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Cybersecurity Awareness Month | MU Information Technology


What is Cybersecurity and Why is it Important to Me?

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting your data and devices from being attacked. Cybersecurity should be important to everyone because we all have personal and sensitive data online. Check out this quick video from Mercer IT's Executive Director, Denise Rogers, to learn more about cybersecurity and how to protect your data.

If you are interested in learning more about cybersecurity, visit the National Cyber Security Alliance website at


Turn on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

  • Multi-Factor, Two-Factor, Two-Step...Whatever you call it use it!
    • Mercer IT supports the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) on its systems as an extra level of security for employees and students.
    • To keep your personal data safe, use multi-factor authentication with all your personal applications, too (e.g., banking, email).


    Use Strong Passwords & Password Managers

    Passwords are your first line of defense against cybercriminals and databreaches. We have compiled a list of password security best practices to help.

    • UNIQUE, LONG, and COMPLEX! In today's world it is imperative to have long, unique, and complex passwords for all of your accounts. One easy way to do that is by using fun, creative passphrases such as Giv3Th3mTh3Claw$&!
    • Make IT Count! Every one of your passwords should be at least 15 characters.
    • It's Not Always Nice to Share! Never use your Mercer passphrase on other websites or applications.
    • Don't Take a Pass on Password Managers! Although it is simple, using the same password for most of your accounts is NOT safe. But remembering a multitude of passwords is not feasible. That is why is is a good idea not to pass on free and easy-to-use password managers. Then you just need to remember the one password that unlocks your password manager vault.


    Update Your Software

    Software updates are released to fix programming bugs and security vulnerabilities. It is important to stay updated.

    • Stay Updated, Stay Protected! Mercer computers have Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager installed so that IT can keep programs up to date.
    • Stop Clicking "Remind Me Later" If you are prompted to install updates for any software, including the software on mobile devices we recommend that you install the updates as soon as possible to minimize security risk. Most programs and devices have an automatic update feature that will help keep your systems secure if enabled.


    Recognize Email & QR Code Phishing

    Cybercriminals like to go phishing, but you don’t have to take the bait. The following are hallmarks of a phishing scam:

    • Impersonation: These emails may appear as if they are from a reputable source such as Mercer or your bank.
    • Suspicious web links: The linked sites typically ask you to enter personal information, usernames, and passwords.
    • Threats: Phishing often involves threats to disable your account if you don't provide the requested information.
    • Poor spelling and grammarThese errors help the emails evade junk mail filters.
    • Malicious QR Codes: Think Before You Scan! As cybercriminals evolve they try to find other ways to trick you in to sharing your personal information by using QR codes. Follow the tips in this document to keep your data safe.

    Watch this quick video to learn more.


    Here is an example of a typical phishing email. Review this information and then Test Yourself! Take this Phishing IQ Test to see how well you can spot a phish.

    Here is an example of a typical QR code phishing email. Review this document for more information on spotting a suspicious QR code.


    If you are unsure about something - Report it!

    The IT Help Desk is always willing to review any email, website, program, etc. to help determine if there is a security risk. If you suspect you have been a victim of a cybercrime or mistakenly provided personal information report it to IT for information on what to do next!

    For more information regarding ways to protect yourself, visit the Security Best Practices section of the IT website.
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