From MGA President, Dr. Christopher Blake:
As we begin a new semester today and our work takes on new levels of activity, I am sharing with you a highly important message from the USG that Chancellor Wrigley has asked presidents bring to the attention of all faculty and staff regarding cybersecurity and the risk to our institution from attacks and intrusions.
Recently, a number of state agencies have suffered from ransomware attacks and cyber intrusions. Public higher education remains a top target for cyber-attackers who attempt to disrupt our operations by subverting our processes, people and technology.
We all need to be hyper-vigilant in this environment. Bad actors are looking for any opportunity to infiltrate state systems and hijack critical data. Every University System of Georgia institution, including Middle Georgia State University, should expect to be targeted. No system is safe from cybercriminals, but we can follow these simple steps to mitigate risk:
• Always foster a security-conscious workplace environment. It only takes one employee to open an infected attachment, turn over login credentials, or fail to safeguard files for our organization to be compromised.
• Review your existing cybersecurity polices. Put those policies into practice and regularly check to make sure you are in compliance. Employees are monitored for compliance. If you are a manager, please remind your employees to stay alert for possible cyberthreats.
• Stop. Think. Click. Before opening email attachments or clicking on links. Stop, even if the message appears to come from someone you know. Think about the message context and confirm unexpected or unusual attachments with the sender by contacting them directly, not replying to the email in question. Only when you are confident the message is legitimate, then Click.
Remember, when receiving an email, ask yourself:
o Who sent the email?
o Do you know the sender?
o Does the email address look odd?
o Did you expect to receive an attachment or link?
• Report suspicious events immediately. Although the University System of Georgia Cybersecurity department continuously monitors for cyber threats, every employee is responsible to be mindful about potential issues and to report unusual situations. Participate in the annual mandatory cybersecurity training.
A quick response is critical to limiting our exposure. At MGA please contact Ms. Tina Ward (tel: 478-471-2860)to report suspicious events. In the event you need to contact Tina, please initially call her at the number provided, since emailing may not be possible if you are the victim of a cyberattack.
• Protect passwords and use multifactor authentication (MFA). Secure your passwords and do not use the same password for work and personal activities. Use MFA for personal business where possible.
I genuinely appreciate your efforts to keep the information entrusted to us safe and secure. October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and at that time, you will hear more from our OTR about how to ensure we are all cyber-safe.