Erik Yarberry is the College of Nursing’s Network Administrator. He recently took some time to talk to us about cybersecurity at the College of Nursing, including what are termed “internal” and “external” threats to the network. This post will explore internal threats, and another post will follow discussing external threats.
Internal threats are those that come from employees or others who have access to the network. These can be both intended and accidental. Here are some examples:
- Employees clicking on or forwarding phishing messages sent by email
- People leaving employment who leave security holes or delete files they shouldn’t (either accidentally or intentionally)
- People getting viruses through unsafe websites, unsecured flash drives, or other means
You might be wondering, what’s the point in phishing or hacking the College of Nursing? What’s there to gain? Here are some things hackers and phishers look for:
- Intellectual property including copyrighted works, dissertations, etc.
- Hackers may want this information to release it for free, to sell it, or to lock access to it and charge the owner a ransom to re-access their own files
- Personally identifying information
- Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, anything that would help an identity thief
- Access to legitimate email addresses to send more attacks out
Internal security threats make up a large portion of the cybersecurity threats that the College of Nursing faces. That’s why it’s important to know a threat when you see it, and if necessary alert the proper channels. Here are some tips to remember to protect yourself and the College of Nursing from these kinds of threats:
- Don’t click on unfamiliar links or attachments in emails! If you are sent an email that looks suspicious, forward it to email@example.com
- Change your passwords frequently, and use a new and unique password each time. If your email or other information was ever breached, those old passwords could be in the wrong hands.
- Know how to browse the web safely. Here are some good tips.
- Have anti-virus software, and update your computer and software regularly. Cybersecurity is basically an arms race, and the best way to be equipped is to keep all of your systems as up-to-date as possible.
- If you suspect you have a virus or clicked on something you shouldn’t have, alert IT right away at CONfirstname.lastname@example.org
In our next Cybersecurity post, we will delve into external threats and what the College of Nursing is doing to mitigate them.