Online Safety Starts with Education

Every day we’re bombarded with hundreds of emails and advertisements. How do we know which ones are real and which ones are scams?

The first step is to understand the risk. The Internet is a powerful and valuable tool, but it has some inherent risks. One wrong click and a paycheck could be routed to Russia or an identity could go up for sale on the black market. Simply being aware of these risks and constantly thinking of ways to protect oneself goes a long way.

“The best thing people can do is educate themselves,” advises Mike Russo, Director of Information Security and Privacy. “If you’re an informed user, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to cybercrime.”

The following tips outline several fundamental cybersecurity practices to observe.

  • Think before clicking email and website links. We know we sound like a broken record, but this is the most important precaution we can stress. Never click a link that looks suspicious.
  • Use a secure, trusted Wi-Fi network for sensitive browsing. Just because Starbucks has Wi-Fi doesn’t mean it should be used to check bank balances. Whenever dealing with personally identifiable information—such as bank accounts, credit cards or university records—be sure to use a secure network, like FSUSecure.
  • Use a strong password. Not a cat’s name. Get creative and find the right balance between something memorable and something no one else will guess. Use letters, numbers and symbols, and mix them together to avoid using common words. For example: Seminole becomes $e^^iN01e. Also, NEVER share your password with anyone.

Again, the best defense against cybersecurity threats is education. To help, the Information Security and Privacy Office (ISPO) provides several online training resources, including a short series of security training videos.

To access the training videos and other cybersecurity resources, visit the ISPO website: security.fsu.edu.