Because everything needs to have its own month, day, or week of celebration these days, October is Photographer Appreciation Month, Positive Attitude Month, and the month to celebrate and enjoy a variety of foods, including cookies, seafood, pizza, popcorn, and American cheese. On a more serious note, it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness month and, since 2011, Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Since I personally believe that every month should be Cybersecurity Awareness Month, I’m happy to “celebrate” these 31 days by reminding all of you how important it is to safeguard our online resources. This year there are five major themes:
- It’s the fifth-year anniversary of the “STOP. THINK. CONNECT.” campaign. “Stop. Think. Connect.” is a global cybersecurity awareness campaign to help people of all ages stay safer and more secure online. It’s a great tool in particular for children and elderly parents to understand cybersecurity risks and how to protect themselves. I especially like their videos. Haven’t heard of it? Check it out.
- It’s critical to create a culture of cybersecurity at work. Every business—small, large, and multinational—needs to implement a culture of cybersecurity at work. The weakest link of a company’s confidential data and intellectual property is its employees. An internal culture of cybersecurity will ensure that everyone is vigilant to the online threats.
- We must connect communities and families — while staying protected. We’re connected to family and friends 24/7 through social media and mobile technologies. Our family members and friends are at constant risk of falling prey to cybercrime, cyberbullying, email scams, and identity theft. It’s important to teach our kids early about the online risks. Schools are just starting to cover this in high schools. What about elementary and middle schools? They, too, are connected online.
- Our digital lives are evolving. Have you heard of a concept called the “Internet of Things”? It’s the idea that, from cars to medical devices, connected technology is quickly becoming a part of life. Very soon, your alarm clock will also be able to turn on your coffee pot. The more we connect, the more we’re interdependent not only with technology but also with companies and the people developing these technologies. A disruption in one area will impact the rest, and new risks will emerge. For example, if you have a pacemaker, you now have to worry about malicious software.
- We must develop the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. There’s a huge shortage of cybersecurity professionals in our country. Not only do we need cybersecurity technical specialists, but we also need graduates with a broad understanding of the discipline when they enter the workforce. And, of course, we need quality education—until about three years ago, one couldn’t go to college to get a degree in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity concerns everyone—this month and every month. From deploying strong passwords to encrypting the data on your home computer to sharing this article to help make the general population more aware, there are a variety of things we can all do to help safeguard online resources. How about you? What will you do to make the cybersphere safer?