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3 Quick Tips to Stay Secure

October 15, 2020

A laptop and documents secured with a lock.

Article at a Glance

  • If it's been a while, reset your NetID password with a long passphrase.
  • Use Biola's VPN when traveling or working from home to secure your internet connection.
  • Regularly update your apps and restart your computer.

In case you missed it, October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month! To observe NCSAM, Biola’s Information Security team is reviewing three easy steps you can take today to become more security-minded and protect yourself from security threats.

#1. Refresh Your Passphrase

Your Biola NetID and password grant access to nearly every tool you use at the university, including your email. When was the last time you changed your NetID passphrase? If it’s been a few years, it’s time for a refresh.

First, Change your NetID Password on MyAccount.

When it comes to passwords, length trumps complexity. A strong passphrase is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember. Add symbols, made-up words, or additional complexity for extra security. For example:

  • Whereismycovfefe?
  • #IsengardBocceSquad
  • JesterHagDeliciousDust

Once your new passphrase is set, don’t share it with anyone, ever.

#2. Use Biola’s VPN

Whenever you’re traveling, working remotely, or on an unsecure WiFi, you should safeguard your WiFi with VPN. VPNs encrypt your internet activity and simulate being on Biola’s campus.

Biola’s VPN is available to all employees using Cisco AnyConnect. Follow our instructions to install Cisco AnyConnect on your device:

#3. Update Your Apps...then Restart Your Computer

It’s very tempting to click “remind me later” when your computer prompts you for important updates, but application updates are absolutely necessary for protecting your data.

Attackers take advantage of vulnerabilities in applications to access your data or your computer. These vulnerabilities are usually discovered and patched by software developers. To ensure that your apps are protected, you need to run software updates!

You should also restart your computer at least once every week as a part of your work routine. In 2020, our IT System Administrators reviewed 19,249 vulnerabilities. Of these, 1,738 were identified as threats to Biola, and immediately remediated — But you won’t receive these fixes if you don’t restart your machine!