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Avoid the Cyber-Scaries! Part 1: User Beware

Avoid the Cyber-Scaries! Part 1: User Beware

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Cybersecurity. Just the word can be intimidating. It conjures thoughts of hackers, phishers, identity theft, and all-around digital destruction. But fear not, for we have come up with some handy tips and advice for what you can do to protect both your organization and yourself.

The User Side of Security

More than complicated technology, we all know our users are both the first line of defense and the most likely to be compromised. Starting with good user security basics can go a long way.

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“Password” Is Not a Password

We all do it. We use the easy password we know we’ll never possibly forget. Unfortunately, the hackers with their super-fast decrypting algorithms won’t have a hard time figuring it out either. Worse still, we often use that same password across multiple platforms.

Even when we choose a more complex word, we sometimes keep it in a note on our desk or in an email draft, making the password vulnerable to hackers or everyday mischievous pranksters. Training staff on safe password practices can help keep your organization safe.

Staff BYOD Monitoring

Depending upon your school district’s BYOD policy, staff members may bring in their own devices to help them improve their students’ learning experiences. While this should be encouraged and appreciated, consistent and well-considered standards for non-district technology should always be applied when those devices come on campus.

Consider implementing a policy that requires all new devices that connect to your network to undergo a quick security check to ensure they align with your established protocols.

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Don’t Let Staff Data Be Caught “Gone Phishing”

Cyber phisher-men and women have clever ways to trick you out of your data. Emails offering fraudulent prizes and/or official looking requests sent from a senior leader are the most common traps. Malicious browser extensions and rogue software are other common phishing lures.

Rigorous password policies, regular phishing simulation campaigns, and user training are two ways to combat this cyberthreat and prevent a costly data breach. Make sure your senior leadership participates as wellthey are the most likely to be targeted by the phisher-men!

Socialize Cautiously

At its best, social media allows us to stay connected and build community. We post information about birthdays, graduations, babies, and, of course, our pets. Unfortunately, the oversharing of personal information can provide cyber criminals with the keys they need to unlock your data. These thieves will use every nugget they can mine to guess your password and security questions. And they’ll use it to send you an email that includes your brother’s name so it seems legitimate…and then suddenly, you’re #phished.

Moreover, many of us now use social logins for important software applications, including those dealing with our finances. Your-dog’s-name-plus-your-graduation-year password can result in quick identity theft. Remind students and staff to be wary of how much information they share across social platforms.

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ENA’s comprehensive security solutions are specifically designed to protect today’s K–12 schools, higher education institutions, and libraries from crippling and damaging cyberthreats and attacks. Our robust portfolio of services keeps your network secure, ensuring you are prepared for the unexpected.

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Brad White is a communications professional and digital marketer at ENA. A former seventh grade language arts teacher, he has a passion for engaging and serving the educational community.
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