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Cybersecurity and Privacy Festival: Top Five Questions Answered

Monday, September 30, 2019

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and Stanford’s Information Security and Privacy Offices are partnering to host a Cybersecurity and Privacy Festival. Themed “Defending the Human,” the event features villages designed for key segments of the Stanford community along with interactive breakout sessions and skills-building workshops. 

What should you expect if you go? Festival co-planners Stacy Lee, an information security systems specialist, and Bhavya Gupta, an information security officer, answer questions about the event and discuss what we can all do to be safer online. Learn more and RSVP.

Why should people attend the festival, and what can they expect?

We live in a technocentric world that enables us to easily share and store information online. Unfortunately, these conveniences increasingly threaten our privacy and security. For this reason, we recognize that good cybersecurity habits must be incorporated into our personal lives and daily work.

The festival is a collaboration between Stanford Health Care, Stanford Children's Health, SLAC, and a number of academic and research partners. You’ll get to hear from experts and industry leaders, including Michael Tran Duff, Stanford’s chief information security officer and Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of Surveillance and Cybersecurity for the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, while you learn online security best practices, learn about free tools and services that Stanford offers, and hone valuable skills to protect your personal and professional data.

Why have so many departments and offices throughout Stanford come together to sponsor this event, and what can we learn if we attend?

Cyberattacks are pervasive and affect everyone at Stanford across all disciplines. In addition, Stanford is a recognized leader in applied cyber, cyber policy, and computer security research.

Schools and departments recognize cybersecurity and privacy is an important skill that staff, faculty, and students across Stanford need to understand. Awareness in these areas will help ensure everyone is doing their part to safeguard their online activities.

What kind of cybersecurity threats does Stanford face?

As a vast enterprise, Stanford is the target of all forms of cybersecurity threats, predominantly those motivated by financial gain. However, phishing — attempts to gain unauthorized access via email — remains the single greatest threat to our privacy and security today.

What can the typical computer user do to help protect Stanford systems and data from unauthorized access?

To protect Stanford’s systems and data, all community members should:

Learn about Stanford’s information privacy and security programs.

Do you have any advice for individual members of the campus community to protect themselves from cyber threats?

To protect personal privacy and security, here are some things we can all do:

  • Remain vigilant for phishing and other social engineering schemes
  • Keep your software up-to-date across all of your computing devices
  • Enable two-factor authentication for all online accounts that offer it
  • Use a password manager to generate strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts (Stanford offers one free to all faculty, staff, and students)
  • Proactively freeze your credit to protect against identity theft
  • Enroll in Stanford’s identity theft protection service (free to all benefits-eligible employees)
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