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The History and Observance of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

by Erik Briceno

October is officially designated as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. If you haven’t heard of it yet, that’s quite alright, because today we’ll be delving into its history, why it exists and how you can best observe it.

When Did Cybersecurity Awareness Month Start?

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month started back in 2004. It was first launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in October of that year as a broad effort to help all Americans stay safer and more secure online.

How Did Cybersecurity Awareness Month Start?

NCAM originally had slightly more humble beginnings. When it first started, the awareness efforts centered around simple advice like updating your antivirus software twice a year in the same way you might change batteries in smoke alarms during Daylight Saving time. Small, generic tips like that make little sense today of course. But since then, combined efforts of NCSA and DHS have taken place over the years, and the month has grown in both reach and participation. It now includes multiple industries that engage customers, employees and the general public in awareness — as well as college campuses, nonprofits and other various groups.

How Can You Observe Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

In order to observe National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) would like everyone in the U.S. to take heed of the following:

Cybersecurity at Work

Businesses face significant financial loss when a cyberattack occurs. Cybercriminals often rely on human error — employees failing to install software patches or clicking on malicious links — to gain access to systems. From the top leadership to the newest employee, cybersecurity requires everyone to keep their data, customers, and capital safe and secure.

Cybersecurity While Traveling

In a world where we are constantly connected, cybersecurity cannot be limited to the home or office. When you’re traveling, whether domestic or international, it is always important to practice safe online behavior and take proactive steps to secure internet-enabled devices. The more we travel, the more we are at risk for cyberattacks.

Identity Theft and Internet Scams

Today’s technology allows us to connect around the world, to bank and shop online, and to control our televisions, homes and cars from our smartphones. With this added convenience comes an increased risk of identity theft and internet scams.

Multi-factor Authentication

You should be using multi-factor authentication, also called strong authentication, or two-factor authentication. This technology may already be familiar to you, as many banking and financial institutions require both a password and one of the following to log in: a call, email or text containing a code. By applying these principles of verification to more of your personal accounts, such as email, social media and more, you can better secure your information and identity online.

Online Privacy

The History and Observance of National Cybersecurity Awareness MonthThe internet touches almost all aspects of our daily lives. We are able to shop, bank, connect with family and friends, and handle our medical records all online. These activities require you to provide personally identifiable information (PII) such as your name, date of birth, account numbers, passwords and location information.

Passwords

Creating a strong password is an essential step to protecting yourself online. Using long and complex passwords is one of the easiest ways to defend yourself from cybercrime.

Phishing

Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to infect your machine with malware and viruses in order to collect personal and financial information. Cybercriminals attempt to lure users to click on a link or open an attachment that infects their computers, creating vulnerability to attacks. Phishing emails may appear to come from a real financial institution, e-commerce site, government agency, or any other service, business, or individual. The email may also request personal information such as account numbers, passwords or Social Security numbers. When users respond with the information or click on a link, attackers use it to access users’ accounts.

 

Cybersecurity needs to be practiced all year long, rather than simply one month a year. But October is as good a time as any to remember the basics. And for year-round guidance and 24/7 protection, you can rely on us.

 

Since 1995, Manassas Park, VA-based V2 Systems has employed local systems administrators, network engineers, security consultants, help desk technicians and partnering companies to meet a wide range of clients’ IT needs, from research, to implementation, to maintenance. Concentrate on your VISION…We’ll handle the TECHNOLOGY!

ebriceno
About ebriceno
Erik Briceño is the owner of V2 Systems, Inc., one of Northern Virginia’s leading Information Technology Managed Service Providers. He is an inspiring leader for its employees and instrumental business partner for its customers. He is passionate about V2’s purpose, dedicated to exceeding expectations and a consummate professional not afraid of jumping in and getting his hands dirty. Prior to joining V2 Systems in 2002, Erik was a co-founder and COO of Ampcast.com, a leading provider of online resources servicing over 5,000 independent musical artists. At Ampcast.com, Erik spearheaded all aspects of corporate development, funding, strategic vision, and business development for the firm. From 1997 to 1999 Erik held the position of Acoustic Systems Engineer for Electric Boat Corporation, a leading defense contractor. In this role, Erik was responsible for the acoustic fidelity of two noise critical systems and components in the US Navy’s nuclear submarine systems. Erik holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Business Administration from George Mason University. When not working, you will find Erik a dedicated family man, raising two young children with his lovely wife Karen. Together, they enjoy building legos, playing baseball, skiing, riding horses, swimming, traveling, and fixing up old Mopars.
The History and Observance of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
The History and Observance of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month