Here’s Why October is Crucial for The Cyber Security Industry

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In the US, October is an important month for the cyber security industry. October has been designated as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in an attempt to raise awareness about the necessity of cyber security measures in the age of information technology.

2020 happens to be the 17th year of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month initiative. Over the past couple of years, this initiative has helped mainstream the conversation on cybersecurity and its importance.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month takes a dual-pronged approach to discuss cybersecurity as everyone’s responsibility, from the average internet user to internet professionals. NCSAM has four major objectives:

  • Strengthen the Nation’s (and the world’s) cybersecurity measures.
  • Ensure that cybersecurity measures are being taken across all sectors and facets of life.
  • Strengthen cybersecurity workforce across all professional industries.
  • Securing all online infrastructure.

While National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a great time to learn about cybersecurity, you need to know that cyber security awareness should extend to all aspects of your online life throughout the year. In this article, we’ll show you why cyber security awareness is important, and then tackle some common cyber security issues, and how they can be prevented.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Importance of Cyber Security Awareness

In order to highlight the importance of cyber security awareness, let’s start with a few alarming statistics and facts:

  • In the third quarter of 2016, 18 million new malware samples were detected, averaging at least 200,000 per day. To ward off advanced malware, you need to constantly update your security systems.
  • Since 2015, there has been an annual increase of 300% in ransomware attacks, averaging at 1,000 attacks per day.
  • At the beginning of 2016, 92% of all phishing emails contained ransomware. By the end of the year, the statistic rose to 97.25%.
  • 78% of all internet users click on unknown email links despite knowing the security risks they posit.
  • 52% of all organizations that suffer a cyberattack are still hesitant about updating their security systems.
  • 64% of all companies have experienced a web-based attack, 62% have been targeted by phishing, and 51% have experienced a denial-of-service attack.
  • It’s estimated that by 2020, the average cost of a data breach will surpass $150 million.
  • Over 75% of the healthcare industry has suffered from some form of malicious data breach.
  • By 2020, over 200 billion devices will be connected to the IoT, exponentially increasing the potential of damage if any of them is attacked.

The aforementioned statistics don’t just highlight how prevalent cybercrime is, but also how complacent internet users are. In order to protect ourselves and our data in the future, we need to embrace National Cyber Security Awareness Month and learn what we can do to prevent cyber attacks.

Practicing Preventive Cyber Security

The following steps will help you ensure that your cyber space is as secure as possible.

  1. Identity Protection: Use different passwords for different accounts and make them difficult to guess by mixing up characters, numbers, and letters.
  2. Firewall Protection: Keep your firewall turned on to prevent attacks from hackers, viruses, phone sites, or malware.
  3. Anti-Virus Protection: Install and regularly update reliable anti-virus software.
  4. Anti-Spyware Protection: Install and regularly update reliable anti-spyware software to prevent spyware from entering your computer.
  5. Update Operating Systems: Keep your operating systems updated at all times.
  6. Backups: Backup your important files on external hard-drives.
  7. Wireless Network Protection: Ask a professional to secure your Wi-Fi connection so they can’t be breached by someone else.
  8. Delete Spam: Don’t open email attachments from unknown or suspicious sources as they could carry viruses.
  9. Safe Surfing: Only share personal information like billing details, address, etc, with reliable sites with an SSL certificate.
  10. Report: If there’s some suspicious activity you notice, you should immediately report computer scam, crime, or identity theft to the appropriate authorities.

I hope this article has helped you better understand why October (National Cyber Security Awareness Month) is so important and how you can better protect your online presence in the future.