Each October, National Cyber Security Awareness Month rolls around. Sponsored by the National Cyber Security Division, this month encourages us to approach our digital lives with awareness and caution. The NCSA takes time this month to reach out to Americans with tips for cyber hygiene. Additionally, the NCSA provides educational guides to online security. The month was started in 2014 under the Obama administration. Obama is quoted saying , “Cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers the United States faces”.
National Cyber Security Awareness Month splits into four distinct weeks. Each week revolves around a different theme. To explain, the weeks are designed to break the spectrum of cybersecurity down from the personal to the national. Therefore, below is an outline of the themes with helpful and relevant links.
National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 1: Oct. 1–5: Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety
Week one of National Cyber Security Awareness Month focuses on the the basic practices of cybersecurity. These are the bread and butter of cybersecurity. Therefore, it is important that everyone within your home knows basic cyber hygiene. In the past we have covered this issue a few times, from a few different perspectives. For example:
- Inspecting emails that may be a phishing scam
- Understanding your privacy on social media
- Understanding the risk of public WIFI
- Simple Steps to Web Security
Week 2: Oct. 8–12: Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity
Week two of National Cyber Security Awareness Month will hone in on the talent shortage in the cybersecurity industry. Specifically, the week will cover the many ways that we can encourage the next generation to be capable cybersecurity professionals. This can be both at home and within the schools. For example, some steps you can take include:
- Educating your children on internet safety
- Introducing training programs like the Capture the Flag Hacking program
- Addressing the gender gap in cybersecurity and taking action by pushing programs to get young girls invested.
- Investing in an education in cybersecurity
Week 3: Oct. 15–19: It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work
The third week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month addresses the cyber safety of organizations. All data breaches take place because of poor security in the workplace. However, it is important to note that sometimes, this is a structural error and sometimes it is human error. Such as, the third week may cover topics like:
- Small business cybersecurity on a budget
- Risk mitigation at work
- Employee Reporting
- Network Integrity
Week 4: Oct. 22–26: Safeguarding the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure
Lastly, the fourth week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month will focus on the macro level cybersecurity. The basic infrastructure in which we base our daily lives on are divided into 16 sectors of essential systems. To emphasize, these are the systems that hold the fabric of our nation together. These are the cyber attacks that have lasting impact, that makes the headlines. Therefore, it is fitting to end the month speaking on securing the infrastructure and some topics might include:
- The recent GDPR regulations
- Extremist propaganda and human traffic violations through P2P sharing
- Darknet, terrorist, invite-only channels gathered through social media
- Additionally, a wide range of other issues regarding homeland security
Ultimately, National Cyber Security Awareness Month should be a time where we as a nation come together to truly assess our security. Cybersecurity is important both in our personal lives and on a national level. In conclusion, everyone, from a businesses to your grandmother, need to work to secure their information and stand up for their rights to digital privacy.