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IT Support Center celebrates 10th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month

10/22/2013
Aleda Johnson
Senior Staff Writer

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania IT Support Center is trying to keep students informed by raising awareness about Internet security through the 10th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month hosted by StaySafeOnline.org.

This year’s theme is “Our Shared Responsibility” because the Internet is a shared resource throughout the world, and securing it is everyone’s responsibility.

“NCSAM was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online,” according to StaySafeOnline.org.

IUP has recently started supporting initiatives like this one for the benefit of its students.

“Over the past couple of years, we have chosen to join a number of institutions nationwide as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month to help emphasize the importance of being responsible online citizens and staying safe in the online environment,” IT Center online learning specialist and facilitator David Porter said.

In 2011, the FBI documented about $485.3 million lost in cybercrime, and while not all cyber security threats are financial in nature, they can be costly in terms of the time to fix damages to your computer equipment and even your reputation, Porter said.

“Cyber security awareness month invites us to take a moment to evaluate how we use technology,” Porter said. “We have an opportunity to look at our online behaviors and to determine if there are things we can do to assess and limit our risk.”

The program began with influence from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

Each week in October has a specific theme focused on one facet of NCSAM.

The first week was “10 years and beyond: General Online Safety and STOP. THINK. CONNECT.” which focused on raising awareness across the country about cybercrime and reinforcing simple measures everyone should take to be safer online.

The second week’s theme, “Being Mobile: Online Safety and Security,” highlighted the necessity to focus on cyber security wherever and whenever the Internet is used.

This week’s theme, “Cyber Education and the Next Generation of Cyber Leaders,” is about the importance of Internet safety education and workforce development, including the advancement and opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math education.

The fourth week’s theme will be “Cybercrime,” and it will specifically focus on how to protect against cybercrime such as theft, fraud and abuse.

The last week in October is “Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure,” which shows how the Internet is a huge part of our financial transactions, transportation systems, electrical grid, emergency response systems and every other facet of our daily lives.

Week five is aimed to demonstrate how critical it is to protect that infrastructure.

In support of NCSAM, the IT Center has been sending out biweekly tips through IUP Daily and The Beak, public service announcements on WIUP-FM and social media posts.

The IT Center webinar this month will also be focused around cyber security awareness when Waleed Farag, the director of the Institute for Information Assurance and a professor from the computer science department, speaks on securing our digital assets.

Farag will discuss the classifications of security concerns along with the practical tools and measures that can be used to protect individuals from these attacks.

The IT Center is also hosting a new Cyber Security Awareness Contest where interested students can submit projects that focus on a cyber security awareness theme.

Judges of the contest are looking for a creative way to communicate a clear concise message, an awareness of cyber security concepts and an application of strategies for cyber safety.

Students who wish to submit a project must do so by 11:59 p.m Oct. 31.

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