Best practices to keep your online information safe

September 29, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — October marks National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a nationwide initiative to raise awareness for the importance of cybersecurity. As data breaches and other cybercrimes continue to make national news headlines, it's more important than ever to be aware of potential threats to your devices and to take precautions to keep yourself safe online.


The Office of Information Security (OIS) protects the confidentiality, integrity and availability of Penn State's online information assets from unauthorized use, access, disclosure, modifications, damage or loss, and ongoing cyberthreats. Protection of that information remains a partnership between the Penn State community and OIS.


OIS recommends the following best practices to keep your information safe:


1. Choose your password wisely


Don't use easily found information (phone number, street address, etc.) and use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Never use the same password on more than one account (like home, school and work).


2. Use anti-virus software and automate updates


All Penn State students, faculty and staff members have access to Symantec Endpoint Protection at no additional cost for personal and work computers. Set up automatic updates so you'll be protected from the latest threats. For more information, go to


3. Be wary of emails asking for personal information


Phishing emails try to trick you into logging in to your account. If you doubt an email's authenticity, don't click on it, and report it at


4. Protect your valuable work


Back it up regularly. It's much easier to restore from a backup than to start from scratch.


5. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for an extra layer of protection


2FA requires you to send an additional access code to confirm a login and will notify you if an unauthorized party attempts to access your account. Penn State faculty and staff members are required to enable 2FA, but students can also benefit from this extra protection. For more information, visit


For more information about the latest cybersecurity threats and tips to make yourself CyberSMART, visit  

Last Updated October 05, 2017