NCSAM: Stop. Think. Connect.

NCSAM NCSAM

National Cyber Security Awareness Month’s (NCSAM’s) theme of “Stop, Think, Connect” reminds us to be cautious before doing anything online that could jeopardize our online security.  As you may know, the digital connection and use of apps/services to perform our daily tasks requires the sharing of confidential and personal information. How we protect that data and where and how we allow use of that data is critical to our personal safety.


According to a survey conducted by usa.gov/identity-theft, 54% of Americans are seriously concerned about loss of personal and financial information. 61% percent believe they, personally, are responsible for their online safety and security, and 90% want to learn more about practicing safe online habits.

With mobile technology, the world is at our fingertips. We can bank, shop, and conduct business from anywhere at any time. Friends and family digitally connect to one another via social media. Our homes become a smart home that allows us to digitally control lights, air quality or temperature, and manage home security functions.

As you integrate and adopt digital mobility into your work and life, we ask that you:

  1. STOP: make sure security measures are in place;
  2. THINK: about the online consequences of your actions; and
  3. CONNECT: enjoy your online experience.

For more information regarding the "Stop, Think, Connect" program, please visit stopthinkconnect.org and staysafeonline.org.  


If you have a computer, mobile device, email address, online accounts, and/or engage in any online activities, your information has tremendous value to cyber criminals. As long as you are connected to the Internet, you are at risk.

Fortunately, you can help protect yourself from cyber attacks by taking the following steps:
  • Educate yourself on the various types of cyber crime.
  • Create complex passwords and utilize multi-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Think before you click unsolicited or unknown links – if it looks suspicious, it probably is.
  • Be selective about the information you share with others.
  • Ensure you connect to the Internet on a secure WiFi network – avoid public or “free” WiFi from places like airports or coffee shops.
  • Keep your devices up-to-date with the most current operating system and antivirus software.
  • Always be cautious about what you do online, where you visit, and what you post to public social networks.

The information below demonstrates the many different ways cybercriminals can make money by hacking you:
  • Usernames and Passwords: Cybercriminals can install programs on your computer that capture all your keystrokes, including your username and password. That information is then used to log into your online accounts, such as: your bank or financial accounts, where they can steal or transfer your money; your iCloud, Box, Google Drive, or Dropbox account where they can access all your sensitive data; your Amazon, Walmart, or other online shopping accounts where they can purchase goods in your name; and/or your UPS or FedEx accounts, where they ship stolen goods in your name.

  • Botnet: Your computer can be connected to an entire network of hacked computers controlled by the cybercriminal. This network, called a botnet, can then be used for activities like sending out spam to millions of people or even launching Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, which attempt to block an important online service such as banking.

  • Email Harvesting: Criminals can read your email for information they can sell to others, such as: all the names, email addresses, and phone numbers from your contact list; and/or all of your personal or work email.

  • Extortion: Hackers can take over your computer and demand money. Some examples include: taking pictures of you with your computer camera and demanding payment to destroy or not release the pictures; encrypting (locking) all of the data on your computer and demanding payment to decrypt it; and/or tracking all websites you visit and threatening to publish them.

  • Financial: Cybercriminals can scan your system looking for valuable information, such as your credit card information, your tax records and past filings, and/or your financial investments and retirement plans. This information may be sold on the black market and often results in identity theft!

  • Identity Hijacking: Identity thieves can steal your online identity, such as: your email accounts; your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts; and/or your Skype or other instant messaging accounts.

  • Virtual Goods: Bad actors can copy and steal any virtual goods you have and sell them to others. Some examples include your online gaming characters, gaming goods, or gaming currencies; and/or any software licenses, operating system license keys, or gaming licenses.

  • Web Server: Criminals can turn your computer into a web service, which they can use to carry out malicious activities such as hosting phishing websites to steal other people’s usernames and passwords; hosting attacking tools that will hack people’s computers; and/or distributing child pornography, pirated videos, or stolen music.

If something seems odd or suspicious, it is most likely an attack. Common sense is your best defense!

If you have any questions about cybersecurity or want to learn more about how to stay safe online, please contact University of Miami's Information Security Office (ISO) at: ciso@miami.edu.


Click here or on the image below to download UMIT's NCSAM poster:

Feel free to print this poster and share it with your colleagues/peers!