Baylor increases web safety measures during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Students at Baylor have to use the Duo Authentication service to log into online services at the University. The service provides an extra layer of protection. Lariat File Photo

By Meredith Howard | Staff Writer

Baylor ITS will increase the minimum password length requirement for all BearID accounts to 10 characters for all passwords reset after Oct. 22.

This policy change occurs during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which Baylor is commemorating with the third annual Baylor Cyber Day, which will be held Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Longer passwords take modern computers longer to crack than shorter passwords—each character you add to a password exponentially increases the amount of time it would take a computer to crack it,” Will Telfer, Baylor information security analyst, said. “Computers are constantly increasing in speed and processing power; BearID passwords had not changed length or complexity requirements in over 10 years — strong passwords from five years ago are no longer considered strong.”

Tuesday’s events will provide an opportunity for students to see the most common technological exploits in action and learn how to keep themselves from being a target for hackers.”

HackFest will offer escape rooms, demonstrations of cyberattacks and a competition among tech-interested students in hacking. It will be held at 6 p.m. with the escape rooms and demonstrations located in the Hankamer Academic Center lobby, and the team hacking competition will be located on the 5th floor of Cashion Academic Center.

Cedar Park freshman Carlie Dill was hacked on Instagram Sunday, and said she hopes the event features information on what to do if hacking occurs.

“Knowing how they do it is good, but also we don’t want to educate more hackers,” Dill said. “Explaining to people on different social media sites through Baylor, ‘Here’s what you do if you get hacked,’ would be really beneficial because I didn’t know what to do.”

Baylor ITS is making an effort to educate students about hacking through BearAware, Baylor’s cybersecurity awareness initiative.

Baylor ITS will also host a Cyber Day Public Forum at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in 250 Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation.

Panel members include Elton Fontaine with Palo Alto Networks, John Scimone with Dell Technologies and James Shira with PwC. The speakers will “address current issues in cybersecurity and ethics, engage one another in dialogue, and interact with the audience in a Q&A session.”

More information about security measures students can take can be found online.