Among many other things, October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), and is something that, in the wake of one of the largest data breaches in history, needs to be discussed. There are many ways breaches happen—an outdated plugin on a website, lax passwords, or through one of many other mechanisms—and it’s important to know how and where to plug the holes. Today, we would like to discuss the importance of NCSAM, and offer tips and tricks to keep your data safe.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
Every year since 2003, October has been recognized as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). This effort was brought to life through a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. NCSAM was created to ensure that every individual stays safe and secure online.
Five Weeks, Five Themes
This year, there will be five ‘weeks’ in NCSAM, each with a different theme that offers tips, tricks, and opportunities for discussions with employees. According to the Department for Homeland Security website, the five themes are as follows:
- Week 1: October 2-6 – Theme: Simple Steps to Online Safety: All members of the public can take some simple actions to protect themselves online and to recover in the event a cyber incident occurs. Week 1 will address the top consumer cybersecurity concerns, provide simple steps to protect against these concerns, and help the public understand what to do if they fall victim to cybercrime.
- Week 2: October 9-13 – Theme: Cybersecurity in the Workplace is Everyone’s Business: Creating a culture of cybersecurity is critical for all organizations ‒ large and small businesses, academic institutions, non-profits, and government agencies – and must be a shared responsibility among all employees. Week 2 will showcase how organizations can protect against the most common cyber threats. The week will also look at resources to help organizations strengthen their cyber resilience, including the use of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework.
- Week 3: October 16-20 – Theme: Today’s Predictions for Tomorrow’s Internet: Smart cities, connected devices, digitized records, as well as smart cars and homes have become a new reality. Week 3 will remind citizens that their sensitive, personal information is the fuel that makes smart devices work. While there are tremendous benefits of this technology, it is critical to understand how to use these cutting-edge innovations in safe and secure ways.
- Week 4: October 23-27 – Theme: The Internet Wants YOU: Consider a Career in Cybersecurity: According to a study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, by 2022, there will be a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers. It is critical that today’s students graduate ready to enter the workforce to fill the vast number of available cybersecurity positions. Week 4 will encourage students and other job seekers to explore cybersecurity careers. Key influencers – like parents, teachers, guidance counselors and state and local officials – will learn more about this growing field and how to engage youth in pursuing cybersecurity careers.
- Week 5: October 30-31 – Theme: Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats: The essential systems that support our daily lives – such as electricity, financial institutions, and transportation – are all dependent upon the Internet. Building resilience in critical infrastructure is crucial to our national security. Week 5 will look at cybersecurity in relation to keeping our traffic lights, running water, phone lines, and other critical infrastructure secure. It also facilitates the transition to November’s Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month (CISR), highlighting the tie between cybersecurity and our nation’s critical infrastructure.
Staying Safe All Year
There’s a lot of value in your company data—to you, as well as to unscrupulous individuals who could profit by selling it or holding it for ransom. This is why it’s important to adopt cybersecurity strategies that can help you protect your data. We loook forward to sharing tips all month long.