Are You Aware of Your Cybersecurity? — National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Take some time to protect your personal information and your organization

It’s shaping up to be an October like none other. With a pandemic still cycling and a contentious election putting everyone on edge, it’s easy to feel like everything is scary and out of control. Why not use October to focus on something you can control—your information security?

But really? A month dedicated to cybersecurity awareness? If Cybersecurity Awareness Month seems to you on a par with National Pizza Month (also October) or Arr-gust: International Pirate Month, then it might be time to pay a little more attention the upcoming PlexTrac blogs.

What's the Point of NCSAM?

On the other hand, maybe having an awareness month for cybersecurity sounds like beating a dead horse—especially after the hundredth training module at work. Perhaps you are an expert with different forty-character passwords on every account and multi-factor authentication on every device. In that case, it might be time to brush up on your facts and become an advocate for your IT department.

Or maybe you are the IT specialist, constantly hounding your colleagues to lock their screen at their workstations and to stop opening suspicious attachments. You are already weary of their eye rolling, and now you have to put up with it over Zoom meetings—where they aren’t using the VPN. You need some new ways to get through.

The National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security collaborate on Cybersecurity Awareness Month each year in October in an attempt to combat the very real and growing threat to our personal and collective information security.

Telling Statistics that Speak to the Importance of NCSAM

Did you know that?

  • 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error,
  • There is a hacker attack every 39 seconds,
  • The average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150 million,
  • In 2018 hackers stole half a billion personal records, and
  • Once plugged into the internet, connected devices are attacked within 5 minutes and targeted by specific exploits in 24 hours (NETSCOUT)?

With these statistics in mind, a month dedicated to cybersecurity awareness seems like a very good idea. In fact, it is probably more relevant this year than ever before. The very things drawing all our attention and increasing our anxiety—COVID-19 and the election season—are also making us more vulnerable online. People are working from home at unprecedented rates using technology in new ways in unsecured locations. Voting procedures are changing, dramatically in some places, and questions about the security of our election procedures from threats both inside and outside our county are in the news every day.

NCSAM is About Taking Easy Precautions to Make a Big Difference

Before you despair entirely, remember that when it comes to cybersecurity, at least, you can make a big difference for yourself and your organization by taking a few relatively easy precautions. Though the threat is insidious, you have tools and tactics at your disposal to protect your personal information and your company’s data in ways that will save money and reduce chaos online.

PlexTrac, the purple teaming platform, is dedicated to streamlining cybersecurity work through collaboration. This month we will be sharing weekly content to help all of us—whether cybersecurity professionals or average internet user—work together to protect our information and improve our security posture.

So, before you crack out that story idea for November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), tune in this month for tips and reminders on how to keep that novel—and the rest of your valuable personal information—secure.

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