U of T’s Security Awareness and Training Program (SATP): Empowering the Community

Security Awareness and Training Program title

In today’s age of increasing cyber threats, education about cybersecurity is more critical than ever. From phishing emails to social engineering, the tactics used by cybercriminals continue to evolve, making it vital for individuals and organizations to stay aware. Recognizing this, the University of Toronto is launching the Security Awareness and Training Program (SATP) to educate and empower the community with knowledge, practices and technologies needed to protect themselves and U of T against information security threats. The SATP, as a whole, consists of several projects, one of which is the Security Awareness and Training - Foundations (SATF) project.

The SATF project is designed to educate the community about the basics of cybersecurity. It covers critical concepts such as social engineering, phishing emails, MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) spamming, and ransomware. These terms, while familiar to IT professionals, may not be common knowledge for everyone. SATF aims to bridge this gap by offering a brief, engaging and informative introduction to these cyber threats. The program also focuses on offering specific trainings to individuals based on their roles at U of T. 

“The driving force behind this program is the alarming statistic that 82% of successful cyber exploits are attributed to tactics like social engineering and phishing and it is evident that human factors play a pivotal role in the success of these scams. It is not just a U of T issue; it’s a global problem and this is what led the team to invest time and resources in the SATF project,” says Romel Sargezi, Information Security Analyst, IITS. 

Phase 1 of the program concluded in early September. Phase 2, which is ready to launch, exclusively targets appointed staff of U of T. However, the plan includes future phases where non-appointed staff, faculty and librarians will be enrolled. “We are excited to extend the SATF project to all tri-campus units. Information security is a collective responsibility and by empowering individuals with baseline training, we can collectively build a more secure digital future,” expressed John Stewart, Information Security Program Manager, IITS. 

The engaging and concise training modules are designed to be delivered through a flexible platform. The platform allows for regular updates, making it adaptable to emerging threats and ensuring that the program may be tailored to the specific needs and audiences of the University. New modules can be added as needed, ensuring that the program remains up-to-date with the changing security landscape. 

While units are not required to participate in the SATF project, participation is strongly recommended, as awareness is the first line of defense against information security threats. If your unit is interested in participating in this project, please reach out to the project team

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