Ok, I’ll admit, I didn’t know it was Cyber Security Awareness Month until this came through my inbox today. Did you? It was so good and timely and relevant that I stole it (with permission!) from Toby Schmidt, our Data Security Officer at Winona State. In a brief email exchange with Toby, I asked him his view of Cyber Security. He said,

Cyber security is an ideal that may never be achieved but I know is the right thing to attempt.

He wrote this email for our WSU community. Please read. There are great links at the end.

As we dive deeper into cyber security awareness month, I’d like you to take a moment to contemplate the security of your family’s computing environment.  I’d like you to ask yourself if you are taking the appropriate measures to protect yourself and your family from both the digital and physical dangers of being always Internet connected.


Have you spoken to your children lately about online bullying?
Do they understand the importance of limiting access to their social media profiles?
Do they turn off location services when posting pictures?
Do they download and install “free” games that likely contain malware?
Do they wait to upload vacation pictures until after you return?


Do you understand the online dangers our children face?

The best thing you can do to protect your children and our students is to better understand the risks they face and to talk to them.   Sure, keeping your computer patched, antivirus up-to-date, and your home WiFi secure is important, but maintaining open lines of communication with your kids is paramount.   As a parent (or campus instructor) you are likely their best firewall.  I invite you to investigate a few enlightening videos and resources to bolster your understanding of these challenges and implore you to be their best firewall.

Here are a few resources you may find helpful to begin discussions.


Securing Your Kids — Video


Parenting.com — Top 10 To-Do’s

RSA Conference on Protecting Children from Online Threats — In depth Video


Creating a Cyber Secure Home — Poster