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Cybersecurity Awareness

Online Safety and Best Practices

Do

  • Use strong passwords and change them often
  • Use antivirus software for your computers
  • Hover over hyperlink in messages to make sure they are taking you where you want to go
  • Forward suspicious messages in your UMBC email to security@umbc.edu
  • Verify unusual request from UMBC, your bank, friend, etc. by calling them at a trusted number
  • Use the most current versions of apps, virus protection, and any other software

Password Best Practices

Simple measures, like passwords, are things that we don’t put much thought into. How many of us have one or two general passwords that we use for all our accounts? Just thinking about it only makes you realize how much trouble you would be in if this actually came to pass. It’s always better to be safe than sorry so now’s the perfect time to reconsider how you protect your accounts. Here are some tips to consider in order to decrease the chances of your account getting hacked:

  • Change your password periodically: Regular password changes are theoretically a good idea because they ensure someone can’t acquire your password and use it to snoop on you over an extended period of time. For example, if someone acquired your password they can log-in as you and monitor your private conversations as well as use your identity to send unwanted emails. 
  • Don’t use simple passwords: Avoid consecutive keyboard combinations such as “qwerty” or “1234”. Do not use personal information such as your name, date of birth, age, pets name, etc. 
  • Use a combination of letters/number/characters: Use at least 8 characters of numbers, letter, and/or symbols. A lot of sites include a password strength analyzer. Use this tool to create a strong combination to obtain the safest password. You can also make it fun! For example, the password “2B-or-Not_2b?” is a strong combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that says “to be or not to be”. 
  • Manage your passwords: It’s already hard enough trying to remember all of your passwords, but when you have to constantly reset your password it gets annoying. It’s okay to write your passwords down as long as they’re in a secure place. You can also use online tools to manage your passwords. 
  • Logout: A lot of times we forget to logout when we’re in a public place. Make sure to logout every time you step away from your computer. The next person to gain access to your computer can easily gain access to your accounts. 

Don’t

  • Use the same password (or very similar ones) between multiple accounts
  • Respond to suspicious emails, direct messages, or other correspondence
  • Click any links in an unsolicited email, even one to “unsubscribe”
  • Trust any offer which seems “too good to be true.” It probably is.
  • Share any personal information by email, or on a site which does not begin with “https” and lacks the “lock” icon

UMBC will never prompt you to give a username or password except through its official WebAuth Site.