As well as being a time to enjoy pumpkin-flavored everything, trick-or-treating and hayrides, October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). Don’t be haunted by the specter of a cybersecurity breach this season—get involved in NCSAM today!
What is NCSAM?
NCSAM was launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in October 2004. Its mission? To educate and empower the global digital society to use the internet safely and securely. More specifically, the program aims to equip members of the public with the tools they need to stay safe and secure online. In just one example of the exponential growth that NCSAM has experienced since its inception, the NCSAM-affiliated STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ campaign is celebrating its eighth anniversary in 2018.
Every year, NCSAM highlights several capstone concepts, such as:
- Keep a clean machine
- Protect your personal information
- Connect with care
- Be web-wise
- Be a good online citizen
- Own your online presence
- Lock down your login
Throughout the month of October, NCSAM will be rolling out weeklong themes, activities and resources for individuals and businesses to utilize. You can learn more about the history of NCSAM by visiting StaySafeOnline.org, an official site powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance.
Theme for NCSAM 2018
In 2018, NCSAM aims to shine a spotlight on how critical it is to build a strong and cybersecure workforce that will ensure our country’s critical infrastructure is protected for all who use it, from individuals and families to businesses and communities. In keeping with this goal, this year’s overall theme is “Our Shared Responsibility.” As the official NCSAM site states:
“No individual, business or government entity is solely responsible for securing the internet. Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. Individual actions have a collective impact and when we use the internet safely, we make it more secure for everyone. If each of us does our part – implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating young people or training employees – together we will be a digital society safer and more resistant from attacks and more resilient if an attack occurs.”
A week-by-week guide to NCSAM
Each of NCSAM 2018’s four weeklong sub-themes highlights a different aspect of cybersecurity. These themes are broken down as follows:
- Week 1, Oct. 1 to Oct. 5: Make your home a haven for online safety
- Safe cybersecurity practices aren’t only for the office, but many of us forget to apply them while in the home. With this in mind, Week 1 will teach basic cybersecurity essentials that families can deploy to protect their homes against threats.
- Week 2, Oct. 8 to Oct. 12: Educating for a career in cybersecurity
- Although the tech industry is booming, professional interest in the relatively new field of cybersecurity remains comparatively low—and with breaches on the upswing, cybersecurity experts are in higher demand than ever. Week 2 will focus on how to motivate the next generation to embark on careers in cybersecurity.
- Week 3, Oct. 15 to Oct. 19: It’s everyone’s job to ensure online safety at work
- No matter your industry, cybersecurity in the workplace is critical to your company’s success and integrity. Week 3 will detail educating your employees, integrating safe cybersecurity strategies into your business and more.
- Week 4, Oct. 22 to Oct. 26: Safeguarding the nation’s critical infrastructure
- With everything from food to healthcare dependent on the nation’s critical infrastructure, a breach at the national level is sure to have severe consequences. But don’t despair—Week 4 will help you get informed about what the public can do to help.
How to get involved
The NCSAM website is full of ways to get involved in cybersecurity awareness at home, at work, at school and out in the community. StaySafeOnline.org has built out an extensive resources section where you can access infographics, trainings, printable posters, tip sheets, fact sheets and talking points, along with a multitude of reusable promotional items such as text for social posts and logos.
If you want to do more, why not sign up to become an official NCSAM Champion? It’s free, easy to apply, and is something you can do on your own or on behalf of your school, government organization or company. You can also become an official STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Partner.
For information on conferences, webinars, live chats and more, check out the month long calendar of events covering all four themes at locations across the country as well as online, and don’t forget to join MyITpros on Twitter to #ChatSTC every Thursday at 2 p.m. CST. Each week, we’ll cover topics pertaining to that week’s sub-theme—first up, online safety in the home and how to teach best practices to family members of all ages. Hope to see you there!