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Making National CyberSecurity Awareness Month Your Own

Making National CyberSecurity Awareness Month Your OwnOctober is National CyberSecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) and National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) are following onto the success of last year’s them of sharing responsibility for security at home, in school, at work, and in the nation. This year’s theme is “Own IT, Secure IT, Protect IT” meant to “encourage personal accountability and proactive behavior in digital privacy, security best practices, common cyber threats and cybersecurity careers.” New Horizons, as always, is supporting NCSAM in our blog. In this post we review the overall theme and will follow up with posts focused on each of these three key imperatives throughout the month of October.

Diligence. Vigilance. It has never been “enough” to “throw up a firewall” and hope for the best when it comes to data and network security. We live in the wake of so many news stories about large databases at large companies being compromised, allegations of election meddling, and stories of people being victimized by fraudsters and those with even more malicious intent. Digital safeguards are simply no longer sufficient.

In fact, many analysts cite ransomware as the most prevalent threat in the landscape. Think about how ransomware attacks succeed. First users receive an email from a well-known source that looks extremely genuine, except it’s not. It has been forged by a bad-actor who includes what looks like a valuable web link for the recipient to click. When they do, they open the door to the attacker who then either corrupts or steals their data. To get it back intact they must pay a ransom.

Where was the failure here? It wasn’t the servers or storage in the user’s company’s network. Nor was it their routers or switches. Although new advances in technology may change this soon, it wasn’t even the current firewall or other security devices that failed.

It was the user. But even there you cannot truly blame the user for mistaking the incredibly well-crafted forgery for the real thing. If you’re not actively looking for flaws, you’ll likely miss them entirely. And there’s where we find the real culprit!

It’s simply a lack of proper preparation. As powerful as digital protection technology becomes, everyone must still own accountability and be fully prepared to identify and avoid exposure to the ever-expanding world of threats that are always emerging. You must be prepared as an individual user. Your school or workplace must be prepared. Your city, state, and federal government must all be prepared as well.

That was the point of last year’s NCSAM theme and will always be why National Cyber Security Awareness Month is held every October.

Taking it Personally

Today you’re either living on social media or you’re living under a rock.

What we all must recognize is that social media is the best, most open, most exposed place for attackers to learn what they need to know about you to exploit your credentials, steal your identity, break into your network or even your home. This is not a plea to get off social media. Living in fear is not living at all. But staying on social media means you must accept responsibility for the privacy of your data and the security of your information and credentials.

Live the analogy of “leaving the barn door open.” When you do, all the horses will most definitely bolt. You must be sure to close every barn door every time. Someone is always waiting and watching for you to trip up.

A Chain is Only as Strong as its Weakest Link

The implication of this popular saying is that if any link is weak it causes the entire chain to be weak.

Over the next few weeks we’ll highlight NCSAM’s theme for that week talking about steps you can take to engage your own accountability and affect the kind of change you want to see.

Those weekly themes as presented on the excellent website that everybody should visit are:

  • Own IT.
    • Never Click and Tell: staying safe on social media
    • Update Privacy Settings
    • Keep Tabs on Your Apps: best practices for device applications
    • Never Click and Tell: staying safe on social media
  • Secure IT.
    • Shake Up Your Passphrase Protocol: create strong, unique passphrases
    • Double Your Login Protection: turn on multi-factor authentication
    • Shop Safe Online
    • Play Hard To Get With Strangers: how to spot and avoid phish
  • Protect IT.
    • If You Connect, You Must Protect: updating to the latest security software, web browser and operating systems
    • Stay Protected While Connected: Wi-Fi safety
    • If You Collect It, Protect It: keeping customer/consumer data and information safe

Cybersecurity Training and Certification at New Horizons


Posted on 10/24/19 11:18 AM by Get Schooled in cybersecurity

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