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Safe and Sound: Campus Focuses on Cybersecurity

UC San Diego Chief Information Security Officer Michael Corn

Michael Corn

Securing valuable information online is top of mind with recent news of cyber breaches, including at Equifax and Yahoo. But what can you do to protect your information? October, which is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, is a good time to consider what you—as a member of the campus community—can do to protect yourself, and the university, online.

UC San Diego Chief Information Security Officer Michael Corn suggests that securing our computers and online accounts does not have to be an arduous task. “Individual cybersecurity is actually quite easy,” he said. “There are a few basic steps that you can take that will, in large part, help people avoid a hack of their business or personal computer or accounts.”

Corn highlighted five key things you can do:

  • When in doubt, throw it out: If links in an email, tweet, post or online advertising look suspicious, delete or mark it as junk. UC San Diego will never send you an email asking you to click on a link to verify your account. IT Services blocks millions of spam and phishing emails each month, but some still make their way through. So, be skeptical of links and attachments that you don’t recognize.
  • Think before you act: Most of the data we work with is someone else’s personal information: treat it with the same respect that you’d like your data treated with. We are all stewards of data, so we must be thoughtful about how that information is shared and stored (store it in a secure location such as a network share rather than your desktop).
  • Password protected: Don’t share passwords and make them a reasonable length. You can make your password a “passphrase”: a sentence that is easy to remember and include a number and special character. If you find that too hard to type, use a password manager such as LastPass.
  • Keep updated: Most computers automatically update with patches and updates from Microsoft or Apple. But if your work computer does not automatically update, contact IT Services for help at servicedesk.ucsd.edu. Make sure to update home computers as well.
  • Anti-virus software: Again, you should already have the software on your business computer, but if you don’t believe you do, contact IT Services. And keep anti-virus software on your home computer and allow it to update on a regular basis.

“It is important for us to protect our own information, but in addition, as a university, cybersecurity is really about showing respect for the data of others,” said Corn.

Visit http://cybersecurity.ucsd.edu for more information about cybersecurity at UC San Diego.