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Being CyberSmart

Best practices: Protecting USPS from threats

USPS employee
Des Moines, IA, Custodial Team Cleaning Site Coordinator Brian Earles follows cybersecurity best practices at work.

Brian Earles believes it’s important to protect the Postal Service’s information.

Earles, a custodial team cleaning site coordinator in Des Moines, IA, reads his emails carefully and reports suspicious activity to the CyberSecurity Operations Center (CSOC).

For example, when Earles recently received an email that claimed to provide important information regarding his W-2 statement, he scrutinized the message.

“This lure stood out to me because it asked me to click on something regarding my W-2 forms, and I didn’t expect any issues with my W-2,” Earles says. “It also had a lot of spelling errors, the email address used ‘.com’ instead of ‘.gov’ and the hyperlinked URL didn’t seem official.”

To report the incident, Earles alerted CSOC by sending the suspicious message to

Deputy Chief Information Security Officer Lisa Holman says employee vigilance is key to keeping the Postal Service’s information safe.

“By reporting suspicious activity, our people act as our first line of defense against a cyberattack,” she says.

Earles has two cybersecurity tips for his fellow employees:

• Question everything. “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” Earles says. “Consider if the message seems logical, and if the sender’s address looks legitimate.”

• Lock your computer. Before Earles steps away from his computer, he locks it, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Earles learned how to report cyber incidents through the CyberSafe at USPS Blue page.

“It’s one of the best pages I’ve seen in the Postal Service. All of the information for reporting is right there,” he says.

“Best practices,” a new series on employees who demonstrate on-the-job excellence, appears regularly in Link.

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