Don't Get Hooked Think twice, click once Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023


David Furman, Brandon Morris, and Cody Lawson standing with Southpaw at the table for Cyber Security Week.
David Furman, Brandon Morris, and Cody Lawson standing with Southpaw, students, and shark at the table for Cyber Security Week.


In October, the University of South Alabama Office of Information Security (InfoSec) will recognize and participate in National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). NCSAM is a month out of the year in which the cybersecurity professional community comes together to focus on cybersecurity and encourage others to exercise proper cyber hygiene.  The Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance have sponsored NCSAM since its inception in 2004.

From mobile to connected home devices, technology is becoming more intertwined with our lives everyday. And while the evolution of technology is moving at the speed of sound, cybercriminals are working just as hard to find ways to compromise technology and disrupt personal and business life. Cybersecurity Awareness Month aims to highlight some of the emerging challenges that exist in the world of cybersecurity today and provide straightforward actionable guidance that anyone can follow to create a safe and secure digital world for themselves and their loved ones.

For 2023, USA InfoSec will focus on raising awareness of cyber phishing campaigns, in which cyber criminals use email to trick unsuspecting individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal information.  This information is then used to access personal accounts and/or implant malware on a user’s computer.  Better understanding of the techniques used by cyber criminals will assist our community in recognizing, detecting and thwarting these attempts.      

Throughout the month of October, the InfoSec team will visit various sites on campus between the hours of 11am and 1pm, to include Shelby Hall, Allied Health, and the USA Student Center.  During these events, the InfoSec team will hand out free t-shirts that reflect this year’s theme, and will encourage our students and employees to educate themselves on phishing awareness.  

For more information about Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023 and how to participate in a wide variety of activities, visit You can also follow and use the official hashtag #SecureOurWorld or last year’s hashtag #BeCyberSmart on social media throughout the month.

5 Phishing Red Flags

  • Request for passwords
  • Suspicious links or attachments
  • Sense of urgency
  • Poor grammar
  • Unusual addresses

Time It Takes a Hacker to Brute Force Your Password in 2023

Number of Characters Number Only Lowercase Letters Upper and Lower Case Letters Numbers, Upper and Lowercase Letters Numbers, Upper and Lowercase Letters, Symbols
4 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
5 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
6 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
7 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
8 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly 1 sec
9 Instantly Instantly 4 secs 21 secs 1 min
10 Instantly Instantly 4 mins 22 mins 1 hour
11 Instantly 6 secs 3 hours 22 hours 4 days
12 Instantly 2 mins 7 days 2 months 8 months
13 Instantly 1 hour 12 months 10 years 47 years
14 Instantly 1 day 52 years 608 years 3k years
15 2 secs 4 weeks 2k years 37k years 232k years
16 15 secs 2 years 140k years 2m years 16m years
17 3 mins 56 years 7m years 144m years 1bn years
18 26 mins 1k years 378m years 8bn years 79bn years