October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiative supported by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. NCSAM aims to raise awareness about the importance of cyber security and to increase the resiliency of the nation’s cyber infrastructure.
In 2013, there were an estimated 254 million American Internet users. The Internet has permeated every facet of modern life: we work online, we shop online, and we socialize online. However, this increasing reliance on technology has inevitably brought with it a greater risk of criminal activity. Everyone who uses the Internet bears the responsibility of ensuring that they stay safe.
As the DHS states:
“Since our way of life depends on critical infrastructure and the digital technology that operates it, cybersecurity is one of our country’s most important national security priorities, and we each have a role to play—cybersecurity is a shared responsibility.”
This shared responsibility is being highlighted by a month-long series of events in which all Americans can participate.
However, cyber security is a critical issue throughout the year – not just in October. The DHS has therefore issued some simple steps that Americans can follow all year round to keep safe online:
- Set strong passwords and don’t share them with anyone.
- Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates.
- Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about Internet safety.
- Limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
- Be cautious about what you receive or read online—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
All of the above tips – and more – can be found in IT Governance’s pocket guide Ten Rules of Information Security for the Smaller Business, which provides simple steps to raise cyber security awareness. Why not take a look and see the measures you can take to make sure your family and business stay safe online?