Focus on your Security Awareness skills as the school year begins!

Information Technology
Lock screen of a mobile phone with a lock on top of it.
Iman Javadi is a junior information security analyst at the University of Ottawa. The summer of 2022 was his second semester working Information Technology as a co-op student.

After obtaining his Bachelor’s in Computer Software Engineering and a Master of Business Administration (Concentration in Marketing) at the University of Tehran in Iran, he decided to pursue a Master of Computer Science (Concentration in Applied Artificial Intelligence).  

With all these impressive accomplishments, Iman has a great perspective and knowledge on security awareness. Being a student, he knows the ways to engage students with security. 

As part of his role as junior information security analyst, Iman contributes to security assessments and is able to familiarize with numerous systems. This empowers him to have a good understanding of various processes and systems being adopted and employed at the University.  

Iman knows the importance of security awareness and wants to share the knowledge with others.  

Iman Javadi

“Security is not limited to information security divisions anymore.”

Iman Javadi

Iman believes security will always be vital. Improving security awareness for students starts with engaging them and providing them a reason to care. “Providing a demonstration session where people can come and engage physically, rather than solely in a visual manner, will likely lead to better results. It’s important to demonstrate how a security problem is tackled, what measures have been adopted, and how dangerous and costly things can get if the proper steps aren’t taken,” says Iman. 

A lack of security awareness results in serious consequences. A way to convince students that it is a real issue is to use real-life examples that can be included in a demonstration session, he suggests. Another idea is creating a short course that is open for all students, where they receive a participation certificate that can be added as an accomplishment on a resume and LinkedIn. “This can be a motivational factor for students to want to learn more about security. Since these days most employers use technology, this means they also look for safe online habits within their employees when hiring,”  says Iman. 

Students often focus on their privacy and not necessarily security. Privacy is something they can control therefore it’s more top of mind. “Privacy can be compromised, money can be lost, identities can be stolen, and reputations can be ruined,” says Iman.  

Students deal primarily with malicious links and suspicious emails, texts, and phone calls. These can be avoided by taking the right precautions. Iman suggests being aware, curious, and taking time when doing things on the Internet. Malicious links can be tricky to spot but the biggest clue, Iman says, is when you see Click Here in an email or text. ‘If it is an innocent message, the sender will not pressure you to click somewhere right away. They will allow you the option to search the URL yourself and not have the email link be the only option to get something done. Report the email, if you believe there is something suspicious, this will not only save you and your privacy, but it will also help the privacy of others in the future.’  

Security awareness is going to become more crucial as the world today revolves increasingly around technology. Safe online habits will not only protect you personally, but it can protect the company in which you work in, and the community in which you live in.