Information Technology Services (ITS)

Retrospective: Cyber Security Awareness Month key learnings

Published on: January 31, 2019

October 2018 marked a successful Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM) campaign led by Information Technology Services (ITS) – Information Security and Enterprise Architecture (ISEA) and Education and Awareness) teams. We connected with hundreds of students, staff and faculty within the University of Toronto (U of T) community to raise awareness of the importance of online safety and privacy.

Now, with an effective CSAM behind us – and 2019 activities underway – it’s time to reflect on the safe practices, insights and other key learnings explored. Remember: security matters every day and online safety and privacy should be practiced as habit.

The numbers

During CSAM 2018, we surveyed students and staff to learn more about the U of T community’s needs. Discoveries included:

  • 61 per cent of students and 60 per cent of staff have had their online account(s) compromised.
  • 50 per cent of students had avoided reporting a cyber security incident.
  • 77 per cent of staff are interested in further cyber security training.
  • 54 per cent of staff prefer in-person training, such as presentations and lunch and learns.


We engaged the U of T community through on-campus events (watch the expert panel discussion), comic strips, tip sheets, blog posts and social media posts. Check out resources here.

Our content also reached external audiences: the Canadian University Council of Chief Information Officers (CUCCIO) promoted CSAM activities and the performance of Fake Nerd Girl, hosted at Hart House Theatre, was reviewed by The Medium, the U of T Mississauga’s student newspaper.

All of this activity lead to increased traffic on the Security Matters website and social media accounts. For example, traffic on the Security Matters website doubled, from 1,067 unique pageviews in September to 2,142 pageviews in October. Social media engagement on Twitter also increased from 37 engagements in September to 117 in October.

Continued engagement

We aim to continue building our rapport with the U of T community. This January, we celebrated Data Privacy Day (Jan. 28) with all new events and content. Visit our website and follow us on social media (@uoftcyberaware) to stay up-to-date to hear more about upcoming activities.