Events and Initiatives Inspire Students and Others to 'Share the Responsibility' of Data Protection

October 7, 2014
open laptop with gnome figure peeking from behind screen

Wellesley College has signed on as a Champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2014, joining more than 300 colleges and universities, businesses, government agencies, associations, and nonprofit organizations in a growing global effort to promote online safety awareness.

Observed every October since 2004, National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure everyone has the resources needed to stay safer and more secure online. As an official Champion, Wellesley affirms its commitment to cyber security and online safety.

Donna Volpe Strouse, Wellesley’s information security officer, leads the NCSAM effort here. “The official theme for NCSAM 2014 is ‘our shared responsibility.’ I think this is very appropriate for the way we think about data security here at Wellesley,” notes Volpe Strouse. “Library & Technology Services is dedicated to exercising data security best practices in order to maintain the security and privacy of sensitive College data. However, even the most cutting-edge encryption tools don’t work if a password gets into the wrong hands. Each of us plays a critical role in protecting College data.”

As part of Wellesley’s NCSAM efforts, Library & Technology Services (LTS) is sponsoring a number of events and initiatives in October to help increase our community’s awareness about data security.


The featured event is a BOW-sponsored presentation and book signing by John Sileo, an award-winning author, trusted advisor, and leading speaker on successfully managing privacy and reputation exposure. He is CEO of The Sileo Group, which advises clients like 60 Minutes, Blue Cross, the FDIC, Homeland Security, the Pentagon, Pfizer, USA Today, and organizations of all sizes on defending privacy, profits, and reputation. His presentation, “Data Spies, Human Hackers & Internet Attackers: Bulletproof Your Privacy & Profits,” highlights current data privacy trends as well as practical, tactical solutions.

His talk will be held on Friday, October 24 from 10 to 11 a.m. at Babson College in the Olin Hall Auditorium, with a book sale and signing immediately following the presentation. Food and beverage will be provided. Transportation from Wellesley to Babson will also be available; shuttle vans will leave the Campus Center beginning at 9:30 a.m., and will return following the presentation at 11, and then again at 11:30 for those wishing to stay for the book signing. RSVP: please click here. This event is open to all faculty, staff, and students.

Two separate showings of award-winning documentary film Code 2600 by producer Jeremy Zerechak. Code 2600 documents advances in technology over the past century, highlighting our expanding connectivity and the corresponding increase in hacking and threats to our personal privacy.

Screenings will be Tuesday, October 21, 12:30-2 p.m. in Jewett Auditorium; and Wednesday, October 29, 7-8:30 p.m. in the Margaret Clapp Library Lecture Room. The film is open to all faculty, staff, and students. Attendees will be entered into a raffle to win a free iPad Mini and also receive a security-themed giveaway.


Students who complete the SANS “Securing the Human” online security training by October 31 will be entered into a second raffle for an iPad mini.

To increase student awareness of physical safety of computing equipment, LTS student employees (a.k.a “LTS Security Gnomes”) will be patrolling the libraries and other public spaces on campus to watch for unattended laptops and cellphones. When they find one, they will leave a "Security Alert" card with helpful security resources. When they spot someone practicing good physical security, they will leave a "Security Kudos" card along with a security gnome (printed on the 3-D printer in Clapp).

Cyber Security Tips of the Week will be posted on the digital signs on campus throughout the month of October.

On its web pages, the LTS tech support team offers more details about NCSAM events on campus as well as additional security resources.

About National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Now in its 11th year, NCSAM aims to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to raise awareness about cyber security and thus increase the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. Since President Obama’s proclamation establishing NCSAM in 2004, it has been formally recognized by Congress; federal, state, and local governments; and leaders from industry and academia.

Further, in 2010, President Obama introduced STOP. THINK. CONNECT. It is a global cybersecurity awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online. The campaign was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, nonprofits, and government organizations with leadership provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). The Department of Homeland Security leads the federal engagement in the campaign.

The campaign's message is simple: Take a few safety precautions, understand the consequences of behaviors, and enjoy the Internet with more peace of mind. Here are just some of the tips from STOP. THINK. CONNECT. to help people stay safer and more secure online:

  • Keep a clean machine: Keep software up-to-date on all Internet-connected devices to reduce risk of infection and malware.

  • Get two steps ahead: Switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication wherever offered to make your accounts more secure.

  • When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, posts, and texts are often the ways cybercriminals try to steal your information or infect your devices.

  • Think before you app: Understand and be comfortable with what information (e.g., location, your contacts, social networking profiles, etc.) the app would access and share before you download it.

  • Use a better password: Improve your defenses by making passwords that you can remember, are hard to guess, preferably use numbers, capital and lowercase letters, and symbols and are different for all accounts.

  • Post only about others what you would have them post about you: It’s the golden rule on the Internet, too.

Learn more about National Cyber Security Awareness Month on Stay Safe Online or the Department of Homeland Security websites. You can also follow and use the #NCSAM hashtag on Twitter throughout the month of October.