What is cybersecurity and why is it important?

Cybersecurity refers to a set of techniques used to protect the security of networks, programs, and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. It is important as it involves the protection of information and systems from major cyber threats.

In order to effectively combat this emerging threat, Steve Jacobs, Director of the IT Department, and Tammy Nguyen, Network Manager, have put together this easy-to-use, detailed article that will provide tips and definitions to help enlighten everyone about the intricacies of cybersecurity.

Why should I care about cybersecurity?

Every 38 seconds there is a cybersecurity breach, affecting one in three Americans every year. The impact of cybercrime in today’s increasingly digital world is undeniable, and because of it, cybersecurity has never been more imperative. While advanced issues need to be addressed by technical teams, there is still plenty we can all do to help fortify our defense against digital invaders both in the workplace and at home.

What are some of the threats that we face in cybersecurity?

“Phishing” is the most common type of cyber-attack that affects organizations like Guest Services. Phishing attacks can take many forms, but they all share a common goal – getting you to share sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card information, or bank account details. In this type of attack, hackers impersonate a real company (or person) to obtain personal information or login credentials. You may receive an e-mail asking you to verify your account details with a link that takes you to an imposter login screen that delivers your information directly to the attackers.

“Malware” refers to various forms of harmful software, such as viruses and ransomware. Once malware is in your computer, it can wreak havoc, from taking control of your machine to monitoring your actions and keystrokes to silently sending confidential data from your computer to the attacker’s home base. Users can unintentionally install malware by clicking on a link to download a file, or opening an attachment that may look harmless (like a Word document or PDF attachment), but may actually contain a malware installer.

“Denial-of-Service (DoS)” refers to the intentional flooding of a website with more traffic than it was built to handle. DoS attacks attempt to shut down website servers with massive amounts of traffic.

What has Guest Services done to combat cyber threats?

  1. Guest Services recently contracted with a Cybersecurity company to perform testing on our corporate network. They identified some areas where we could take measures to protect the security of our system. As a result, we have implemented changes that will enhance our security.
  2. The GSI IT Department has launched an email campaign to train and assist GSI team members with recognizing cyber threats.
  3. The Guest Services Training Department has worked with the Information Technology Department to establish a cybersecurity awareness webinar for Guest Services employees.

What steps should we all be taking to be more secure?

Team members should become familiar with the IT Policies found on the intranet (

To avoid phishing schemes, please observe the following e-mail best practices:

  • Do not click on links or attachments from senders that you do not recognize. Be especially wary of .zip or other compressed or executable file types
  • Do not provide sensitive personal information (like usernames and passwords) to anyone
  • Watch for e-mail senders that use suspicious or misleading domain names
  • Scrutinize URLs to make sure they’re legitimate and not imposter sites
  • Do not try to open any shared document that you are not expecting to receive
  • Be especially cautious when opening attachments or clicking links if you receive an e-mail containing a warning banner indicating that it originated from an external source
  • Contact the IT Help Desk at 703-849-9393 if you are unsure if an e-mail is legitimate

Are there any changes happening in the future that will affect our cybersecurity?

Guest Services takes cybersecurity very seriously. We continually look for new and innovative ways to tighten security and train GSI Team Members to recognize cyber threats and understand best practices.

How can Guest Services team members learn more about cybersecurity?

Team members should watch for Security webinars held by the Training Department, and other training offers that the IT Department is working on. They should also watch for emails from the Guest Services’ IT Department regarding new cyber threats.

The first line of defense lies with our Team Members. Please make sure you use best practices when using your computer to ensure cyber safety.