Cyber Security Awareness Month is an internationally recognized campaign held each October to inform the public of the importance of cyber security.
America’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) campaign – under leadership from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – has grown exponentially, reaching consumers, small and medium-size businesses, corporations, educational institutions, and young people across the nation.
Cybersecurity begins with a simple message everyone using the Internet can adopt: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Take security and safety precautions, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors online, secure your IoT devices , and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.
NCSA has resources, weekly themes and social media tools to help families, businesses and educators get #CyberAware and involved at staysafeonline.org/ncsam. Follow NCSA on Facebook or on Twitter @STOPTHNKCONNECT and @StaySafeOnline and search #CyberAware for more cyber safety tips and resources.
Canada’s Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM) was created to educate Canadians about Internet security and the simple steps individuals can take to protect themselves online.
And the European Union advocacy campaign European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) aims to raise awareness of cyber security threats, promote cyber security among citizens and organizations; and provide resources to protect themselves online, through education and sharing of good practices.
Whether you use one computer, a smartphone or a massive network, it is critical to keep systems protected from viruses and attacks. Some things you can do include…
- Make sure computers and all wireless devices have current anti-virus and anti-spyware software and firewalls … and schedule them to scan daily or weekly. Also set virus patterns, operating systems and browsers to update automatically. Encourage employees to protect their personal home devices too.
- Set security preferences as high as possible on Internet browsers and anti-virus packages.
- Use a strong password to protect your home wi-fi router and create a “Guest” password for people who visit and need internet access.
- Be aware some flash drives may have trojans or viruses, or be used to copy sensitive data off secure systems, so consider limiting access to critical files and/or systems.
- Although it is best to not open emails or attachments from unknown sources, that’s not feasible in the business world. But implement precautionary procedures like having employees save attached files into a temp directory and scan them before opening.
- Discourage accessing financial institutions from mobile devices using apps or email links. Instead, visit banking and credit card sites directly using a browser window.
- Be aware there are lots of “scareware” scams online! Do NOT download or click on a screen that says it found “X number of viruses or spyware on your system” suggesting you download their package — it will most likely be a virus.
- Use long passwords (using both numbers and letters [and special characters if possible]) on banking, social media and other systems, change them often, and don’t share them with others.
- Backup data often and keep a daily or weekly backup off-site.
- Make sure someone knows how to download patches or fixes in case a computer or system gets infected. And have a backup plan in case that person (or team) is not available.
- If your business is hacked, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov
- Stay current on cyber threats by joining DHS’s US Computer Emergency Readiness Team www.us-cert.gov and visit NCSA’s www.staysafeonline.org
Please share these resources with others and post your #CyberAware tips in comments below.
Happy, safe surfing, j & B