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We are very excited to be NCSAM Champions and to have the opportunity to share this information with you.

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Don’t get spooked by cybercriminals...Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.

Thursday marks the last day of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), but that should not mark the end of your security best practices. We are haunted by cyberattacks, breaches, and threats 365 days a year! So, we encourage you to keep your cyber-shields up!

Here is a quick review of important tips from previous weeks:

  • Never share your personal information!
  • Create strong passphrases. Giv3Th3mTh3Claw!$&
  • Don’t reuse passwords across important accounts.
  • Delete emails from unknown senders.
Cybersecurity is everyone’s business; it begins and ends with you! Protecting online data and resources is our shared responsibility. Together, we can Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. and that’s a National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) wrap. See you all safer next year!


Be a Champion - Create a Strong Password

Mercer IT is a National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) Champion and we want to make a champion out of you!

Let’s face it, we can no longer live without our screen time. Today, Americans spend an average of 12 hours per day in front of screens - this includes computers, tablets, smartphones and TVs. Each like, share and send continuously adds to a long trail of personal information online that hackers can exploit in any number of ways, making it more crucial than ever to protect yourself and your data.

At Mercer, we access everything from grades and classes to payroll and financial aid information. The first line of defense to protecting your data is your password(s). We have compiled a list of Security Best Practices to help you. Start by using this information to create a strong password, which will go a long way towards ensuring you don't become a victim.

  • Create a passphrase that is at least 15 characters long (for example Giv3Th3mTh3Claw!$&)
  • Use at least 1 uppercase letter, 1 lowercase letter, 1 number, and 1 special character (e.g. $, &, @, !)
  • Passwords should be unique to each login you have – personal and professional (do not use the same phrase in multiple locations)
  • Take advantage of multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra level of security

By following these Security Best Practices you are one step closer to becoming a champion and safeguarding your personal data. Keep up the good work!

Social Engineering

We used to only talk about Phishing! Today, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about all forms of social engineering. Social engineering is defined as the use of deception to manipulate individuals into providing personal information. Different types of social engineering include:

  • Phishing – when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via an email.
  • Smishing (text/sms phishing) – when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a text or SMS message.
  • Vishing (voice phishing) – when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a phone call.
The common theme and take away here is to NEVER SHARE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION!

All Mercer email accounts are monitored with Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). If you receive an email that seems suspicious, check the Security Alerts section of the IT website where we post the latest information on known scams. As always, you may contact the IT Help Desk for assistance.

To learn to spot a phish attempt and protect yourself from social engineering, visit the IT website and Stay Safe Online, or watch this quick video.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM)

A multi-layered and far-reaching campaign held annually in October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure all digital citizens have the resources needed to stay safer and more secure online while also protecting their personal information. NCSAM is designed to engage and educate public- and private-sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity in order to increase the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. Since the Presidential proclamation establishing NCSAM in 2004, the initiative has been formally recognized by Congress, federal, state and local governments and leaders from industry and academia. This united effort is necessary to maintain a cyberspace that is safer and more resilient and remains a source of tremendous opportunity and growth for years to come. For more information, visit the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) websites.


STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is the global online safety awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online. The message was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, nonprofits and government organizations with leadership provided by NCSA and the APWG. The campaign was launched in October of 2010 by the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Messaging Convention in partnership with the U.S. government, including the White House. NCSA, in partnership with the APWG, continues to lead the campaign. DHS leads the federal engagement in the campaign. Learn how to get involved by following STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ on Facebook and Twitter and visiting the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ website.




Information provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
(478) 301-7000