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This Cybersecurity Awareness Month #BeCyberSmart

Cybersecurity Awareness

Cybersecurity Awareness Month, earlier known as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) falls in October every year. Now in its 18th year, the Month aims to spread awareness on cybersecurity and the best practices across various industries and stakeholders. Since its inception by CISA and the NSCS in 2004, the overarching theme of this initiative has been “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” 

The initiative encourages “individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace, stressing personal accountability and the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity. “ 

Like every year, even in 2021, individual weeks will have a separate and relevant theme. These are:  

  • Week of October 4 (Week 1): Be Cyber Smart. 
  • Week of October 11 (Week 2): Phight the Phish! 
  • Week of October 18 (Week 3): Explore. Experience. Share. – Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week 
  • Week of October 25 (Week 4): Cybersecurity First 
Proclamation by the POTUS 

Joe Biden, President of the United States (POTUS), began the commemoration of Cybersecurity Awareness Week with a Proclamation. In the proclamation, the POTUS highlighted the rise of ransomware attacks against US businesses and the critical infrastructure. He also highlighted how the Biden administration recently released the national security memorandum on “Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems“.” He also wrote about the 100-day initiative to improve cybersecurity in the electric sector. He also convened with corporate, nonprofit, and educational leaders to discuss strategies to protect their industries and infrastructure against cyberattacks. 

“During Cybersecurity Awareness Month, I ask everyone to “Do Your Part. Be Cyber Smart“.” All Americans need to be aware of cybersecurity best practices to reduce cyber risks. Whether you are at home, school, or the office — a few simple steps can help keep you and your online data safe and secure. By limiting the amount of personal information shared online, regularly updating devices and software, and using complex passwords and multifactor authentication methods, our entire Nation will be more resilient against the constant threat of malicious cyber actors,” the POTUS said.  

Biden administration has also launched StopRansomware.gov as a resource for Americans to educate themselves on the dangers of ransomware, methods of detection, and what to do if their device is infected. 

 

States and other Entities Participating in Cybersecurity Awareness Month 

Maryland Governor Hogan on Cybersecurity Awareness Month in Maryland 

Not only the President, but several Governors also sprang into action to talk about the need for better cybersecurity awareness, marking Cybersecurity Awareness Month.  

“Across the country, Americans face a heightened risk of cyber-attacks. This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we commit to remaining vigilant against the threats we face, and we thank all security professionals protecting us around the clock “,” said Maryland Governor Hogan in his proclamation 

“Maryland forges partnerships between and among military commands and federal agencies, companies in our state and around the world, and academia to identify and solve the cyber challenges facing our nation, foster the ’industry’s growth, and create jobs in Maryland,“ he also added.  

Mayor John Cooper weighs on the importance of cybersecurity 

Mayor John Cooper also signed a proclamation recognizing the importance of the Month and all efforts to improve the cybersecurity of Nashville. 

According to him, this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month’s main weekly focus areas will revolve around: 

  • Understanding and implementing basic cyber hygiene, including the importance of strong passphrases, using multi-factor authentication, performing software updates, and backing up data. 
  • Recognizing and reporting phishing attempts, whether it is through email, text messages, or chat boxes. 
  • Empowering individuals to not only practice safe online behavior but consider joining the mission of securing our online world by considering a career in cybersecurity! 
  • Making cybersecurity a priority in business by making products and processes ““secure by design” “and considering cybersecurity when purchasing new internet-connected devices. 
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, kicks off monthlong campaign 

The 88th Communications Squadron’s Cybersecurity Office has joined the cause for better cybersecurity marking Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As part of this, volunteers from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will share their knowledge on cybersecurity and cyberattacks. The various topics for these series of virtual classes include phishing, spamming, and even malware.  

FBI releases Cyber Safety Tips 

Marking Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the FBI has released a series of cyber safety tips. These are:  

  • Keep software systems up to date and use a good anti-virus program. 
  • Examine the email address and URLs in all correspondence. Scammers often mimic a legitimate site or email address by using a slight variation in spelling. 
  • If an unsolicited text message, email, or phone call asks you to update, check, or verify your account information, do not follow the link provided in the message itself or call the phone numbers provided in the message. Go to the company’s website to log into your account or call the phone number listed on the official website to see if something does in fact need your attention. 
  • Do not open any attachments unless you are expecting the file, document, or invoice and have verified the sender’s email address. 
  • Scrutinize all electronic requests for a payment or transfer of funds. 
  • Be extra suspicious of any message that urges immediate action. 
  • Confirm requests for wire transfers or payment in person or over the phone as part of a two-factor authentication process. Do not verify these requests using the phone number listed in the request for payment. 
Importance of Cyber Awareness  

It is imperative and essential for every citizen of this country, take precautions against these acts of crime and terror. The first step towards the fight begins with every individual doing their part by practicing basic cyber hygiene. Awareness of what are these steps is the aim of this initiative. 

We at Alliant Cybersecurity also support this initiative. We will do our bit to make this vital initiative an enormous success. Let us all share the various cyber hygiene tips and practices with #BeCyberSmart to maximize the reach and impact. 

Augustin Kurian

Augustin Kurian is the Associate Manager for Cyber Reports at Alliant Cybersecurity, an infosec subsidiary of the alliantgroup. In his role he is responsible for producing content, preparing the content strategies for the division, and ensure all the editorial guidelines and policies are met.

Prior to that, he was the Assistant Editor of a popular cybersecurity magazine where he specialized in news, cybersecurity analysis, and interviewed eminent personalities in the infosec space.

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