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Five rules for protecting your security online

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The cybersecurity attacks recently directed against UC and other universities, government agencies, and private companies throughout the country are a frightening reminder of the importance of doing everything possible to protect ourselves online.

As UC works to contain and investigate these attacks, it’s more important than ever to follow best practices for cybersecurity whether you’re at home or in the office.

1. Think before you click

Criminals are experts at making phishing emails as convincing as possible. Even if an email looks like it’s from someone you know, verify unexpected attachments or requests for private information (yours or anyone else’s). Go to web pages by a path you know is legitimate instead of clicking on a link in a message.

Remember: UC, including UCPath and UC Retirement At Your Service (UCRAYS), will never ask you for personal or user account information by email.

2. Protect your passwords

Your old tricks for setting and storing your passwords may no longer be up to the task. Consider a secure password service to generate and store passwords for your work and personal accounts. And always remember to:

  • Make passwords long and strong
  • Never reveal your password to anyone
  • Use different passwords for different accounts, and for work and non-work activities
  • Click “no” when websites or apps ask to remember your password
  • Use strong authentication where possible, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), fingerprints, and tokens

3. Protect your devices

For many of us, our homes are now our offices. Keep your devices as secure at home or on the road as you would in the office. Lock your computer screen before leaving it unattended, and take your phone and other portable items with you or lock them up. Password protect all of your devices, using the strongest authentication available.

It’s also critical to protect your devices with the latest anti-virus and anti-malware protection. Automate software updates and restart your devices regularly to make sure they’re always up to date. 

4. Protect your files

It’s happened to all of us – our hard drives fail, or our devices get lost or stolen. Make sure important information is stored securely, in a physically separate location from the originals, and test your backups periodically. For critical work files, use storage options that are approved by your UC location and are backed up regularly.

Pay special attention to sensitive information you use in your work. Delete sensitive information when you are done with it, following the UC records retention schedule. Better yet, don’t store it in the first place if you don’t need to.

5. If it’s suspicious, report it!

Report suspected scams and other suspicious activity to your local information security office.

Thank you for doing your part to keep your information — and UC’s — safe and secure.

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