October was National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Updated November 28, 2017
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), a time to focus on how cyber-security is a shared responsibility that affects all Americans. Each Tuesday in October we’ll examine a specific cyber-security theme. 

Week 1: We’ll explore the value of your private information, how to protect that data, and discover how your daily habits may harm your security on the internet. This week, we’ll look at resources you can explore. 

The recent cyber hack at Equifax is a clear indication of how millions of Americans can become victims of cybercrime. If and when that event happens, you need to understand how to proceed if you are a victim. 

Here are a few key resources to help protect yourself online: 
•StaySafeOnline.org is an organization that can answer many questions and provides you with resources to protect yourself, your family, and your data. 
•The US Department of Homeland Security has a library of current, factual information designed to help keep you safe online. 
•FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a resource for everyone to use if you have been the victim of cybercrime. 

Here’s a simple strategy to keep in mind – if you are online, you are a target. It’s that simple. Understand that no matter how plain or simple your cyber activity may be, you will be targeted by someone on the net.

Week 2: This week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month is all about showcasing how organizations can protect against the most common cyber threats. The week will also look at resources to help any organization strengthen their cyber resilience. It is crucial to be aware and prepared for when these cyber-attacks happen. Below are a few tips to help you stay protected;

Lock it when you Leave it - lock your computer and mobile device screen or log off if you are stepping away. Never leave sensitive information open, unattended and/or unprotected.

Avoid being cracked or jacked - Encrypt your portable devices. Don't attach devices to unknown networks or computers. Avoid using open wireless networks.

Practice good password management - Use a strong mix of characters, a strong password is at least 12 characters long and is not based on a dictionary word. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts or sites. Don’t share your password with others or write it down.

Creating a culture of cybersecurity is critical for all organizations, large and small businesses, academic institutions, non-profits, and government agencies. This means it must be a shared responsibility among all employees. Every business faces cybersecurity challenges, no matter the industry or size. Be sure to take steps to proactively protect your customers, employees and the entire City. 

Week 3: Smart cities, connected devices, digitized records, as well as smart cars and homes have become a new reality. Week 3 will remind citizens that their sensitive, personal information is the fuel that makes smart devices work. While there are tremendous benefits of this technology, it is critical to understand how to use these cutting-edge innovations in safe and secure ways

In week 3 of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we want to raise awareness of the need to ask questions and work to ensure your uses of the cloud meet your expectations for security and privacy

‘Cloud storage’, ‘Cloud access’, ‘Cloud control’!  We hear this all the time.  But what about ‘Cloud Security’?  The ‘cloud’, which is just the current nickname for the Internet, is also another name for a place that is accessible to the world.  When you connect to the cloud, it’s kind of like having your front door open to the downtown streets and back rooms of every major city on the planet.  In the same sense, anything you own that stores data or is controllable from the cloud, is also potentially accessible and/or controllable from anywhere by anyone who can gain access.  

With regard to data, we need to ask more questions about what is done with our data.  Who owns it?  What happens to it if we close our account?  How well is it protected?  What does it take to access the system or data?  Is it encrypted?  Similarly, when a device in our home, car, or office is controllable from the cloud, what ensures it cannot be controlled by hackers?