Cybersecurity is Everyone’s Responsibility
October is renowned for baseball playoffs, market swoons, and Halloween. Since 2003, October has also been recognized as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCASM). Its goal is to raise awareness of cybersecurity and ensure all Americans have the resources they need to protect their identities and assets online.
This year’s theme – Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.– focuses on citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security. With major trends at work like BYOD and the fact that hackers frequently target companies through employees, it’s a good idea for all organizations to download the NCASAM 2019 Toolkit and help promote employee responsibility.
In this post, we’ll highlight this year’s theme and whet your appetite for action.
2019 increased the focus on two areas: Internet of Things (IoT) and privacy. Cars, appliances, smart devices, home assistants, and more are all connected to the Internet and present a security risk. Nearly half of Americans surveyed feel their personal information is less secure than five years ago. California has already taken steps to protect citizen privacy. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will take effect on January 1, 2020.
It’s time to Own IT. For all devices that connect to the Internet, set your security software to run regular scans and turn on automatic updates. Lock your device when you’re not using it, even if you just step away for a few minutes. Increase your privacy by disabling location services that allow anyone to see where you are.
At work and home, we’re vulnerable to hackers. It only takes a moment of human weakness or curiosity to click on a link that leads to phishing or ransomware. If you open a suspicious email, refrain from clicking on a link. Hover over the suspect hyperlink and see if the address at the bottom of the browser window is questionable. If you have any doubt, type in the web address in a new browser window.
Or go one better—Secure IT. That starts with creating strong passwords. One tip is to use a long passphrase like a news headline or a trip destination with punctuation and capitalization. It’s easier to remember and more secure. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure only you have access to your accounts. Do not share personally identifiable information (PII) with unknown parties or over unsecured networks.
We cannot forget that we have a lot to protect, from the company crown jewels and our networked homes to our individual privacy and collective identity. In 2018, U.S. businesses had the largest number of data breaches ever recorded. More and more Americans control their home environments with their voices and phones. Who’s capturing the data and what is their aim? Foreign influencers seek to divide us or instill anger or apathy with social media bots.
Your action plan—Protect IT. Rely on technology that provides continuous monitoring of assets and networks, so that you can be alerted of vulnerabilities or threats. Is your home Wi-Fi and networked devices secure? They’re not if you’re using the factory-set default password. When on social media networks, be more aware of intention and ownership. Is the post trying to stir up controversy? Is the author a credible source? Be mindful of persuasion and motive.
October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness is the last one of the decade. For the past ten years, cybercrime has proliferated and transformed globally. We’re more equipped than ever. We’re also under threat more than ever. That’s why it’s imperative that your organization must do its part to bring awareness to cybersecurity by downloading the NCASAM 2019 Toolkit and contributing your voices by using the hashtags #BeCyberSmart and #CyberAware.
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