If you’re like most people, you may not think much about cyber security until an incident or event causes you to have to revisit your personal data’s safety. But October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and this is a great time to put forth a little extra effort in making sure that you and your loved ones are as safe as possible and that your personally identifiable information is secure.
The theme of this year’s NCSAM is “Our Shared Responsibility,” as we all have a role to play in protecting our data and our privacy. Now celebrating its eleventh year as a joint effort between consumer-based industries and the US government, NCSAM is an awareness campaign that impacts every single citizen, even those who may not think they lead “internet lives.” Citizens who are less digitally connected than others are still impacted by cybercrime, as it’s a type of crime that takes a toll on our important infrastructures, our economy, and our national security.
So how do you get involved in this important event? The first step is as simple as informing yourself about the issues that all citizens face where cyber security is concerned. Make sure you’re keeping up with reputable news sources and industry watchers, such as through following their social media posts, to stay up-to-date on the current scams and fraudulent activities of cyber criminals.
It’s important to share the news about validated threats with people you know, too. Once you know about cyber security and its tips or threats, make sure you’re sharing that knowledge through your own internet activity. Share important updates on your social media pages, through your email, or through your own website or blog, if you have one.
At your job, you may have company policies that allow personal use of computers and wifi, but has your company considered the implications of having malicious software downloaded to its network by something as simple as an employee opening a link in a personal email? Have you approached anyone in your workplace about the need for greater cyber security awareness and training? If not, now is the time to point supervisors and policymakers to the NCSAM website for information, tips, and even printable materials for the workplace, courtesy of National Cyber Security Alliance.
Cyber security also has to be your focus at home, so it’s a good idea this month to conduct your own security checkup of your personal internet use. Are your accounts well protected with unique, strong passwords? Are you updating those passwords throughout the year to protect your accounts? Are your alerts set in place that will inform you via text or email of fraudulent activity in your online banking, credit cards, online payments systems, and more?
Cybersecurity can’t be something we think about only in October, but by adopting some best practices and safe behaviors now, we can develop habits that protect us all throughout the year. Use this campaign all month long to help establish safer internet use at home and at work.