National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). Established in 2004 by the National Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), its objective is to increase awareness of Americans to new and emerging cyber-threats.
Since its inception, NCSAM has continued to identify new threats to industry and consumers. As use of the Internet, and subsequently Internet-connected devices has increased, the critical need for awareness of the risks, threats, and vulnerabilities of use of the all-too-convenient, pervasive technologies is paramount. Today, with 99% of U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 29 (Pew Research Center) saying that they use the Internet, and 75% of those over 65 saying the same, lack of timely knowledge can expose users and knowledge workers to a multitude of Internet based threats.
Malicious apps, social engineering schemes such as phishing and others, attacks involving malware like the dreaded ransomware attack, threaten our personal information and identities, that of those with whom we communicate, and even our workplaces.
The COVID-19 pandemic demanded a mobile workforce, and strategies were created for remote workers equipped with innovative solutions to maintain productivity. Many had little or no specific training regarding protecting these connected devices or solutions. As could be expected, there was an uptick in cyber-attacks during this initial transition to work-from-home. Breaches have headlined the news all too often during the pandemic.
NCASM, through the combined efforts of NCSA and DHS, as well as industry and academia, has grown in reach and participation. In 2009, themes were adopted to convey the message of Security Awareness. Such themes, including “Our Shared Awareness” (2009), “STOP, THINK, CONNECT” (2010), developed into a weekly approach to better articulate the message and help increase awareness more effectively. The theme have focused on specific groups such as education, law enforcement, cybercrime, mobility, critical infrastructure, small and medium size businesses, and not-for-profits which has proven successful under a “shared responsibility” campaign. The “OWN IT. SECURE IT. PROTECT IT.” theme in 2019 called for personal responsibility, accountability and proactive behavior in security best practices. (SecureWorld)
NCSAM, now in its 18th year, continues to provide a thematic focus. This year is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” Beginning the week of October 4th, 2021, CISA and NCSA are promoting outreach with the following weekly themes:
- Week 1: Be Cybersmart.
- Week 2: Fight the Phish!
- Week 3: Explore, Experience, Share.
- Week 4: Cybersecurity First
More information on these themes, and how you can do your part, can be found on the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA) website at: Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Stay Safe Online, The Department of Homeland Security website at: October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month | Homeland Security (dhs.gov), and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) website at: Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week October 18 – 23, 2021 | NIST
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