National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM): Five ways to be more cybersecure
October 31, 2019
Phil Johnson
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Picture of a screen advertising Natonal Cybersecuity Awareness Month 2019
Image: Phil Johnson

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a great time to make sure your digital life is secure. During this month, Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) has shared a series of security-related videos and articles. In case you missed any, here is a recap of five things everyone at MIT should do to be more cybersecure, all of which are free.

Take IT security awareness training

Knowledge and awareness are key tools in your cybersecurity belt. If you understand how cyberattacks work, you can reduce your chances of being deceived.

IS&T recommends that MIT community members take a series of free online courses on information security developed by the SANS Institute. Available through the Learning Center in Atlas, you can easily get to them through IS&T’s Security Awareness and Education page. You can also find them in the MIT Learning Center Course Catalog, under the Information Security subcategory.

Protect your devices

No computers, including Macs, are immune from malicious software, or malware. To protect your device from malware, you should only obtain software from reliable sources and always keep your operating system and software up-to-date by installing all patches.

IS&T also strongly recommends that all MIT community members install both Sophos Anti-Virus and CrowdStrike Falcon anti-malware software. Both are available for download from the IS&T website courtesy of MIT.

Always use strong, unique passwords

Strong passwords are the first line of defense to protect your information against cyber threats. Also, be sure to create unique passwords for each website and application you log into. But do you know what makes a good (or bad) password? Watch this video for tips on creating effective passwords.

Use a password manager

Creating strong and unique passwords for each website or application that requires one is smart. The problem is, it’s difficult to remember all those long, strong passwords. Writing them down or having your browser remember them are very bad ideas, from a security perspective.

The solution? A password manager, software that helps you generate unique, strong passwords, securely stores them all in one place, and easily retrieves them when needed. IS&T offers LastPass Enterprise to everyone at MIT for no additional charge.

Beware phishing attempts

Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails pretending to be from reputable sources in order to steal passwords or sensitive personal or financial information, or to install malware on the target’s computer. Unfortunately, MIT community members are popular targets for these sometimes difficult-to-detect scams.

Learn to spot the signs that an email is phishy and be wary of clicking on links or downloading attachments in any email that you weren’t expecting, even from someone you may know.

IS&T's Security team is here to help!

If you have questions about IT security or have experienced a cybersecurity incident, contact the IS&T Security Team at or by submitting the form on this page.