Cyber Security Awareness Month

Cyber Security Awareness Month

October 4, 2018 4 min read

While we’ve been busy worrying about whether robots will take over the world, cybersecurity breaches are expected to cost trillions in damages by 2021.

The National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was instituted in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance to “ensure that every individual stays safe and secure online.”

Today, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) oversees a similar event in Europe, with Norway organizing its own through NorSIS (Norsk senter for informasjonssikring, “The Norwegian Center for Information Security” in English).

But what is cyber security?

Cisco defines cybersecurity as the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. Meanwhile, the Digital Guardian defines it as a body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access.

We’ll just call it self-defense for the digital world.

And what are the main objectives of cyber security?

Dedicating a whole month to cybersecurity might sound excessive. But then again, there are more than 4,000 successful cyber-attacks registered every day, with online scams happening at work and at home. If we weigh in the potential risks and damages, the need for constant cybersecurity awareness becomes painfully evident.

The main goal of cyber security, or information technology security, is to protect computers, systems and networks from attacks and attempts at stealing data or information. Cyber security initiatives also aim to safeguard systems or networks from damage or interruptions in their services, which could be inflicted by attackers with various (and malicious) objectives.

And since our everyday lives are more and more reliant on technology, online platforms, mobile devices and digital services, cybersecurity will keep growing ever more critical. For instance, new mobile technologies like 5G, which promise to increase connectivity between devices, call for an even more robust cybersecurity strategy.

When is National Cyber Security Awareness Month?

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is celebrated every October, on to its 17th edition this 2020. Since its establishment many years ago, NCSAM has been providing toolkits and training to teach the public how to defend themselves against cyber-attacks.

Many themes have been addressed at previous editions of NCSAM. In 2018, for instance, Cybersecurity Awareness Month emphasized cybersecurity as a shared responsibility, for which Homeland Security highlighted four key points, as seen below:

  • Strengthen cybersecurity ecosystems;
  • Tackle cross-cutting, cross-sector crisis as a team;
  • Increase and strengthen cybersecurity workforce across all sectors;
  • Secure critical infrastructure.
The key points of NCSAM 2018.

The current edition of NCSAM’s focus is “If You Connect It, Protect It.” The topics to be promoted along the four weeks of October are related to establishing cybersecure environments for both personal and work devices. Safeguarding healthcare devices connected to the internet is another hot topic, as is the future of connected devices (as we discussed above regarding 5G).

Types of cyber-attacks 

Digital attacks come in all shapes and sizes, targeting anything from computers to networks and having a wide variety of goals behind them. Here is a list of the most common forms of cyberattacks:

  • Ransomware: sometimes, a malicious software called ransomware can kidnap your files and hold them hostage in exchange for money. However, nothing guarantees they will restore the data after payment. Other times, the software might have a more general target in mind. Malware, on the other hand, will try to gain access to your accounts or damage your computer.
  • Phishing: the most common type of cyberattack. Have you ever received an email from a seemingly reputable source, only to find there’s something… fishy about the address? Phishing emails are an attempt to steal sensitive information, be it your credit card or login. Then again, there’s a specific, and more dangerous, type of phishing attack called “spear phishing.” In this type of attack, the email and its contents appear to be completely legitimate, being crafted specially for the recipient.
  • Social engineering: This threat utilizes ransomware or malware, but takes it a step further by tricking its victim into revealing sensitive information, which is then be used for nefarious purposes.

But don’t worry! The good news is that we can avoid many of these attacks by simply being aware of them. That’s NCSAM’s mission, to raise awareness about cyberattacks so you can learn to recognize and avoid them.

The overarching message is that, when it comes to cybercrime, we stand united and fall divided. To emerge victorious, we must prevent breaches at all levels. In the 21st century, we all have to work with the goal of cybersecurity in mind. 

Related posts

How to Use Apple Pay: A Complete Guide

How to Use Apple Pay: A Complete Guide

Apple fans already enjoy a suite of innovative tools for their phones, watches and tablets. Apple Pay, the brand’s approach to swipe-free payments, adds another convenient perk to the list. So, just how does the technology work? And is it safe to use everywhere? We break down the benefits of Apple Pay technology, along with […]

April 4, 2024

7 Money Transfer Scams and How to Avoid Them in 2024

7 Money Transfer Scams and How to Avoid Them in 2024

The ability to easily send money all around the world offers a whole host of benefits. For migrants working abroad, it allows them to safely and affordably support loved ones back home. For students studying overseas, it gives family members a convenient way to ensure they’ve got the resources they need to pay for their […]

December 29, 2023

4 Cybersecurity Tips to Keep Your Data Safe when Travelling

4 Cybersecurity Tips to Keep Your Data Safe when Travelling

Vacations are all about relaxing and forgetting daily responsibilities, but letting your cyber guard down completely could result in consequences far worse than a ruined holiday. When you’re at home or in an office, you often benefit from having a robust internal network as an extra layer of protection. However, the very nature of travel […]

October 27, 2023

Top Security Features of a Digital Wallet

Top Security Features of a Digital Wallet

Shopping, splitting a dinner bill with friends, and sending money to family are now easier than ever thanks to the convenience of a digital wallet. Also called an “e-wallet,” a digital wallet combines the traditional features of a credit or debit card with the benefits of an app. Your account information is kept inside the […]

October 19, 2023