Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020: ‘Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart’

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Launched in October of 2004 by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity Awareness Month is about increasing our awareness of cybersecurity threats and our ability to respond to them. This year’s theme is ‘Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart’, and its emphasis is on helping businesses and individuals take control of their cyber defense. In essence, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is about getting everyone to be cyber savvy and helping them obtain the resources they need to defend themselves against cyber crime.

Becoming cyber-savvy

The first step towards becoming cyber savvy is to improve awareness of the unrelenting and ever-expanding cyber threat landscape. Every person and every business that uses the Web must understand not only the importance of making their experience there safe but also how to make it safe. This starts with continual engagement in a cybersecurity culture, whether on the professional or personal level.

Creating a cybersecurity culture

Since National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is accompanied by a significant increase in cybersecurity outreach and training, now is an excellent time to use these resources to encourage engagement and awareness. For example, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) website has a list of cybersecurity tips and additional resources as well as free social media posts and graphics for promoting cybersecurity awareness. Another helpful site is MediaPro Cybersecurity and Privacy Education, which is offering a free toolkit for cybersecurity professionals who want to help their employees stay cyber smart. Or check out Infosec for its free cybersecurity awareness training resources offered during the month of October.

Obtaining the cybersecurity tools

The next step towards becoming cyber savvy is obtaining and using the cybersecurity tools needed to defend your data and devices. A password manager is a good place to start. A password manager encrypts your password database and lets you automatically log into the websites you regularly use, but instead of having to remember all of your passwords and worry about their security, the password manager keeps them secure and you only have to remember the master password of your password manager. 

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are another important cybersecurity tool. A VPN provides you with privacy, anonymity and safety online by creating a secure, encrypted connection between your private and public network. In this way, you can surf and browse privately; your online activity is hidden from cyber criminals and even your own Internet Service Provider, assuring data privacy and security. 

And then there is two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a method of confirming users’ identity by requiring two different authentication factors to verify that the users are who they say they are. 2FA relies on the user providing a first factor credential, usually a password, and a second factor credential such as a security token.  2FA adds an additional layer of security because it makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access into users’ devices through brute force attacks.  Brute force attacks are when a bad actor takes a trial and error approach to figuring out a user’s password and submits many passwords until the right one is eventually found. In 2020 80% of data breaches occurred either due to stolen credentials or brute force attacks.

One of the most important cybersecurity tools you can have, however, is an antivirus. Whether you need to protect your home computer or your business computers, a powerful antivirus solution is a must.

How antivirus protect your computers

Advanced antivirus software rely on several different technologies for detecting existing as well as new and emerging viruses. These include signature-based, heuristic-based, and behavioral-based detection methods and they are extremely effective in detecting and removing known and zero-day threats. With this technology antivirus software can protect users and businesses from ransomware, Trojans, phishing, DDoS attacks and other malware. Advanced antivirus solutions can also provide camera and microphone protection, anti-tracking protection, and secure browsing so that you, your data, and your employees are safe from prying digital eyes. Antivirus solutions are your first line of defense in the fight against cyber crime. Without one, all of your data is vulnerable.

Doing your part to be cyber smart

The astounding number of cyber threats that individuals and businesses are exposed to every day and the enormity of the consequences of such an attack are truly staggering. Every day thousands of people experience some type of security compromise because they didn’t maintain a property cybersecurity posture. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is dedicated to raising awareness of the urgency and gravity of cyber crime. If you use the Internet, it isn’t an option to ignore cybersecurity; it’s incumbent upon all of us to do our part and be cyber smart.