As National Cyber Security Awareness Month came to an end, students in Professor Teju Herath’s Information Assurance course shone a spotlight on important cyber security topics.
On Thursday, Oct. 31, Herath’s students displayed their class projects along the Canadian Tire Bridge at Brock University with the goal of raising awareness on cyber security issues. This was the fourth annual poster competition, created in conjunction with the “Think before you click” campaign led by Brock’s Central Information Technology Services (ITS) department.
“This event presents students with experiential learning opportunities as they take their in-class knowledge and apply it to the real world,” says Herath. “I hope this project makes my students more engaged in cyber security and that their posters drive the public to reflect on their online activities.”
The posters were judged by Vice President of IT Services David Cullum, Manager of ITS and Physical Space John D’Amico, Goodman Accreditations Coordinator Alyssa Freeman, and IT Security and Infrastructure Specialist Daniel Garcia. The ransomware poster created by Alyssa Blanchard, Yash Kapadia, Eric Li, David Obaji and Xuanhui Zhang placed first in the competition.
Kapadia compares ransomware to a home invasion.
“Imagine you’re locked out of your house and there’s a burglar inside requesting you to pay a ransom in order to regain access,” he said. “This can happen to your computer as well. Your personal files, documents, photos and financial information are being held hostage by a stranger.”
The winning group stresses the importance of downloading antivirus software, using firewalls and generating awareness around cyber security in order to avoid ransomware and other cyber attacks.
“Statistics show that even Brock faculty, staff and students are affected by cyber threats,” Herath said. “We may think we know what we are doing online, but often times we don’t think about the long-term implications.”
There are many easy and cost-effective ways to avoid cyber scams. Professor Herath suggests the following:
- Don’t share information online if you don’t have to. Once the information is out there, it doesn’t go away.
- Keep your operating systems and all software up-to-date.
- Have different categories of passwords. You can use password managers if you find it difficult to remember your passwords.
- Clear your browser history/cache ever so often, especially if you’re doing online transactions.
- Try not to use public Wi-Fi networks if you don’t need to. These networks are most often are not secure. If you do have to use public Wi-Fi networks, there are many affordable Virtual Private Network (VPN) services available.