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Building a more cyber security-focused workforce

On a typical week, 350,000 suspicious emails bound for WSU inboxes are blocked by Proofpoint, which provides email protection services and illustrates the importance of being aware of the threats posed by dubious emails.

Over the course of a year, more than 18 million emails either with suspect links, attempts to capture personal or protected information, as well as other threats, are kept out of employee’s inboxes. Even still, some hazardous emails make it through, with an average of about 145 emails per day reported to abuse@wsu.edu.

The sheer volume of email attacks directed at WSU personnel demonstrates how vital cyber security awareness is in the modern age, Matt Skinner, associate vice president for finance, said.

“We know that this university and our employees are being targeted, by those who can cause considerable financial and other types of serious harm,” Skinner said. “That’s why it’s vital that we not only take every precaution we can in terms of threat mitigation, but also help our community better recognize and respond to cyber security threats.”

Over the next few months a series of public service announcements with reminders about cyber security will be shared through the WSU Announcements section as a result of a collaboration between Information Security Services, the Office of Internal Audit, Finance and Administration and Risk Management. Two of the reminder notices, which include helpful tips and resources, already have been shared and more are being prepared.

Employees looking to bolster their cyber security awareness can visit Information Technology Service’s website.

WSU offers its faculty and staff some critical advice when dealing with a potentially fraudulent email:

  • Send any suspicious emails to abuse@wsu.edu
  • Pay attention to odd details in emails such as:
    • Improper use of English
    • Typos – or may have correct name of person but spelled wrong i.e. Molly instead of Mollie
    • Personal email domain names such as @gmail instead of a business domain OR .com instead of .org, etc.
    • Requesting passwords or banking info through email
  • Contact the Crimson Services Desk for technology-related issues

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