October is here. For most of us in the US cybersecurity industry, it’s the month when we commemorate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). For those who are unfamiliar with this campaign, NCSAM generally aims at driving awareness for safe Internet use, whether you’re a regular consumer or top security executive. Protecting the Internet and keeping it safe is our shared responsibility.
And that’s why we at Malwarebytes not only pledge to provide the best protection for our home and business customers. We also commit ourselves to fostering cybersecurity education and awareness for all. Labs security researchers and writers are on the front lines every day, scouring the Internet for threats and reporting them, as well as how you can stay safe against them, here on the blog. We hope you continue to feel safe knowing we will always do our best to stop attacks, stomp out dangerous malware, and swat away annoying scammers.
In its 15th iteration, this year NCSAM will attempt to address current cybersecurity challenges, focusing on securing families and their homes, building a robust, cyber-aware workforce, and securing critical infrastructures. As such, themes assigned for each week of the month have been aligned according to this year’s objectives.
Below are the themes per week, a brief overview of each, and helpful links we recommend you, dear reader, start perusing.
Week 1: October 1–5
Theme: “Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety”
NCSAM kicks off its campaign by going back to basics. Parents and caregivers, it’s time to brush up on your cybersecurity know-how and get your kids and the entire family involved. Check out these helpful Malwarebytes Labs posts if you need some inspiration:
- How to manage your child’s online presence
- How to protect your child’s privacy online
- Parenting in the digital world: a book review
- 10 ways to protect your Android phone
- Seven security tips for staying safe on an iPhone
- Internet of things (IoT) security: what is and what should never be
Week 2: October 8–12
Theme: “Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity”
As that song goes, “I believe the children are our future.” And we believe that they can make a difference—for better or for worse—on the state of cybersecurity and the future of the Internet as we know it. Schools and teachers play a significant role in shaping the way our kids view and respond to the world, both in their real and digital lives. By molding young minds to be good citizens of the Internet and encouraging careers that honor that code, you can help clear the way for a better online experience for generations to come. Here are some references you may want to read up on:
- When cybersecurity isn’t all cyber: What does it really take to work in cybersecurity?
- Engaging students in cybersecurity: a primer for educators
- Back to school cybersecurity: hints, tips, and links for a safer school year
- Children and young adults: the next-generation money mules
- College cybersecurity survival guide
Week 3: October 15–19
Theme: “It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work”
The shortage of cybersecurity professionals is a genuine problem, especially for businesses that rely on a tight-running and secure ship to keep profit flowing and customers happy. A way to address this shortage is to change the tide by educating current personnel about the importance of taking cybersecurity seriously and how to respond in the event of a cyberattack. Small, medium, and enterprise-sized businesses can pilfer useful nuggets of wisdom from these blog posts:
- All rise! Mind these digital crimes and arm your business against them
- Five easy ways to recognize and dispose of malicious mail
- Why bad coding habits die hard—and 7 ways to kill them
- 5 cybersecurity questions retailers must ask to protect their businesses
- Keeping your business and personal instant message secure
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
- How to create an intentional culture of cybersecurity
- How to secure your remote workers
Week 4: October 22–26
Theme: “Safeguarding the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure”
The uncovering of Stuxnet nearly a decade ago completely changed the way we see our critical infrastructures. Since then, there has been an active call to secure the 16 sectors that literally keep a nation running—and for a good reason. Lives are at stake.
While protecting our critical infrastructure may seem like a specialized topic dedicated to a particular audience, it’s not. Those working in the financial, health, and communications sectors, as well as in energy, electricity, and other utilities can contribute by taking on the seemingly impossible task of securing their organizations.
Note that good security hygiene is a start, but efforts shouldn’t stop there. We’ll explore this topic in depth come November, when we’ll be looking at election security and commemorating Critical Infrastructure and Resilience Month. For now, you can read through these posts for helpful insights:
- Physician, protect thyself: healthcare cybersecurity circling the drain
- Physician, protect thyself: An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure
- The enemy is us: a look at insider threats
- BYOD, why don’t you?
- Make way for the GDPR: Is your business ready?
If you or your organization want to take part in NCSAM, it’s never too late to register. You can visit the StaySafeOnline website and navigate to the Become a Champion menu link. After registering, you or your organization will be listed in the 2018 Champions page and receive helpful resources to educate yourself and spread awareness to others.
As always: Stay safe, everyone!