Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Tips to keep you protected.

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This year’s theme, “Do your Part. #BeCyberSmart,” encourages individuals and organizations to take proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity and protect their part of cyberspace.

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Photo Credit: Edmond

October is here and it is now the 17th year since the invention of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM).

According to NBP Media, October is NCSAM, which is a collaborative effort between the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and its public and private partners - including the National Cyber Security Alliance - to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safe and secure online. This year’s theme, “Do your Part. #BeCyberSmart,” encourages individuals and organizations to take proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity and protect their part of cyberspace.

This is a great move considering the fact that we are now digital citizens, however, I believe attackers/cybercrimes don’t go for either a holiday in October or during other months, they are always busy searching for vulnerabilities and more so targeting the human firewall to get unauthorized access to systems so as to commit cybercrimes.

Below are a few reasons why October shouldn't be the only cybersecurity awareness month:

  • Cybercrimes are not only committed during specific months or dates, they happen every second.

  • Ransom attacks are rising globally.

  • All multi-factor authentication (MFA) mechanisms can be compromised.

  • Connected devices are attacked within 5mins by malicious actors once connected to the internet.

  • Cyberstalking cases are on the rise than never before.

  • Identity theft scams and online harassment happens every second.

  • Fake news spreads faster than a biological virus.

  • Recovering from a cyber-attack is very expensive it is estimated that cybercrimes will costs to businesses $8 trillion by 2022

  • 4.2+ billion records are exposed by hackers each year.

  • Old-school awareness training does not hack it anymore. Your email filters have an average 7-10% failure rate; you need a strong human firewall as your last line of defense.

  • Cybercriminals don't send notifications prior to any attack

In regards to the above, cybersecurity should be everyone's responsibilities and by practicing a few of the tips below, and remaining vigilant, you are doing your part to protect yourself online:

  • Think before you click.

  • Think privacy.

  • Share with care.

  • Review the security and privacy settings of any App/software you download.

  • Think security.

  • Change your passwords frequently -remember your password is the only line of defense between you and the attacker.

  • Regularly update your operating system.

  • If you connect it, protect it.

  • Always remember that you are a target of hackers.

  • Before downloading anything from the internet, ensure that it is from a trusted source.

  • Post online only that you are comfortable sharing offline.

  • Be cyber aware.

  • Respect digital rights, copyright, and intellectual property rights.

  • Be cyber smart i.e. practice basic cyber-hygiene.

  • Avoid peer-to-peer file sharing sites.

Conclusion

Every month should be a cyber awareness MONTH because we can only achieve this through continuous advocacy for all and since all efforts are geared towards creating awareness, we can borrow from a proverb by Benjamin Franklin goes - 'Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.' Cybersecurity professionals have a big role to play to make a real impact.

 

About the author

This article was originally published here by Veronica Rose, a certified Information Systems Auditor and an Author.

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