What is National Computer Security Day?
National Computer Security Day demands our attention every November 30 because cyber security affects everything from where we bank and how we spend our money to who we elect to public office. We certainly don’t want a replay of MyDoom, the worst email virus in history, which caused $38.5 billion in damage, so let’s get educated on staying safe online!
National Computer Security Day History
It seems like everyday we hear about breaches in cyber security. Keeping people and companies safe online is a top priority all over the world. It’s something that stays uppermost in our minds on National Computer Security Day. The story of National Computer Security Day is an interesting one.
On November 2, 1988, Cornell University researchers uncovered an unknown virus lurking in their computer systems. Within four hours of discovery, the “Morris worm” virus invaded several other university systems as well as the ARPANET, an early version of today’s internet.
Six days later, two computer experts with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recommended assembling a “National Computer Infection Action Team” (NCAT) to respond 24/7, 365 to these kinds of attacks. On November 14, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a research center connected with Carnegie Mellon University, set up the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).
In 1988, the National Computer Security Day sprang out of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Special Interest Group on Security, Audit, and Control as a way to raise awareness about cyber crimes and viruses. According to a 2004 “Networld” article, “November 30 was chosen for CSD so that attention on computer security would remain high during the holiday season – when people are typically more focused on the busy shopping season than thwarting security threats.” By 2003, CERT and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security joined forces to create the National Cyber Awareness System.
Whether we’re talking about National Computer Security Day or National Cybersecurity Awareness Month also in October, the goals are essentially the same. Each person must be proactive to protect their online security. Use this month to find out all you can about common sense ways to stay safe in cyberspace.
National Computer Security Day timeline
- May, 2017
The aptly-named Wannacry computer virus infects computers in 150 countries
Although the Wannacry malware, possibly originating in North Korea, spreads worldwide, the virus kicks hundreds of hospitals offline throughout the United Kingdom.
- September, 2013
Ransomware wreaks havoc worldwide
Cryptolocker released a form of malware which could not be removed without the victim paying a “ransom” which may or may not restore any lost files.
The U.S. government steps up its involvement in cyber awareness
The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security work together to create the National Cyber Awareness System.
National Computer Security Day is launched in Washington D.C.
In response to burgeoning threats of cyber attacks, a chapter of the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) creates National Computer Security Day to raise public awareness every November 30.
National Computer Security Day FAQs
What is Cyber Security Awareness?
Cyber Security Awareness means taking a proactive approach to protecting your identity and your assets online.
What is Cyber Security Awareness Training?
Cyber Security Awareness Training gives employees good and practical “rules of the road” for keeping corporate information technology safe on the job.
How do you create a security awareness program?
By keeping the training brief and to the point, as well as suggesting things employees should do themselves to reduce human errors; you can create an effective program.
How to Observe National Computer Security Day
Create a strong password
Lucky for you, we’ve got some tips. In computer security, length matters. Passwords that are 6 characters are easier to hack, especially if they're only made up of lowercase letters. To beef up your password, weave a 9-character combination of uppercase letters, symbols and numbers. Lastly, avoid using the same password for every account.
Update spyware and malware protection software
First, check to see if your operating system is up-to-date. If that's set, update your protection software. Run a scan and don't forget to invite your other devices to the party. Phones and tablets are also major security risks, so be diligent.
Encrypt and backup your data
Encrypt your data to create the brainiest of all brainteasers. But keep this in mind: even the best brain teaser can be cracked. That’s why it's still important to back up your info on either the cloud or an external hard drive. (Just make sure that everything stays encrypted.)
Why National Computer Security Day is Important
It reminds us that we play an active role in computer security
Whether it's a bank account or pics that should never have taken, your personal life is, well, personal. This day is a reminder that we deserve to have our privacy protected and we can't rely on programmers alone to do the job. Regularly updating antivirus software, using strong passwords and encrypting data are all measures we can take on our own. Make sure your records of the “bad old days” stay in your memories — not in a stranger's news feed!
It reinforces that our security issues affect others
This holiday reminds us that viruses spread. If you link an infected device to someone else’s device, you put their security at risk. From there, it doesn't take much to compromise an entire network.
It helps us appreciate security systems engineers
Security systems engineers are unsung heroes. Staying one step ahead of hackers is challenging, especially when technology changes so quickly. Computer Security Day is the perfect time to show your appreciation for the work of these professional hacker-fighters!