The Importance of National Cyber Security Awareness Month

There are a host of important causes and events that need to remain in the public consciousness, but all too often they can be overlooked in the busyness of everyday life. That’s why it’s important to not only raise widespread awareness of important issues but also to devote a segment of structured time to focusing on those issues.

For the agencies tasked with protecting the public from cyber threats, October is dedicated to raising awareness of this crime. It’s about informing the public and helping them see the need to pay careful attention to personal data safety, cyber security, and identity theft prevention. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, hosted by StaySafeOnline.org through the National Cybersecurity Alliance and its sponsors, is particularly important in terms of letting people know about the threat and what they can do to protect themselves.

Each week in October will focus on a different aspect of personal security, such as the basics of internet safety, workplace security, cybercrime prevention, protecting yourself in a changing world of constant connectivity, and what all citizens need to understand about the internet as a public infrastructure.

Live NCSAM events are held around the country throughout the month, and additional online events are staged to connect individual consumers with experts from across various cybersecurity fields. These events are critical when it comes to staying up-to-date on the most recent information and policy changes.

The real takeaway from the month-long observance of security awareness is to translate the information and preventive measures into good habits that consumers put in place all year long. Preventing data breaches, hacking, and identity theft aren't limited to a single month but are a part of daily life. Just as you think to lock your doors before leaving home or make sure you’ve turned off the stove, making certain that your data is as secure as it can be should be just another facet of self-protection.

But there’s another far more important piece of the cybersecurity puzzle, one you may not have thought of before and that’s the toll cybercrime takes on its victims. The Identity Theft Resource Center’s annual Aftermath study, which will be released on October 17, 2016, is based on victim surveys, and it explores the physical, emotional, and financial impact of identity theft and cyber crimes. This report not only helps policymakers and law enforcement get a better picture of this crime, but it also arms advocates and individuals alike with valuable real-world responses from victims who’ve been affected.

To find out more about NCSAM, visit StaySafeOnline.org, and visit the ITRC’s victim support services at IDTheftCenter.org. Remember, you don’t have to wait for an event to come to you. Work with your local agencies and resources to stage your own cyber security awareness event, and help spread the word about this common danger.

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