Blog

BIT: A NCSAM Champion!

In light of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), BIT has decided to join the 400+ universities, colleges, businesses, government agencies and associations who are a part of the NCSAM Champion Program!Champions represent those dedicated to p…

Three Major Ways You Put Your Data At Risk

As large scale cyber incidents continue to make headlines, it is more important than ever to join together with a common message to help individuals of all ages and all segments of the community understand cyber threats and be safer and more secure online.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications is joining with the Department of Homeland Security and its partners across the country to share tips on how we can protect our information and our identities online.

Here are the most common ways people put their personal data at risk:

1. Using weak passwords. Are your passwords part of the worst passwords of 2014 list? This list includes passwords such as “123456” and “password.” Do not choose an easy-to-guess password and do not use the same password for multiple accounts.

2. Keeping devices unprotected. If you are separated from your mobile device, you do not want anyone to be able to access all the data from your device, including data stored in your apps. Put your devices out of sight when you walk away from them and password-protect them.

3. Sharing too much information online. From including your birthdate, phone number, and address in your social media profiles to posting pictures of when you are on vacation, sharing too much online can give people enough information to access your accounts or your home when you are away. Wait until you’re home from your trip to post pictures.

Follow these tips from the national cybersecurity awareness campaign, Stop.Think.Connect.™ to be safer and more secure online:

·Secure your devices. Take advantage of lock screens, passwords, and fingerprint scanning capabilities to secure your smartphones, tablets, and computers.

·Set strong passwords. Make your passwords hard to guess, and change them regularly.

·Think before you app. Many mobile applications request access to information stored on your mobile device, including your contact lists, pictures, and location data. Determine if you really want to share such information before downloading the app.

·Do business with reputable vendors. Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established vendor. Attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious websites that falsely appear to be legitimate companies.

·Customize the settings on your accounts. Many accounts include default settings that promote more information sharing. Check your account settings to ensure only the information you want to share is visible to those people you want to share it with.

For more information on NCSAM 2015, visit

www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect/national-cyber-security-awareness-month

To receive cyber security tips year round, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect and become a friend of the Campaign. The Stop.Think.Connect. online toolkit is filled with tips, facts, and shareable resources: www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-toolkit

Citations:
https://share.dhs.gov/ncsam2015_partnerpacket/

Gary Larson: Serving the State for 42 years!

On Friday, October 23rd, 2015 Gary Larson will be retiring from the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications.

Gary started working for the State of South Dakota on February 9, 1973.  Gary began his career with state government as a Data Clerk II, and through the course of 42 years, 13 promotions, being self-taught, and with no formal education in this field, Gary ultimately serves as a Software Engineer III with BIT.

When asked how technology has changed throughout the past 42 years, Gary explained, “When I started, everything was done on the mainframe. Programs were written in COBOL.  And I can remember sitting at a keypunch machine and keying in code (which had to be read using a card reader and transferred to the mainframe).  Now with the advent of Client Servers and Dot.net and PCs, the mainframe almost appears to be becoming a thing of the past.”
Gary cites his biggest accomplishment at BIT as “keeping the mainframe Department of Public Safety Driver License application functioning at a high level since the early ‘80s.”

Gary will miss the people he has worked with over these many years, but looks forward to spending more time on the golf course, bowling, and maybe even getting back into fishing!

When asked to give a few words of wisdom to his fellow colleagues that he will be leaving behind, Gary playfully responded, “Get your 40 years in and then get outJ”.

Gary, although the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications is proud to call you one of our own, there are a few other people who are also very proud of you as well…

Judy Larson:

“Gary has been my best friend and the love of my life for 42 years.  He has been a wonderful husband, father and provider.  I am so proud of his accomplishments with his job.  Not many people, any more, can say that they have been with the same department/job for their whole career.  The fact that he started pretty much at the bottom and has taken classes (that were offered way back then), self-taught, and has gotten to where he is today (which today would require a 4 year college degree!) is quite an accomplishment.  He never once in those 42 years even thought about changing jobs. He may be set in his ways, but look where it has gotten him!!!

I wish him the very best in his retirement and I hope he will enjoy himself to the fullest.  I know I will enjoy having a House Husband while I continue to work to provide health insurance for him for the next 2-3 years anyway.  Then look out world here we come!!!”

Chad Larson, 39:

“My father possesses many great qualities one of which is dedication.  He is very dedicated to family and work.  He worked for BIT for 42 1/2 years and has always been there for family no matter what.  He is a very kind-hearted and caring man who taught me the importance of loving and caring for others.  I think that is his greatest quality—his ability to love unconditionally.”

Colin Larson, 35:

“There are many reasons to be proud of my dad.  First and most important to me is –  he taught me what unconditional love is.  Don’t know how he did it ‘cause I was not one who made it easy on him!! But him being there for me no matter what the circumstance has meant more than I SHOW.  Another thing I’m proud of my father for is patience. I mean 42 years in a cubicle doing the same thing day in day out says a lot to me.  ONE JOB DAD? Hmm, more patience than I could ever have. My father is a “ONE OF A KIND” and I would never think anyone else could ever walk in his shoes – “They are Big”!!!


I love you father and everything you’ve done for this family. Now it is “Relax Time”!!!  I just hope I can be as good as you are when the time comes, whether it be one of my own, or when it’s my turn to take care of you!!I Love you Dad – HAPPY RETIREMENT!!”


Congratulations on your retirement Gary! We will miss you!


BIT: A NCSAM Champion!

In light of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), BIT has decided to join the 400+ universities, colleges, businesses, government agencies and associations who are a part of the NCSAM Champion Program!Champions represent those dedicated to p…

Fostering a Culture of Cybersecurity at the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications


In a world comprised of technical jargon and complicated concepts, the average person may not always completely understand their important role in cybersecurity. As recent major cyber incidents have shown, cyber criminals often rely on human error – from failing to install software patches to clicking on malicious links to creating easy-to-guess passwords- to gain access to systems and information.

From the top leadership and executive to the newest employee, cybersecurity requires the vigilance of every employee to keep data, customers, and capital safe and secure.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and

BIT is joining with the Department of Homeland Security and its partners across the country to engage individuals all ages and all segments of the community in the shared responsibility to secure cyberspace.

Take these simple actions to protect information at work, at home, and on the go:

· If something does happen, report it to the BIT Help Desk immediately
· Make your passwords complex. Use a combination of numbers, symbols, and letters (uppercase and lowercase)
· Change your passwords regularly (every 45 to 90 days)
· Keep your usernames, passwords, or other computer/ website access codes private and do not share them with anyone
· Only open emails and attachments from people you know
· Do NOT install or connect any personal software or hardware to your organization’s network without permission from the IT department
· Make electronic and physical back-ups or copies of all your important work
· When you work from home, secure your Internet connection by using a firewall, encrypt information, and hide your Wi-Fi network

Citations:

https://share.dhs.gov/ncsam2015_partnerpacket/

In Our “Smart World” the Internet Touches all Aspects of Our Daily Lives

Is your thermostat putting your home network at risk? Things connected to the Internet –like smart thermostats, coffee pots, and refrigerators –need to be updated manually to protect the network to which they are connected.

In the future, our lives will become even more intertwined with technology. Our cars are quickly morphing into “computers on wheels,” the fully-connected home is nearly a reality and connected medical devices may offer tremendous benefits to our health and safety.

As technology continues to evolve and advance throughout all aspects of our life, securing a vast and complicated Internet ecosystem of smart devices including phones, wearables, cars, and more is critical to our safety and security.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and

BIT is joining with the Department of Homeland Security and its partners across the country to highlight the importance of cybersecurity to individuals of all ages and all segments of the community.

Follow the simple tips below to secure any object or device that sends or receives data automatically:

  • Keep any device that connects to the Internet free from viruses and malware by updating the software regularly and securing them with strong passwords whenever possible
  • Have a solid understanding of how a device works, the nature of its connection to the Internet, and the type of information it stores and transmits
  • Properly secure the wireless network you use to connect Internet enabled devices
  • Make the required manual updates to protect Internet-enabled devices. 

For more information on NCSAM 2015, visit www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month.

To receive cyber security tips year round, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect and become a friend of the Campaign. To help you start an online safety dialogue, the Stop.Think.Connect. online toolkit is filled with tips, facts, and shareable resources:

www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-toolkit.

Citations:
https://share.dhs.gov/ncsam2015_partnerpacket/

Please Welcome New Employee Morgan Schnell!

Morgan Schnell has recently joined BIT Development Team 1 as a Software Engineer I.

Morgan is a native to South Dakota, born in Aberdeen and raised in Watertown. After graduating from Watertown High School, he went on to attend college at Dakota State University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Design with a 3.8 GPA.

His degree offered him insight into graphic design and narrative writing. Most importantly, a solid background in programming and the ability to work in a team-driven environment. These insights have provided a great transition into Morgan’s interest in software development through the latter years of his schooling. Morgan decided to move to Pierre after hearing about BIT from a handful of friends at school! He looks forward to gaining insight and further developing his skills as a programmer here at BIT!

In his spare time, he loves to play video games (admittedly, more than the average person). His interest in developing video games has led him to break down each game he plays at a mechanical level allowing him to analyze and think about what he did and didn’t like about the game’s internet working, and how he could improve it if given the opportunity. Aside from this he also enjoys watching comedy or action movies, collecting figures, and building model kits in his spare time.

Welcome to BIT, Morgan! We are happy to have you!

Please Welcome New Employee Richard Spalding!

Richard Spalding will be joining us as a Software Engineer III on Development Team 1.Richard Spalding was born and raised in the state of Florida. His father was a teacher who eventually became a rocket scientist and his mother was a Jacksonville debu…