The Four P's

Phishing, Patching, Passwords, and Protect Your Devices are our main pillars of cybersecurity knowledge. Use the Four P's as a reminder to help you protect all your devices and stay on top of cybercrime before it hits.


Phishing is fraudulent activity including malicious emails, websites, text messages, and phone calls that aim to steal your information. Phishing attacks are quick and easy for cybercriminals to launch.

Report Phishing

Phishing Tips: 

  • Verify the sender. Cybercriminals may create urgency in the message or they may disguise themselves as someone familiar, such as your university or bank.
  • Don’t open links or attachments. Email attachments are notorious for containing malicious software, and links can take you to malicious websites. Delete any messages from unknown senders with attachments or links.
  • Don’t share personal information. Legitimate companies and organizations will not ask you for your personal information (passwords, credit cards, Social Security numbers, etc.) through an email. Always take caution to protect this information.


A patch is a software update that provides fixes and improvements, allowing devices to be protected from potential security threats. Old apps and operating systems are easy for cybercriminals to take advantage of.

Patching Tips: 

  • Keep software up to date. Your computer, apps, and antivirus programs all need to be regularly updated. Try turning on auto-updates so you don't have to worry!
  • Use only official app stores. Stores like the App Store, Microsoft Store, and Google Play verify the legitimacy and safety of apps for you. 
  • Be careful of free apps. Make sure to check their legitimacy and the permissions they ask for before downloading.


Your passwords act as the keys to your devices and accounts, which contain your personal information. You can be at risk if your passwords are not secure and protected.

Password Tips:

  • Enable multi-factor authentication. It's a powerful security tool for account protection, and it's available on many websites and social media accounts.
  • Don’t share your passwords. Avoid writing them down, never give them out, and don’t reuse them. 
  • Use complex passwords or passphrases. Making passwords lengthy (at least 8 characters) and using a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols is a good way to ensure that they can’t be guessed – but make sure it’s something you can remember! 
  • Lock all of your devices with a password. This is a simple way to create a barrier between your personal information and the outside world. 

Protect Your Devices

Your computers and smart phones contain personal information and web activity, so keep them accounted for! Smart phones are usually the least protected of all devices, which makes them a target.

Device Protection Tips:

  • Keep track of your devices. Don’t misplace your devices or leave them unattended for others to take – the information on them is just as valuable as the technology itself. 
  • Don't forget about your old devices. Old devices may no longer be in use, but they can still be storing personal information. Don't leave them laying around! 
  • Correctly dispose of University technology. If you have a University device that you no longer need, contact IT Solutions to have it scrubbed of information and recycled or passed on to a new user.