Every October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and Penn Manor is proud to participate in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) campaign to increase awareness of cybersecurity threats. Together, we can greatly improve our security online, at work and at home.

We invite you to join us in taking these four steps to protect our community from cyber crime.

1. Enable Multi-factor Authentication

Reduce your chances of getting hacked by 99%

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) provides an additional layer of security for your accounts. MFA can prevent hackers from accessing your sensitive information, even if they get your username and password. Start by enabling MFA on your most important accounts, such as banking websites and apps, email, and social media accounts. Then, enable MFA where ever else you can.

MFA is also sometimes referred to as “Two Factor Authentication” or “Two Step Authentication.”

Click here for instructions to enable MFA on your Google account.

2. Use Strong Passwords

Use different passwords on different accounts

One of the leading causes of unauthorized access to accounts is the reuse of login credentials.

Use a password manager

With just one master password, a password manager can generate and retrieve passwords for every account that you have – encrypting and protecting your online information, including credit card numbers and their three-digit Card Verification Value (CVV) codes, answers to security questions and more.

The PM IT team recommends the following password managers: Lastpass, Bitwarden, or 1Password.

Use the longest password allowed. The longer and more complicated a password is, the harder it
will be for someone to access your accounts. Use 11 characters or more, a short sentence or mix
of letters, symbols and numbers to strengthen your passwords. Password managers make this much easier.

3. Recognize and Report Phishing

Think before you click

Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to solicit personal information by posing as a trustworthy organization. For example, an attacker may send an email that appears to be from a reputable credit card company or financial institution requesting account information to resolve a problem. When users respond with the requested information, attackers can gain access to their accounts.

If you’re unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Don’t use contact information or links from the suspicious email or website. Penn Manor students and staff should report suspected phishing attacks to the district IT department as soon as possible.

Click here to learn more about Phishing and Social Engineering attacks.

4. Update Your Software

New vulnerabilities are continually emerging, but the best defense is simple: keep your software up to date. Enable automatic software updates on all of your devices and restart them as soon as an update is available. These patches usually only take a couple of minutes and ensures that vulnerabilities are removed before an attacker can take advantage of them.

Take action now

Thank you for reviewing these tips. Our hope is that every member of the Penn Manor community uses this information to protect themselves from cyber attacks.