Benchmarks Online October 2018 banner: Is something bugging your computer?

"National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is commemorating its 15th year as an annual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. NCSAM 2018 is a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online, while increasing the resiliency of the Nation during cyber-threats." ~ U.S. Office of Homeland Security

Cyber bug at the President's Sack Lunch Oct. 3, 2018

This year's focus: Stop.Think.Connect.

Happy 15th Annual National Cyber Security Awareness MonthOctober is spooky enough with Halloween ghosts, ghouls and goblins, but add a cyber bug and that's really scary. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is observed to remind us how to stay safe and secure from real—and maybe even scarier—threats, such as malicious software, scammers and computer bugs! Cyber criminals do not discriminate; they target vulnerable computer systems regardless of whether they are part of a large corporation, a small business, or belong to a home user. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility in which all Americans have a role to play.

This year's national campaign has four key messages.

  • Strengthen our cybersecurity ecosystem
  • Cybersecurity is a cross-cutting, cross-sector challenge, so we must tackle it together
  • Increase and strengthen the cybersecurity workforce across all sectors
  • Secure critical infrastructure from cyber threats

Security Awareness for the 21st CenturyNetwork Connection: Securing the Human

By Philip Baczewski, executive director, University IT

Most cybersecurity experts agree that the number one vulnerability leading to IT system and data breaches are the people who are using or have responsibility for managing those systems. It's not a coincidence that UNT's mandated employee security training is entitled "Securing the Human." As more of our business and communications occur on computer networks, it is unfortunately natural that some will attempt to gain an advantage (monetary or otherwise) by breaching those networks and the systems they connect. The easiest path is via social engineering — that is, tricking humans into divulging information that would and should normally remain private. Read more.

When the "IT" hits the fan, who ya gonna call?

Grace Hopper's note in the log bookWhen Grace Hopper recorded "the first computer bug" in the Harvard Mark II computer log book on Sept. 9, 1947, she documented a moth stuck between the relay contacts in the computer. While it may be the earliest known record of an actual bug being found, more than 71 years later, a computer bug now describes almost anything wrong with software, hardware and the user's abilities.

You know you should back up your data, your passwords should be strong, and you never click on "phishy" links, right? After all, everyone eats cyber security for breakfast these days. But at home or work, when something is bugging your computer, mobile device or even the internet in your refrigerator, do you know what to do? Do you know who is on your cyber security team?

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Who is on Your Cyber Security Team?

You are—the individual

Every time you access the Internet, you face choices that can affect your security. Among these choices include which friends to accept, what links to click, what websites to access, and which wireless networks to join. The decisions you make online not only affect your security, but the security of the nation as well. Everyone has a part in keeping the internet as safe as possible.

What can you do? Start with three words: Stop.Think.Connect. Before you click on that attachment, stop. Think about the sender, the source, the consequences. If you have doubts, do not proceed. Connect only when you are certain about your next step. Help your friends, children, parents and the whole family understand these steps. Have discussions at home and at work about cyber security—keep it at the top of your mind before you connect, configure and go!

Log in and check out the LyndaCampus topics about cybersecurity: security for cloud services, and much more.

If you make a mistake, if your computer is having problems, if you're worried about what to do next, you have various options. At UNT, we have teams of IT professionals throughout the colleges and departments. Read below for more about the cadre behind UNT computing.

Computer Virus Protection ReminderUniversity IT Help Desk

If you think something is "phishy" or your email is having a problem, contact the UIT Help Desk, your on-campus resource for questions about IT-related issues. Sharukh Mithani and Katrina Flachsbarth head the team of technicians who answer hundreds of calls each month from questions about passwords, how to forward emails and much more. You can access Help Desk information by phone, via email or the website or in person. For assistance about how to download free virus protection, help desk technicians offer in-person assistance for all students and employees.

UIT Help Desk |
940-565-2324 | Sage Hall, Room 330


With a newsletter every quarter, the team in Administrative IT Services, works to inform its clients with information and articles about information technology, including cyber security and safe IT practices. The AITS team also provides desktop and user support to the administrative departments and staff members. This covers configuration, deployment, security and ongoing management. Support also extends to the labs and public kiosks in each department. Do you know your department IT specialist? Read more.

UNT System ITSS Information Security

The mission of the ITSS information security team is to assist and collaborate with the administrative, academic and student communities of UNT institutions to help assess, implement and maintain information security needs. Questions, comments, or incident reports should be directed to or 940-369-7800. Read more.

Annual Cyber Security Awareness Training

Complete your UNT Computer Security Awareness Training by Nov. 13, 2018.One of the most important aspects of cyber security is to ensure a safe working environment for all of us is to keep employees well informed and trained. All employees must complete this year’s updated security awareness training by Nov. 14, 2018.

Full-time employees are required to complete training. New employees hired after Jan. 1, 2018, who completed the training during on-boarding, are not required to complete training. Although part-time employees are not required to complete the training, we encourage you to do so. Full-time employees who do not complete the training by Nov. 14 at 11:59 p.m., are at risk of losing access to computer resources.

The 2018 online security awareness training can be accessed through the EIS portal. After logging on, click on the link in the Information Security Training section.

The training includes 12, short-video courses, which are two to five minutes each, so employees easily can complete the training during their work hours. Each video is followed by one assessment question.

More information about security policies and security awareness training is available online. Questions can be submitted to

UNT College of Computer Science and Engineering

Graduating cybersecurity experts is the College of Computer Science and Engineering provides educational programs that  are high quality, academically challenging and career-enriching by maintaining a balance between theoretical and experimental aspects of information technology, as well as a balance between software and hardware concepts. The degrees further seek to provide curricula that serve the citizens and industrial organizations in the United States and Texas in general and those in North Texas in particular. Read more about the CSE undergraduate cybersecurity certificate.

UNT professor working on new cyber security research grantsHassan Takabi

Oct 9, 2018—Hassan Takabi, UNT College of Engineering assistant professor, recently more than $1 million in two grants from the National Science Foundation.

The first grant is for $15,974 and will be spent to develop a computer defense against malicious insiders who leverage basic computer access into unauthorized computer entry. Takabi is designing his system to supplement access control systems. It won’t just lead malicious users to fake files; it will also allow them to be traced to their point of origin. Insider threats can then be identified and their access restricted.

The second grant is for $499,581 and includes Eduardo Blanco, a faculty member in the UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Read more.

U.S. Department of Defense: a new plan aims for a win in cyberspace

The arrival of the digital age also has created challenges for the Department of Defense. The open, transnational, and decentralized nature of the internet that the department seeks to protect creates significant vulnerabilities. Competitors deterred from engaging the United States and its allies in an armed conflict now are using cyberspace operations to steal technology, disrupt the government and commerce, challenge the democratic processes and threaten critical infrastructure. Read more.

World Cyber Security Congress

With more than 600 attendees from 89 countries and more than 100 speakers, national security agents, bankers, CEOs, data scientists and many industry heavyweights gather annually for a conference and exhibition. At the London meeting in April 2018, the agenda focused on new threats, new solutions and new partnerships. The gathering provides a platform for solution providers to be positioned in line with senior global security professionals offering them very targeted thought leadership opportunities across a high-level conference. Black Hat, DEF CON, RSA, the Atlantic Council and others also host international conferences on cyber engagement and security. Locally, the 14th annual SecureWorld Dallas recently took place in Plano, Texas.


After riches and jail, Belarusian ex-hacker's life lesson? 'Don't steal from Americans. Ever'

ZDNet talks to a former infamous hacker whose "mostly true" book offers a glimpse into the minds of Eastern Europe's cybercriminals, by Andrada Fiscutean. Read more.

IoT security: Follow these rules to protect your users from hackers, gadget makers told

New guidelines for IoT makers have been published. But will device manufacturers pay attention? Read more.

Microsoft releases fix for data deletion bug

Microsoft announced that it has identified the underlying cause of the bug that deleted data for some customers who were among the first to install the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809). The fix is rolling out to members of the Windows Insider Program first. Read more.

Dumbest Passwords People Still Use


Editor's Note: Please note that information in each edition of Benchmarks Online is likely to change or degrade over time, especially the links to various websites. For current information on a specific topic, search the UNT website, UNT's UIT Help Desk or the world wide web. Email your questions and comments to the UNT University Information Technology Department or call 940-565-2324.