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Why Cyber Security Awareness Month at Pepperdine?

A person using their mobile phone to log into a laptop, with a graphic overlay of username and password. .

Preventing a digital "smash and grab" from your accounts

Our online accounts, money, and data provide a lot of power and flexibility in daily life. Cybercriminals make a good living by exploiting the power and flexibility of our online accounts for their own profit. Therefore, Pepperdine IT takes the opportunity during each October's National Cyber Security Awareness Month to provide you with some resources to help protect your data and the data of others in the community.

Faculty and Staff - Join the Human Firewall

Pepperdine IT operates many useful systems to help protect student and University data - email filters drop executable attachments commonly used to install ransomware, firewalls block connections containing suspicious traffic, server and workstation automation makes sure that our systems always have the security patches that keep them invulnerable to exploits and more. We have a suite of collaboration tools, including Google Workspace, Secure Attachments, Etrieve, eSign, SecureConnect, and more, that help us collaborate free from unauthorized access. However, if cybercriminals can't make it past our systems, they will target our people. This means that YOU are our last line of defense. We'd like to invite and provide the opportunity for our faculty and staff, who already do a good job with security, to take our training and build their skills up a notch to become a human firewall for our student and University data.

Monthly Gamified Training

All faculty and staff are invited to participate in our monthly gamified online training, powered by KnowBe4, beginning in October. These sessions are short, fun, and customized for the Pepperdine environment. If you can participate, you will have the opportunity to learn and practice relevant cyber defense skills and be entered to win a prize. Everyone who completes the training in October will be entered in a raffle to win one of 20 available $25 Amazon gift cards 

We are also offering the chance for departments who opt-in to participate in our leaderboards to win additional prizes for their team. This month, winning departments will receive a Securi-tea™ coffee break and an "Ask Me Anything" panel with the ISO team (tough security questions and polite personal questions are welcome). Talk to your supervisor to get your team signed up for the leaderboard competition.

February Mandatory Training

In February, the Information Security Office will pause our monthly optional trainings to present an online mandatory security training powered by KnowBe4. This interactive online training will focus on how to use cybersecurity skills and resources specific to Pepperdine. You will learn practical principles and how to use several systems to safeguard student and University data. The training takes about 30 minutes to complete. Full participation puts the University in a stronger position to retain trust and comply with the expectations of our community, board, and external entities, such as cyber insurers.

Students - SecureConnect MFA Project

You are also top of mind for us. IT is inviting you to opt-in to a new resource to increase the security of your Pepperdine accounts. IT is taking this month to advocate and incentivize our students to join the SecureConnect multi-factor authentication project, powered by DUO. While all faculty and staff have been using our multi-factor authentication system since March 2019, some may remember that a few years prior to that time, this resource was provided on an opt-in basis. Since last year, students have been able to opt-in to SecureConnect MFA to ensure that if someone steals their password, they can't steal their data or pry into their private information.


SecureConnect has been available for student enrollment since October 2020 and provides additional protections for your Pepperdine account. It is easy to use, and most importantly will keep anyone who has stolen your password from abusing your account or accessing your personal information. To opt-in, please visit the SecureConnect Getting Started page and view the two-minute video to learn more.

Benefits beyond Security

Get the following benefits when you enroll in SecureConnect:

  • Four-year password - extend expiration to four years (since the last time it was set).
  • Protected personal information - including email, coursework, grades, and direct deposit info.
  • Modern multi-factor authentication - your bank and gaming accounts offer MFA. Now you can add it to your Pepperdine accounts.
  • Flexibility - Install the Duo Mobile app to get the highest security by using Push notifications or offline-generated passcodes, but you can also use SMS/Text to receive a passcode.
  • Ease of use on campus - Your connection to the Pepperdine network at any of our Southern California campuses counts as an authentication factor.
  • Remember me - you can check a box to remember your web browser for 30 days
  • Easily add, remove, or update your devices - securely add, remove or replace a device.

All students who are enrolled in SecureConnect by noon on October 28, 2022 will be entered to win a drawing for a DJI Osmo 6 smartphone gimbal for dynamic stability and many features to help you while shooting videos for your blog, selfies, social media, class assignments, family events, and other adventures.