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Protect.IT - Tips to #BeCyberSmart!

What can you do every day to protect data? There are very few, if any, verticals such as higher education that transmit, process, access, and share such varying sensitive data elements. There is not a "one size fits all" blueprint for information security controls that all institutions can follow. Yet all campus members have a responsibility to know basic information security protections to safeguard data and prevent those data from being mishandled:

  • Update your computing devices: Ensure updates to your operating system, web browser, and applications are being performed on all personal and institution-issued devices. If prompted to update your device, don't hesitate—do it immediately.
  • Enable two-factor authentication: Whether for personal use or work, two-factor authentication can prevent unauthorized access even if your login credentials are stolen or lost.  UR uses Duo for 2FA.
  • Create really strong and unique passwords: Create unique passwords for all personal and work accounts. In today's environment, one of the best ways to create a really strong password is to use a password manager for all of your accounts. A password manager, like LastPass, will alleviate the burden of having to memorize all the different complex passwords you've created by managing them all in one "vault" and locking that vault with a single master password.
  • Protect your devices: Using biometrics or six-digit passcodes on smartphones and tablets is critical to keeping curious minds from accessing personal information, work email, or retail/banking applications. It also helps protect your device if you lose or misplace it.
  • Understand where, how, and to whom you are sending data: Many breaches occur because of "oopsie moments" where we accidently post sensitive information publicly, mishandle or send to the wrong party via publishing online, or send sensitive information in an email to the wrong person. Taking care to know how you are transmitting or posting data is critical.
  • Free Wi-Fi is not always free.  Wi-Fi connections at the airport or local coffee shop may seem like a lifesaver, but you could be making yourself at an easy target for hackers.  A few tips for using public Wi-Fi:
    • Turn off AirDrop and File Sharing
    • Don’t give away critical or private info when signing up for free Wi-Fi services.  Avoid accessing sensitive information such as bank accounts on free Wi-Fi.  
    • Stick to secure or HTTPS websites
    • If you must connect to a public Wi-fi, use your campus VPN.

Additional Resources:

"The Adoption of Multi-Factor Authentication in Higher Education" at

Department of Homeland Security has provided a list of Tips to Recognize and Prevent Cybercrime that has useful information in helping you recognize cybercrime and protect yourself.