17th Annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
October marks the beginning of the 17th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) presented by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). As a governmental entity, CISA is on a mission to “Lead the National effort to understand and manage cyber and physical risk to our critical infrastructure”.
CISA’s 2020 NCSAM campaign theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart” with the intent to emphasize the necessity of intentional cybersecurity protocol.There are currently an estimated 4.8 billion internet users – over 62% of the world’s population! This number will only grow making the need to #BeCyberSmart more important than ever.
This campaign delivers critical cybersecurity information to the public in easily understood terms to promote general awareness.Each week, the campaign focuses on a different aspect of cybersecurity and week one begins by emphasizing the potential vulnerability of all internet-connected devices.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is a broad term referring tothe process of protecting computer systems, networks, devices, and programs from cyberthreats. The type of information at risk of a cyberthreat includes, intellectual property, personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), personal data and information.
To prevent cyberthreats, you must be able to identify them. Here are five types of the main attacks on private data to be aware of:
- Malwareis any software intended to damage, disable, or grant unauthorized access to other internet connected devices. Most cybercrime begins with some sort of malware.
- Ransomware is software, often downloaded unintentionally as malicious email links, designed to hijack your device until you pay the attacker a “ransom”. Until the ransom is paid, your personal or business information can be seriously damaged.
- Botsare a type of program for automating internet tasks. Bots can compile your passwords, financial information, keystroke history,hijack social media profiles, sendemails as you and open“back doors” on the infected device for more malicious software to enter.
- Physical Cyberattacks use hardware, external storage devices or other physical attack transmitters to compromise computer systems.
- Phishing is often described as “malicious spam”. Have you ever received a Facebook message from a friend, only to learn that their account had been overtaken by hackers? These fake messages are seemingly trustable and are meant to trick individuals into clicking malicious links, providing personal information, authorizing access to a system or committing a financial transaction.
Learn More About Cybersecurity Protocol
Society is increasingly technologically reliant and cyberthreat numbers are rising in this digitized era. The first three months of 2020 saw a 20% increase in cyber fraud as cybercriminals took advantage of the global pandemic. A breach in your individual or company data could pose economic, reputational, and regulatory costs.
Best practices for data protection vary based on the data type and intent. To summarize generally, cyber self-defense can be strengthened with these four best practices:
- Secure Your Networks –Devices connected to the internet via wireless router are at a greater risk of cyberattack.
- If You Connect It, Protect It – Understand thatdata and information on literally any device utilizing the internet can be compromised.
- Stay Up to Date–It is important to maintain the most updated version of device software to prevent cyberattacks. The more out of date a software is, the less capable it is to protect your data from cyberthreats.
- Double Your Login Protection- Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) so that the only person who as access to your accounts is you.
If you are interested in learning more about cybersecurity, check out some of the free resources provided by CISA.
Join the Cause
Spread the word! Individuals can show support by becoming a Friend of the Campaign by signing here. Organizations canbecome campaign partners where they will benefit from connecting with other companies throughout the country to discuss trends, best practices, and available resources.
You can also use NCSAM’s hashtag #BeCyberSmart during October to promote your involvement in raising cybersecurity awareness.