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As National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the month of October promotes the importance of staying safe and secure online. It’s hard to imagine life without our devices, immediate access to global information, thousands of pictures retrievable at a moment’s notice, and effective management of confidential data for our professional- and personal electronic lives. Cybersecurity didn’t exist 50 years ago but, today, our world requires an ever-increasing amount of cyber protection. Stay informed of the latest cybersecurity trends with our recommendations and resources below.
History of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month - October
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month began in 2004 through a partnership between the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). Cyber protection has grown to a worldwide imperative and, throughout this month, businesses, governments, and individuals come together in their passion for online protection.
Beginning in 2009, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month was given a theme – ‘Our Shared Responsibility’ — and then, in 2011, a weekly theme was chosen. The weekly themes were prompted, in part, due to the amount of information there is to cover on the topic of Cybersecurity. New trends emerge every year. For example, the last few years have given rise to ransomware, online data breaches, phishing, and cryptojacking.
According to Online Trust Alliance, internet use has grown from less than 14 million people in 1992 to over 4 billion in 2019! Over 5 billion sensitive records were compromised through online breaches in 2018 and 2019.
Cybersecurity is everyone’s job and vitally important throughout the year, not only in October. There is no downtime in keeping our online activities safe and secure. But this month creates far-reaching awareness of the importance of cybersecurity so set aside some time to ensure you are personally protected and work with your employer’s I.T. department to protect your company’s information and networks. Be sure to check out the numerous free resources found on both sponsoring organizations’ websites. For a great starting point, check out these tip sheets.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month - October timeline
The first amendment to the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which contains the first laws regarding cybersecurity — prior to this, computer-related crimes had to be prosecuted under mail-fraud laws.
One of the first computer worms released through the internet, the Morris worm infects 6,000 computers within 24 hours
Robert Morris, the creator of the Morris computer worm, is indicted — the first person to be indicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month launches this theme, which they continue to use through 2018.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month - October FAQs
How many people use social networks?
Over three billion people worldwide use social media; that is more than 45% of the world’s population!
How many accounts do we have?
The average American has over seven social media accounts.
How often are social accounts breached?
In the first six months of 2018, 56% of the 4.5 billion data breaches involved social media platforms.
Ways to Observe National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
Change your passwords
Today is a good day to change your passwords. We all dread this task since we have so many passwords but they need to be changed periodically and it’s totally worth your time. Use a password manager app to make remembering and keeping passwords organized easier.
Become a Cybersecurity Champion
Through the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA), you can become a National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion! Either as part of your organization or just you individually, you can champion the message of the month to everyone you know. Sign up at www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/champions/ to receive a toolkit to get started in spreading the important message of online safety and security.
Run antivirus scans
Another great activity for today is to run antivirus scans on all your devices, including your phone. Yes, something we don’t typically make time to do, but it’s a security necessity and today’s the reminder you need to get it done!
5 Tips For Being Cyber Smart
Multi-factor authentication requires more than one factor to access your device or information — knowledge (information only you should know), possession (a device you should have exclusive access to), and inherent (biometric confirmation such as fingerprint or iris identification).
When creating your next password, which is likely to be really soon, go with the longest password or phrase possible.
There is no delete button
Never forget that what you put out on social media does not actually ever get deleted — sure, you can delete it, but it’s still out there, accessible by someone.
Not everyone’s a friend
Learn to spot suspicious emails; even emails that have legitimate-looking logos and letterheads can be fake — check the sender’s email address, look for typos and poor grammar, or any message claiming a sense of urgency.
Keep private info private
Don’t reveal personal information such as your date of birth, social security number, passport number, etc. — even those games you play on social media outlets could give away key information you may use for passwords.
WHY WE LOVE CYBERSECURITY
We want to be secure
We all rely on our devices and online data so cybersecurity impacts everyone on an individual, corporate, and national level. Since cybercrime is indiscriminate, we want to know we, our companies, and our country are doing everything possible to keep our data secure.
We are for the good guys
Seriously, the people behind cybercrime are the bad guys. We want the good guys to prevail so, today, we should all learn from the pros who have our best cyber interests at heart. While you are at it, take a minute to thank them for the work they do to keep your data safe and secure — those I.T. guys and gals don’t hear ‘THANKS’ enough.
It makes a great career
Careers in cybersecurity are on the rise and in high demand. Cybersecurity jobs are expected to grow by 28% through 2026! If you have a love for technology, coupled with a love for solving problems, identifying risks, and evangelizing your cause, then cybersecurity may be just for you!
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month - October dates