Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021 – Week 2

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In week 2 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, our theme is “Follow Safe Cyber Practices.” This week we focus on using strong and unique passwords and avoiding suspicious and potentially dangerous web sites. And again, we encourage you to visit Colgate’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month web page 

In week 1 we focused on Multifactor Authentication (MFA) and how MFA offers a significant increase in security compared to using passwords alone (and enrolling in Colgate’s MFA solutions is required for all users by October 31, 2021). However, it’s still important to use a strong and unique password. 

Passwords are stronger when they are longer and more complex so try to create a password that is long (at least 12 characters) and contains a variety of character types, such as upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.  Some people prefer to base their passwords on phrases (these are often called passphrases) and that’s a good strategy too. 

Also, you shouldn’t reuse passwords. Your Colgate password should be completely different than all the other passwords you use. In fact, it’s a good practice to use a unique password for every site or app you use. 

Password managers are a useful tool. Many of them offer a feature to create randomized strong passwords for each site and app you use, and they remember all of these passwords for you! Many of the password managers out there are free for individual use.

We’ll wrap up this week’s message with safe browsing practices. Use common sense and avoid websites that look or feel suspicious and only visit websites that you trust. Make sure that the websites you visit are using encryption (these all start with https:// instead of http://) whenever they require a login or when they contain sensitive information.

If you have any questions about passwords, password management, safe browsing practices, or any other cybersecurity matters, please reach out to the IT Service Desk at 315-228-7111, itshelp@colgate.edu, or visit us in person on the third floor of Case-Geyer.

We will be raffling a gift certificate to the Colgate Bookstore for all students who sign up for MFA and will also be giving out cool Cybersecurity Awareness Month schwag. So stop by and visit us at our table on Tuesdays and Thursdays in October from 11:00am – 2:00pm at the Coop.

Wishing you all a safe and secure Cybersecurity Awareness Month!