Outrun the Bear

I’m sure that many of you have noticed a dramatic increase in phishing emails in recent years. News stories of businesses having information exfiltrated or ransomware attacks are all too common. I have often heard the statement, “It isn’t if you’ll get hacked, but when.” So, is there nothing that can be done to stay protected?

There are some simple things that can be done that will make us less of a target:

  1. Install security updates and update your operating system.
  2. Keep software updated and remove unneeded or unused software.
  3. Have long unique passwords that are rotated at least annually. Use a password manager if needed.
  4. Encrypt the hard drive on a laptop in case of theft.
  5. Avoid falling for phishing emails. Don’t give personal information or passwords solicited through an email. Instead, contact the company through a known method not found in the email.

By doing these simple things we are less of a target. The threat is still there, but it is more likely that easier targets will be hit first. By consistently following the steps above, you will keep putting safeguards in place that will keep you more protected. Recently I sent out an email to the college with similar suggestions, focused mainly on operating system updates and web browsers. That email was triggered by recent exploits to web browsers that were not being updated regularly. We also don’t want our collogues, college, or the university to be a target. We all need to outrun the bear together, hopefully allowing the bear to find a honeypot somewhere along the way.

You can report suspected phishing emails by right clicking the message and forwarding it as an attachment to phishing@byu.edu. The email will be analyzed for malicious intent and a return email will recommend actions to be taken.

BYU has also recently published a website with IT Standards for employees to be aware of, itstandards.byu.edu. This is a great site to reference for digital hygiene techniques.

Keep up the good work in all your respective job responsibilities! Feel free to email humhelp@byu.edu, call 801-422-2600, or stop by 4194 JFSB with questions or concerns.