MNSU and Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Maria Ly
Staff Writer

Minnesota State University, Mankato took part in National Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October to raise awareness around cybersecurity issues across campus.

The Informational Technology Solutions Center and their Information Security team has been hosting National Cybersecurity Awareness Month for the past four years to educate students, staff and faculty about how to be safe and protect themselves from cyber threats.

Michael Menne, the Chief Information Security Officer, said, “Cybersecurity is all around us. You don’t go through a single day without using the computer, or the internet, being on a mobile phone, on social media – cybersecurity is everywhere.”

First developed by the Department of Homeland Security, National Cybersecurity Awareness month is a collaborative effort between the government and industry to raise awareness about cybersecurity and ensure Americans have the resources to remain safe and secure online.

This year’s goal according to the DHS is to “emphasize personal accountability and stress the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace” with a focus on key areas such as citizen privacy, consumer devices, and ecommerce security.

This year, the ITS center at MNSU is partaking in this national goal by bringing awareness to students, staff and faculty through a variety of communication efforts such as online, through emails, fliers, etc.

According to ITS’s webpage, “Cybersecurity is all about being knowledgeable on and attentive to the possibilities of online cyber threats. Being aware is only one piece of the puzzle, though!”

The biggest challenge students, faculty and staff face when it comes to cyber threats at MNSU is phishing.

Phishing can be done through a variety of ways such as emails, websites, text messages, and phone calls that aim to steal information such as username and passwords, banking information, medical records, etc.

ITS hopes to protect the university from phishing with their advanced email protections and spreading awareness to students on how to report phishing.

There is now an option to report phishing on Microsoft Outlook, where students, staff and faculty can report suspicious emails through the “report the message” button located on the top corner.

Besides reporting phishing, there are a variety of ways students, staff and faculty can protect themselves from cyber threats. Keeping your software up to date, making your passwords complex, and keeping track of your devices are all ways one can be secure.

The ITS recently hosted an event for students to use all the information they’ve learned about cybersecurity, with their cybersecurity escape room this Saturday. During this event, students were put in groups and tasked to outsmart and stop a spy from stealing university information.

ITS hopes students continue using this information throughout their day to day lives. Menne hopes to continue cybersecurity awareness efforts throughout the year and invites students who have questions to stop by the ITS center.

“Pay attention to our website, pay attention to all the emails we send out. We’re very proactive about security, we take it very seriously,” said Menne. “We partner with the state systems office to do security as well, to make sure people are safe. We don’t expect everyone to be cybersecurity experts, that’s our job, but we do hope that people learn a little more about it, to keep themselves safe.”

To learn more information on cybersecurity, please visit

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