Reminders about how we can stay safe online is part of International Cyber Security Awareness Month, which falls every October. The aim is to inform and remind the public of the importance of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks we all potentially can suffer from.
In today’s technology-saturated world, where the cyber-threat landscape is constantly evolving, staying safe online and protecting data is an absolute necessity. The list of potential threats can seem endless and many cyber-attacks may hit much closer than expected. In sum, everyone is at risk.
This month, international attention is focusing on how governments, corporations, and mass global populations can invest in important technological innovations, such as the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and cryptocurrencies. All these form part of what the World Economic Forum has named the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (4IR). At the same time, these entities have a vital role in defending vulnerable infrastructures from both cyber-terrorist attacks and financial cyber-crimes.
This is where campaigns such as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in the United States, European Cyber Security Month (ECSM), and Cyber Security Awareness Month in Canada come into action. Throughout October, these initiatives seek to raise awareness, change behaviour, and provide accessible resources, in order to educate people on how to stay safe online. The campaigns also highlight a number of simple steps that everyone can take to protect personal, financial, and professional data.
American "Toolkit" to surf online threat-free
National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in the US is held every October. it is a collaborative effort between government and industry to emphasise personal accountability and stressing the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cyber- security at home and in the workplace. This year, the motto is "Own It. Secure It. Protect It," focusing on key areas including citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security.
National Initiative for Cyber Security Careers and Studies, (NICCS), is managed by the Cyber security Education and Awareness Branch within the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Cyber Security and Communications. This Initiative is the premier online resource for cyber security training. NICCS connects government employees, students, educators, and industry, with cyber security training providers throughout the nation.
According to NICCS, as technology advances, the U S must develop a workforce of effective cyber security professionals. The huge investment made by the US in programmes like NICCS helps citizens find the education and training they need to advance their careers and close the skill gaps in the cyber security workforce.
NICCS provides the nation with the tools necessary to ensure citizens and the workforce have more dynamic cyber security skills. The courses in the training catalogue are cyber security focused and delivered by accredited universities, national centres of academic excellence, federal agencies, and other training providers. Each course is mapped to the National Cyber Security Workforce Framework, the foundation of the National Initiative for Cyber security Education (NICE) effort to standardise the cyber security field.
The NCSAM 2019 presents this year a 'Toolkit' which is a comprehensive guide to make it easy for individuals and organisations, regardless of volume or industry, to engage and promote NCSAM. This Toolkit is like a guide of resources to help users to engage their stakeholders and promote positive, lasting cyber security habits.
Europe is "united against cyber security threats"
According to the official website of European Cyber Security Month (ECSM), more than 446 activities across 35 European countries are taking place through this October, focusing on two main themes, cyber-hygiene and emerging technology. The first theme prompts Individuals to implement simple behaviour to protect themselves from cyber threats. The second theme focuses specifically on new technologies related mainly to AI and 4IR, which come with additional risks of their own. This campaign's motto is "united against cyber security threats."
The range of events are being organized to promote the campaign’s goals includes a social engineering presentation in the U K, a children’s cyber security roadshow in Denmark, and a travelling interactive phishing game in Belgium. The ECSM also provides an interactive map to find out what activity is happening in each city, in order to keep all participants involved all over Europe.
Canadian Toolkit to protect online small businesses
The Cyber Security Awareness Month's campaign in Canada this year has been a collaboration among government, industry, academia, and civil society. The collaborated team denoted that Canadian cyber systems, inside and outside of government, hold valuable information that is critical to health, economy, and security.
One of the major themes that the campaign has focused on this year is to represent a simple Toolkit to protect online small business, which represent a huge sector of the Canadian economy today.
In Canada, the Internet is an indispensable tool to succeed in today's digital economy. As statistics show cyber criminals are now actively targeting smaller businesses because they believe their computers are vulnerable. This year’s Toolkit represents to co-owners, managers or employees a simple guide to protect their investments online to gain more customers' trust. The Canadian government sponsors the campaign under the motto, "you do not need to be an expert to be cyber safe."