What is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month?
Launched 16 years ago as a joint effort between the NCSA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month occurs every October and is intended to help ensure that everyone has access to the information and the resources that they need in order to become digitally safer and more secure.
This year the theme for National Cyber Security Awareness Month is “Do your part. #BeCyberSmart.” This theme is meant to empower individuals and businesses to take control of their own data security and do what they can to make themselves as cybersecure as possible.
Each week has its own unique theme to help bring awareness to key security topics:
Week 1: “If You Connect It, Protect It”
Internet-connected devices, like mobile phones, laptops, and video game systems, have impacted every aspect of our lives and made the line between our digital and personal experiences almost indistinguishable. As more devices are added to various networks, the risk of security vulnerabilities increase. Here are simple steps everyone can take to protect their internet connected devices at home or at the office:
- Update operating systems on computers and devices
- Never re-use passwords and consider more complex passphrases
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication on all applications
Week 2: “Securing Devices at Home and Work”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major disruption in the way that many of us interact, pushing many in-person activities online. As a result, our homes and business are more connected than ever. The increase in people who are working from home means that home and business lives are colliding on scale that we have never seen before. With this rapid change came an increase in cybercriminal activity that has affected many. There are tangible steps that users and organizations can take to better protect their interconnected devices both for professional and personal use:
- Learn how to avoid a phishing attack
- Choose applications carefully and know what permissions they have
- Get best practices for securing your mobile device
Week 3: “Securing Internet-Connected Devices in Healthcare”
More than ever, the healthcare industry is relying on internet-connected devices and solutions to improve everything from patient care to the speed of crisis response. With the 2020 pandemic, health care services are now offered digitally; things like telemedicine, apps for patient wellness, digital health records, and many more services are moving more of the healthcare industry online. While these new technologies have brought many benefits, they have also exposed the healthcare industry to new vulnerabilities that cybercriminals regularly attempt to exploit. Patients utilizing telemedicine can utilize many of the basic tips outlined above to protect internet-connected devices, but medical services like hospitals and doctor offices will need a deeper awareness of where their cybersecurity posture stands, and next steps for improvement.
- Have an updated Technology & Data Use Policy
- Create or update your Incident Response Plan
- Consider a Phishing Simulation program
Week 4: “The Future of Connected Devices”
As new connected technologies emerge, including the 5G network, faster data transmissions and the ability to do more in real-time could lead to accelerated attacks by hackers. Technology will always evolve, but many connected devices may not keep up with the latest security standards. As you employ new systems, applications and devices, it is important to actively monitor your cybersecurity strength, and have the means to identify and quickly remediate against sophisticated cyber threats.
- Make cybersecurity an ongoing strategy, not just a project
- Understand the risks and fixes of your current cybersecurity posture
- Establish best practices for managing overall cybersecurity health
Throughout National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Defendify will be sending weekly tips and tricks that will help small and mid-sized business strengthen their cybersecurity posture!
Want to get even more? Check out our webinar: The ABC’s of Cybersecurity and Strategies to Build a Strong Cybersecurity Posture to learn how cyber threats have evolved, and what security vulnerabilities every company should look out for.