National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2016 Weekly Topics

- Creating #CyberAware Habits -
- Protecting Yourself & Your Data -
- Recognizing Cybercrime -
- Reacting When Hacked -

October 3-7

Figuring out how to keep your accounts and devices protected online can be a tedious, even confusing process, however if you have good #CyberAware habits, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. Things like creating strong passwords and setting up multi-factor authentication as soon as you set up a new online account are a few of the best ways to protect yourself online. You will still need to stay alert about your presence online, but simply having these habits will make things much easier. Take a look at some of the topics below to find out how you can create #CyberAware habits:

How do I create strong passwords and manage them for multiple accounts?
How can I set up multi-factor authentication?

Two-Step Verification (SANS Institute)

*Most popular websites allow you to turn on multi- or two-factor authentication. Below are tutorials for some of the most popular sites. Check with your banking and credit card companies’ websites to see if they offer multi-factor authentication methods so you can secure your financial information, as well.

How do I keep my operating system and other software up-to-date?

Operating Systems:

Microsoft and Apple provide free security updates for their software products.

  • Windows: Microsoft issues patches for all Microsoft products on the second Tuesday of each month, as well as out-of-cycle patches on any day of the month. This is a good occasion to check manually, a practice that you should follow once every two weeks, to make sure all of the updates have been installed. Find out how to check for Windows Updates here.
  • Apple OS X: Updates are issued frequently. Click here for information on how to update Mac OS.


Program developers often find bugs, security vulnerabilities, or ways they can enhance their programs, and they frequently release “patches” or fixes to their users. For this reason, it is recommended to install software updates as they become available. Below are some of the more frequently used programs that need periodically patched:

  • Browsers

Older, outdated, or non-patched versions of internet browsers contain multiple vulnerabilities that can lead to memory corruption, spoofing and execution of malicious scripts or code. It is absolutely critical to update your internet browsers. Get the latest versions of the most popular web browsers below:

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Mozilla FireFox

Apple Safari

Google Chrome


  • Adobe Flash Player

Click here to check your version of Adobe Flash Player.

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader and Acrobat Pro

Follow the steps below in order to update Acrobat Reader and/or Acrobat Pro:

1. Launch Acrobat Reader or Acrobat Pro

2. Go to the ‘Help’ menu and select ‘Check for Updates’

3. Follow the recommendations provided by the ‘Adobe Updater Utility.’

  • Java

Visit this link to check your Java version:

How can I keep my mobile phone or tablet secure?

October 10-14

Now that you know the basics cyber security, how can you continue to protect yourself and your data? Data backups can be helpful in the event of a lost or damaged computer, and disk encryption will keep your data protected if your computer or storage media is stolen. To keep your reputation protected, use appropriate social media etiquette and know how to use public WiFi. Check out the links below to find out what you can do:

How do I backup my files?

Back It Up!

Backup & Recovery (SANS Institute)

Using the Cloud Securely (SANS Institute)

How do I use disk encryption?

Encryption (SANS Institute)

Your operating system likely comes with its own encryption application. BitLocker was released with Windows Vista and is built-in to Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. Apple’s FileVault 2 has been built-in to Mac OS X since version 10.7.

Windows BitLocker

Apple FileVault 2

How can I protect myself on social media?

“Never post anything online you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.” Social media etiquette is an important concept that can protect your reputation and others’. Simply posting activities from your fun Friday night could negatively affect your chances of employment. Check out the links below to learn proper social media etiquette, how to spot fake news articles, and what you can do to prevent unwanted viewers on your social media pages.

Safe Social Networking

Privacy & Social Networking

Social Media Privacy & Security (SANS Institute)

Share with Care – What You Post Can Last a Lifetime (StaySafeOnline)

6 Quick Ways to Spot Fake News (

How can I stay safe on public WiFi?

The safest way to use public WiFi is not to use it at all, however, that is not always practical. There are times when you might need to connect to a public network for work, school, or personal reason while avoiding excessive data charges. Take a look at the links below to find out how you can use public WiFi safely and securely.

Using Marshall University’s VPN

Staying Secure on the Road (SANS Institute)

Tips for Using Public WiFi Networks (Federal Trade Commission)

Privacy Tips for Using Public Computers & Wireless Networks (StopThinkConnect)

October 17-21

No matter how secure our online habits are, cybercrime still exists. Knowing how to spot a malicious website, program, or email can prevent your device from being infected or your personal information from being stolen. Learn how to be cautious using the links below:

How do I spot a phishing email?

Think you can spot a phishing email? Take this quiz to find out your Phishing IQ.

Phishing Scams

Phishing (SANS Institute)

CEO Fraud (SANS Institute) – Spear Phishing and Senior Executive Impersonation

How do viruses and malware infect a computer?
What is ransomware?
How do I know if a website is secure?

If a website or web form asks for sensitive information, credit card/financial information, or prompts for a username and password, be sure to look for the “s” in “https://” at the beginning of the URL. If the web address has “http://” instead of “https://”, do not fill out the form or credentials on that page, as this means your data will not be encrypted when you submit.  Instead it will be sent in plain text that a hacker can easily read.

When you visit a secure, encrypted webpage, your browser will likely show a padlock or security icon to the left of the web address field. Check out the examples below to see what this looks like on the most popular browsers:

Google Chrome:




Microsoft Edge: (even though the browser is hiding the “https://” section of the web address, you can still click on the padlock to ensure its security)



Other Resources:

Online Shopping (StaySafeOnline)

How Can I Tell If a Web Page Is Secure? (SSL)

Understanding Web Site Certificates (US-CERT)

October 24-28

Despite our efforts to protect ourselves, sometimes the bad guys are still successful. But there are steps you can take to regain your sense of security and protect your information after being hacked. Visit the links below to learn what to do if you become a victim of cybercrime:

I'm hacked, now what?

“I’m Hacked, Now What?” (SANS Institute)

Hacked Accounts (StaySafeOnline)

How do I remove viruses from my computer?
How do I report identity theft?
What should I do if I own an account on a breached website?

So often we see in the news yet another report of a massive data breach, such as the one at Yahoo! in September. There are a couple of services you can subscribe to that will notify you if your email address has appeared in a massive data breach.

HaveIBeenPwned is a free resource for anyone to quickly assess if they are at risk due to an account compromise in a data breach. You can either search your email address(es) a single time to find out if it’s been breached in the past, or subscribe to the service so you will receive an alert if your account appears in a breach in the future.

Pastebin is a free resource used to share information online. It is mainly used by program developers to share pieces of source code, however hackers often use this page to share stolen credentials. Using the site in this manner is against Pastebin’s Acceptable Use Policy and they will remove these pastes as they are reported. If you create an account, you can subscribe to “MyAlerts” for free and enter up to 3 different email addresses. Pastebin will alert you if any of these email addresses show up in their pastes.

What to Do When You Receive a Data Breach Notice (Privacy Rights Clearing House)

What to Do After a Data Breach (Tom’s Guide)

National Cyber Security Alliance Statement Following Reported Massive Data Breach at Yahoo! Inc [Includes Advice] (StaySafeOnline)