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October is cybersecurity month

Published on 27-09-2022
The whole month of October is dedicated worldwide to cybersecurity. This EU initiative aims to further educate citizens and businesses about digital security and digital threats. Also at our institution. UvA's and AUAS's Chief Information Security Officer, Roeland Reijers: "Security should be part of all areas of your work or study."
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What is the purpose of Security month?

Cyber incidents are on the rise in all industries, including education and research. Human actions are unfortunately often the cause: clicking on a phishing link, theft of a work phone or laptop or accidentally sending sensitive personal data to the wrong person.   

Reijers: "That is why we draw attention to Cybersecurity, or information security, throughout the month. We already do that throughout the year, but in a month like this it also comes in through the media, outside the institution. It is badly needed to create awareness, to name the risks around information security to people. You would think, after the many hacks and anyway with all the attention in the news, that 'everyone' would know that and how to work and study safely. But this is obviously not the case; many people have other interests, other activities. For many people, it remains a distant, and especially ICT show. What I hear a lot is "that won't happen to me", or "ICTS took care of that". Since the hackers are getting smarter, we as employees and organisation need to be too."

"And security should be part of all areas of your work, if you want to deliver quality. And we want that, don't we? If you are an expert in your own work or in your profession, information security and privacy should be part of it. Together, we will then ensure the information security of the entire institution and all data from important studies, among other things. If you do not know exactly how, contact the security and privacy officers in your department or faculty. They are your first point of contact."

For new students and staff: what does a CISO actually do?  

CISO stands for Chief Information Security Officer. CISO Roeland Reijers is the linchpin when it comes to UvA and AUAS information security. He is responsible for creating, implementing and supervising the information security policy. He also has a central role in managing all processes related to it. A mouthful, but what is it like in real life? 

Reijers: "Those are a lot of jobs to manage. Organisational skills are pretty handy in this job. All kidding aside, as CISO I am of course fully committed to helping ensure that UvA and HvA are a secure working and learning environment. Among other things, that means creating and implementing policies, checking that all systems and technology are in order, and thus raising awareness among staff and students. And with the digital threats in the world around us, this is a great challenge."

What are the plans for Security Month?

October will highlight many aspects of cybersecurity. You'll come across it in the form of articles and posters (on notice boards); we're organising a cool Privacy & Security pub quiz for all UvA and AUAS students on Thursday 13 October in collaboration with FLOOR from AUASExternal link and asking everyone to pay better attention to locking their computer screen using stickers. Keep an eye on the newsletters and info screens!