Under the direction of the National Cyber Security Division within DHS the “National Cybersecurity Awareness Month” was launched in 2004. This awareness program initially focused on the simple things people and companies could do – such as keeping antivirus programs up to date. Simple, but at the time effective, solutions such as regularly updating cybersecurity software – were touted as things that individuals and IT departments could do.
The efforts have expanded over the years, and since 2009 the month has focused on an overall theme: “Our Shared Responsibility,” which is meant to serve as reminder that everyone from large corporations to individual computer users now plays a role in ensuring that data is protected.
This year’s overarching message – Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. – will focus on key areas including citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security. Before doing anything online, stop to check that proper safety measurements are in place and think about the consequences of the action you’re about to take. Once you’ve taken these necessary precautions, go ahead and connect safely.
Users should never click and tell, and this is crucial in staying safe on social media. In other words, too much information isn’t just about awkward conversations but can actually be dangerous. Individuals and IT departments should update privacy settings, and keep tabs on all apps to ensure that those downloads aren’t sharing too much either.
Strong passwords, or actually passphrases, are now important as ever, while multi-factor authentication should be considered for email, mobile devices and other sensitive sites and devices.
Everyone should be sure to update to the latest security software, but also the latest browsers, operating systems and latest updates to ensure that potential security holes are plugged. Likewise, users should be diligent when connecting to Wi-Fi networks. And those who keep customer or client data should also take increased measures to protect it as well.
Cars, appliances, wearables, lighting, healthcare, and home security all contain sensing devices that can talk to another machine and trigger other actions. Examples include devices that direct your car to an open spot in a parking lot; mechanisms that control energy use in your home; and tools that track eating, sleeping, and exercise habits.
New Internet-connected devices provide a level of convenience in our lives, but they require that we share more information than ever. The security of this information, and the security of these devices, is not always guaranteed. Once your device connects to the Internet, you and your device could potentially be vulnerable to all sorts of risks. With more connected “things” entering our homes and our workplaces each day, it is important that everyone knows how to secure their digital lives.
ASM is proud to provide new educational resources throughout the month of October to help inform, educate, and empower people everywhere.