I have recently attended several briefings on the cybersecurity fallout from the current Russia-Ukraine conflict in eastern Europe. That event has resulted in a lot of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) about the online safety of people worldwide. It is certainly true that cyberattacks have played a role in the conflict, but cyberattacks are present every day. There are three general areas that you can concentrate on to protect yourself and your cyber assets.
- Phishing - Be aware and be skeptical of email you receive, particularly from unknown senders. The bad actors will try to fool you by using well-known personal names on the accounts they are using. They may also copy signature blocks, UNI logos, and other details to make their message appear official. Check the actual email address of the sender. Hover over links with your mouse to see where they are going. If it's not uni.edu or another well-known site, think again and don't click the link.
- Passwords - Passwords are hard and not really sufficient on their own today. They should be unique from one site to another and should be more than a simple word or two. Length trumps complexity. Even though "thequickbrownfoxjumpedoverthelazydog" has several issues and shouldn't be used, it is far better than "R3(s4*#1" for a password. Consider a password manager to help. It can generate lengthy unique random passwords per site and remember them for you.
- Patching - For UNI-managed devices, IT tries to take care of this for you but the process does take your cooperation and time to allow the patches to be deployed and made active. For your personal devices, patching is on you. Allow the operating system and applications to apply updates automatically. And when Windows or Adobe or Office tells you their are patches available, let those updates happen. If you can't do that immediately, okay, but do it soon, within a day or two.