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Risky Business


Tips and tricks for securing information


Cyber Security Awareness Month – Week One

By Daniela Cooper, on 5 October 2022

It is that time of year again, it’s Cyber Security Awareness Month! This year the topics will focus on how to stay safe online using four key behaviours:

  • Enabling Multi-factor Authentication
  • Using Strong Passwords and a Password Manager
  • Updating Outdated Software
  • Recognising and Reporting Phishing

We will be giving away Amazon vouchers again this year so read on to find out how you can win one!

Week One – Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

It is always a good idea to use multi-factor authentication (MFA) when it is offered as an option on your account. MFA adds an extra layer of security, so for example, if your password was compromised, the attacker would not be able to gain access to your account.

"Always take advantage of MFA when it is offered"

MFA increases security by requiring two or more pieces of information during the authentication process:

  • Something you know – like a password, PIN, or passphrase.
  • Something you have – like a real-time, unique verification code. These authentication codes are usually generated by a mobile app or security token, or they are delivered to you via a text message.
  • Something you are – like a fingerprint, iris scan, or voice pattern.

Why should you always opt for MFA:

  • It’s easy to add – whilst you do need to take some action to enable MFA, it shouldn’t be difficult and most sites provide simple step-by-step instructions explaining when to expect an MFA prompt and how to complete a login.
  • It’s easy to use – regardless of the technology behind the additional MFA factor(s), MFA add just a few seconds to your login process, and the extra seconds are worth it!
  • It’s far more secure than a password alone – cyber criminals have access to billions of stolen usernames and passwords on underground forums. So what if the only thing standing in between a criminal and your data, finances, and files is a compromised password? MFA helps to limit the damage that can be done if an attacker steals (or buys) account credentials.

See these short videos on Multi-Factor Authentication from Proofpoint:


Be in with a chance to win a £20 Amazon voucher by answering the following question:

What is an example of two pieces of information that can be used for Multi-Factor Authentication?

Send all entries to isg@ucl.ac.uk with the subject line: Cyber Security Awareness Month – Week One.

Entries will only be accepted from UCL email addresses.


*Thanks go to Proofpoint for helping to provide some of the content for this year’s Cyber Security Awareness Month.


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