#BeCyberSmart this National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

The National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security launched National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October 2004. Since then, the government and companies across all industries have been doing their part in educating employees, customers, partners, and other important stakeholders on the importance of online security. Some of the most popular campaigns include Our Shared Responsibility and Stop. Think. Connect. The theme for Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020 is Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.

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What’s special this year?

Today we all live in a well-connected world where our online and offline lives are intertwined. If we all do our part in protecting our cyberspace with strong security policies, community-level awareness, and periodic employee training, our tightly-connected world will be a safer and more resilient place for everyone both online and offline. The National Cyber Security Alliance is planning to focus on the following areas:

  • If you connect it, protect it

  • Securing devices at home and work

  • Secure internet-connected healthcare devices

  • The future of connected devices

If you connect it, protect it

We use a plethora of internet-connected devices in our everyday lives, both at home and at work. Some of the most popular devices include smartphones, laptops, voice-based assistants, smart locks, and doorbell cameras. We need to identify all of the internet-connected devices we use, analyze their impact on our security, and take steps to reduce the risks.

Securing devices at home and work

With this year’s rapid adoption of the work-from-home model, our homes and business environments are colliding with each other. Some common problematic scenarios include personal devices being used for work, public Wi-Fi networks, data leakage, social engineering attacks, SIM swap frauds, poor password hygiene, and kids using office devices, but there are a lot more. We need simple and effective best practices for work-from-home security defined by companies operating in this particular space to educate employees and their families.

Securing internet-connected healthcare devices

The medical and healthcare industry has been disrupted by technological innovations like wearable health monitoring devices, fitness apps, virtual reality, telemedicine, and 3D printing. Both government agencies and private parties are operating with access to individuals’ personal healthcare data, which encourages cybercriminals to attempt breaches. Most of us are unaware of the risks related to exposing our personal healthcare information, but there are some simple ways we can be safer, including:

  • Accept the free medical services only after reading their privacy policy

  • Verifying that our digital healthcare records are accurate

  • Storing and managing medical records securely

  • Reporting possible fraud immediately to the appropriate helpline

The future of connected devices

By 2030, experts predict that each person will own 15 connected devices. We are already considering possibilities such as 5G, self-driving cars, smart cities, extended reality, and artificial intelligence. All of these technological advancements mean an increased attack surface for cybercriminals. We need to empower ourselves to secure our data and the online world.

How can you participate?

If you would like to make a difference during Cybersecurity Awareness Month, you can try the following at home, at work, and in your community:

  • Post online security tips and reminders on your social networks with the #BeCyberSmart hashtag. The National Cybersecurity Alliance offers some sample social media posts and graphics.

  • Write your own blog around the topic If you connect it, protect it.

  • Promote Cyber Security Awareness Month in your emails and newsletters

  • Host free training and educational sessions

  • Create and promote educational resources on online security

  • Define and enforce security policies

Take the first step. Join the National Cybersecurity Alliance this year to promote online safety, and follow them on Twitter to keep yourself updated. We are also planning to share tips and best practices for staying safe online to support the movement and do our part.


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