Highlights from National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)

12/07/2016 02:21 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2017

Every October, businesses, government agencies, universities, associations, nonprofit organizations, and individuals from around the country come together to participate in National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) to promote online safety and awareness. Rooted in the belief that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, NCSAM seeks to create discussions around some of the most pressing security challenges. This year was no exception, with topics like the Internet of Things (IoT), business security, and the newest threats in cybercrime taking center stage. If you missed the action last month, get up to speed with our recap below:

How to Make Online Safety Approachable and Accessible to All

A major theme of NCSAM this month was the importance of breaking the common consumer notion that cybersecurity is daunting, or out of reach. However, there are basic security measures consumers can adopt that take just a few minutes to execute. Some quick and easy tips we stress time and time again at CSID are creating long and strong passwords, turning on two-factor authentication whenever possible, opting in to software updates, regularly checking privacy settings across social media accounts, and resisting the urge to overshare on these accounts.

Bringing Cybersecurity from the Break Room to the Board Room

Cyber-attacks are a growing threat for businesses both large and small. With Symantec reporting a 55 percent jump in spear-phishing campaigns targeting employees in 2015, it’s no wonder this was an area of focus for NCSAM this year. We weighed in with other organizations on the importance of educating all employees on safe workplace practices, implementing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and remote working policies, as well as creating a cybersecurity policy and data breach response plan.

Recognizing the Latest Threats in Cybercrime

The third week of NCSAM focused on frequent cyber threats and risks, including phishing attacks, ransomware, malware and viruses. While cyber threats continue to evolve, it’s important to recognize the latest threats and how to mitigate your risk. When it comes to phishing attacks, for example, avoid clicking on suspicious links and be leery of “too good to be true” deals or requests for sensitive information. Other threats, like malware and viruses, can be mitigated through regular updates for security software, web browsers, and operating systems.

Navigating Your Continuously Connected Life

Our everyday lives are more connected to digital technologies than ever before. Gartner predicts that by 2020, we can expect 21 billion IoT devices. With IoT devices being produced at a rapid pace, not all developers are prioritizing security, leaving the possibility for security holes or vulnerabilities. Whether interacting with a wearable, smart fridge, or vehicle, it’s important for consumers to understand how their data is being collected and stored. Secure password practices are also critical, as connected devices may serve as the gateway to other sensitive accounts.

It’s on all of us to ensure a more secure future for our families, coworkers, businesses, and ourselves. By understanding the simple, but necessary steps we need to take to stay secure, creating a culture of cybersecurity at work, and staying ahead of the latest threats through education and awareness, we can all play an active role in this shared mission. We look forward to taking the lessons learned from NCSAM this year and applying them, and can’t wait to see what next year brings.

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