern IT. “The Secure Northwestern initiative is a year-long opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with cybersecurity best practices that mitigate the risks of falling for a scheme that divulges login credentials, personally identifiable information, private University data, and more.”infographic of iso successes

It’s phishing season. Don’t get caught!

October is also the start of phishing season. With Universities in session and holidays approaching, it’s the perfect time for cybercriminals to cast their phishing nets and lure unsuspecting victims into giving up sensitive information by responding to a fraudulent email, phone call, or text message.

Just last year, Northwestern firewalls prevented more than 1.8 billion threats from reaching the University community. However, cybercriminals are savvy, and some threats do get through. Before you answer a request from an unknown sender—via email, text, or on the phone—read closely for spelling or grammatical errors, be suspicious if the request involves providing your password or any other personal information, and compare it to the list of recent phishing attempts at Northwestern. Most importantly, if you do respond to a phishing attempt, immediately contact the Information Security Office at security@northwestern.edu

Connect, Protect, and Secure Northwestern

Remember that Cybersecurity awareness doesn’t end on October 31. Throughout the year, Northwestern IT will share valuable security tips to keep you and your information secure. So, visit our Secure Northwestern page frequently, watch for our newsletter, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and read the Information Security Office’s blog for the latest updates. Back to top