Building smart cybersecurity habits

Sunday 07/30/2023

Most of us have security habits that are almost second nature: locking our front doors, thinking twice before sharing our addresses and keeping our wallets close to ourselves. Cybersecurity habits are just as important yet are often neglected. These are some cybersecurity habits that should probably become second nature to you.

  1. Keep up with security updates
    This is one of the easiest good habits you can practice because most of our devices automate this for us. If your phone or your laptop is offering a system update, do so as soon as possible. Some of those updates may include extra security precautions. To make your life even easier, you can turn automatic updates on, for both your device and individual applications.
  2. Think carefully before opening attachments and links
    If you get an email or text message from an unfamiliar number, think twice before clicking any links or attachments. Untrusted sites sometimes host malware that could automatically and silently download onto your computer. You can learn more about malware on the ITS website.
  3. Keep backing up your data
    You have probably heard it time and time again, but it bears repeating: back up your machine. If all else fails and your device becomes compromised, you will be glad that none of your personal documents or data are lost to you forever.
  4. Use 2-factor authentication
    FSU already requires you to use 2-factor authentication (2FA) with the Duo Mobile app for all of your university-related login pages, but many other websites encourage you to use some sort of multi-factor authentication as well. It may be tempting to keep things “easy” and just rely on your username and password but take the extra time to provide your phone number for double authentication. This will protect access to your account from fraudulent logins.
  5. Make use of FSU's virtual private network
    FSU’s virtual private network (VPN) allows you to securely “tunnel” into campus while on an off-campus personal or public network. This is particularly helpful to FSU faculty and staff, who may need to access university services while off campus. You can connect to the FSU network while working from home or on vacation. The process is easy: simply sign in to FSU’s VPN, powered by Cisco AnyConnect, and you are good to go.

To learn more about protecting yourself online, check out the ITS cybersecurity webpages, full of resources to teach you about passwords, phishing, ransomware and more. Building proper cybersecurity habits might take a little bit of extra effort on your part, but the habits you start today can help you to live safer and smarter tomorrow.