October is National CyberSecurity Awareness Month and according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “National CyberSecurity Awareness Month is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to raise awareness about cybersecurity, provide them with tools and resources needed to stay safe online, and increase the resiliency of the Nation in the event of a cyber incident.”
They say timing is everything. Well, in September there were some truly astonishing headlines related to cybersecurity. We saw a data breach that compromised 500 million customer accounts, the largest ever. Journalist Brian Krebs was targeted by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that topped 700Gbps, equivalent to 140,000 high-definition movies streaming at once. This was the largest attack ever seen, but only for a matter of days. OVH, a European web hosting company, said they were targeted by a DDoS attack that topped 1Tbps, crossing a barrier that was unthinkable only a few short years ago.
As the relentless flow of headlines shows, we can’t afford to focus on cybersecurity education and best practices one month per year. It needs to be something on our minds every time we go online, whether you are a globetrotting executive or a social media obsessed millennial. All of us can do a better job being a Guardian of the Connected World. No better time to start than right now.
Each week of National CyberSecurity Month has a theme,
Week 1: October 3-7, 2016 – Every Day Steps Towards Online Safety with Stop.Think.Connect.™
Week 2: October 10-14, 2016 – Cyber from the Break Room to the Board Room
Week 3: October 17-21, 2016 – Recognizing and Combating Cybercrime
Week 4: October 24-28, 2016 – Our Continuously Connected Lives: What’s Your ‘App’-titude?
Week 5: October 31, 2016 –Building Resilience in Critical Infrastructure
Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing our thoughts on these themes here on the blog. With an eye on this week’s theme, Every Day Steps Towards Online Safety, we recently surveyed employees, asking What is the number one thing you tell your kids about cybersecurity?
The results were quite interesting, and varied, depending on the age of your children. The results fell into four general categories:
- Do not click on attachments or emails from people they don’t know
- Do not follow popup ads that lead you to believe something is wrong with your machine
- Think before you click
- A stranger in the cyber world can be as dangerous as one in the physical world
- People aren't always who they claim to be
- The internet is just like the real world. Some people and places are good and safe. Some aren't. Be thoughtful about where you go and who you talk to
- Never give out personal information
- Your identity is valuable
- Nothing is or stays private on the internet
Long Term Consequences
- What you put online is there forever
- Be ready to stand for and defend any statement you post online - forever!
- The net never forgets
Put these four categories together and you have some pretty good, well rounded advice to share with you kids. For more information on cybersecurity best practices, for kids and adults, the Department of Homeland Security has a great toolkit available which we highly recommend.
We hope you’ll join us in the discussion of cybersecurity education all month long. Again, all of us can and must do a better job being Guardians of the Connected World.