Before we carve pumpkins and dress up for Halloween, October brings an important awareness campaign: Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This year marks two decades of promoting stronger digital safety habits across the globe.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a 31-day reminder that protecting your online presence can be both important and a little bit spooky. The month calls upon businesses, schools, and families to counteract cyber ghouls' sinister attempts to breach their data and steal their identities.
In a recent SecureWorld Remote Sessions webcast, Jennifer Cook, Senior Director of Marketing at the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA), discussed the importance of this milestone and the upcoming Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Cook shared:
"Throughout its history, Cybersecurity Awareness Month has been about raising awareness about digital security and empowering everyone to protect their personal data from cybercrime.
Like our mission at the National Cybersecurity Alliance, through this campaign, we want to ensure that organizations have the resources and the communications they need to talk to their employees, customers, or clients about online safety."
One of the essential aspects of Cybersecurity Awareness Month is making cybersecurity accessible to everyone. Cook stressed the importance of avoiding jargon and acronyms in messaging, ensuring that cybersecurity is relatable and approachable. The goal is to provide simple, actionable steps for individuals to protect themselves and their families online.
The webcast also highlighted the importance of extending cybersecurity awareness beyond the workplace. Communities and schools play a significant role in fostering a culture of security. Volunteer efforts to teach online safety are encouraged, with toolkits and resources provided by NCA.
Along with preaching best cybersecurity practices, individuals and organizations are encouraged to become "champions" for Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Champions receive toolkits with resources, including social media posts and graphics, to help spread awareness. Additionally, their names can be listed on the NCA's Stay Safe Online website, and they can provide feedback to enhance future campaigns.
Over the years, Cybersecurity Awareness Month has grown significantly, spanning more than 120 countries and engaging more than 6,000 champions. Its core mission is to inspire behavior change through education and resources.
This year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month will focus on four key behaviors:
- Using strong passwords and a password manager
- Using multifactor authentication (MFA)
- Recognizing and reporting phishing
- Updating software
Cybersecurity awareness is not just a responsibility for individuals; it's a collective effort that involves organizations, communities, and educational institutions. By making cybersecurity education accessible, relatable, and engaging, we can strengthen our digital defenses and create a safer online environment for all.
As October approaches, let's join the champions and take active steps to secure our digital lives.
The Remote Sessions webcast, 20 Years of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, featuring the NCA's Jennifer Cook, is available for on-demand viewing.
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