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Cybersecurity Awareness Month October 2019

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October for many is a month of pumpkins and candy, and this seems pretty legitimate - after all, at the end of the month it’s Halloween! While we’re on the topic of spooky activity, let’s discuss another topic which some may describe as spooky - cyberattacks. Aside from being the month of Halloween for most people out there, it’s also a month dedicated to raising cybersecurity awareness.

With continually evolving cybersecurity threats affecting individuals and businesses alike, the cybersecurity industry has to set a fast pace, but it has become extremely difficult to keep up to date with modern and highly sophisticated threat actors. With this in mind, it’s of crucial importance to educate and inform organizations and their employees about the various ways in which they could improve their cybersecurity and threat prevention strategies. Data protection and online safety has (to) become a top priority, as well as being educated about how to recognise some of the most common cybersecurity attacks such as phishing emails.

Worldwide Campaigns

There are several prominent campaigns around the globe that have cybersecurity awareness in mind. In Europe there is European Cyber Security Month (ECSM), National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is based in the States, and Cyber Security Awareness Month in Canada. All of these initiatives are focused on raising cybersecurity awareness by providing resources to educate people about online safety. In addition to this, these campaigns also provide useful tips that all of us can follow in order to protect our personal and professional data. For example, NCSAM 2019 puts focus on personal accountability and stresses the importance of being proactive to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace. The message this year is – Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. , and the focus will be on areas such as citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security.

These initiatives have many things in common, but the one thing that’s present among all is the message they carry - that we are all responsible for cybersecurity, because we all have a role in some way when it comes to detecting a threat and staying one step ahead of it.

Everyone Is Accountable

Even though this seems to go without saying, still it’s always a good idea to keep in mind even the most obvious and simple things we sometimes tend to forget. On a personal and professional level, some steps of precaution should never be underestimated. Let’s take a quick look.

First and most obvious, it’s high time that every company/organization established a safety protocol, even at the most elementary level. This means employees have to set strong passwords and make sure to change them on a regular basis. Moreover, they have to make sure to check in detail any type of mail they might find suspicious as a phishing attack. In order to do this, they have to know what to look out for, such as attachments, suspicious email addresses, etc.

On the other hand, organizations taken as a whole also have a say in this. They need to provide regular trainings and implement sophisticated security tools and state of the art technologies to help in preventing these attacks (for example, report suspicious emails that might be potential phishing attacks), or possibly, incorporate tools that will help in the incident response process in case an attack is successful.

What You Can Do

If you happen to live/work in Europe, there’s a range of events taking place that are promoting the goals of the above mentioned initiatives, some of which include presentations and roadshows, as well as interactive games. Also, there are a number of key tips and guidance being shared across social media platforms by individuals and organizations.

Final Thoughts

With so many events taking place in Europe right now, this year’s awareness month opts to become the largest one to this day. Take a look at the events here, and see for yourself if there’s one that could fit in your schedule. Moreover, if you would like to participate in any of these, check out the entire list of activities in store for this month. In times when industries are increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats, these initiatives are more than necessary in order to educate stakeholders and increase the awareness of the problem and offer solutions on how to stay safe and secure online.

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