With over 4.2 billion users surfing the internet, it may seem nearly impossible to protect your sensitive information from hackers and thieves. Devices connected to the internet often house our personal and professional lives. If a cyber criminal compromised this sensitive information, there could be disastrous consequences. However, the government dedicated the month of October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month in 2004 to educate internet users on how to navigate the web safely.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month
During October, the United States Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance provide easily accessible information and tips to all netizens on how they can protect themselves online. The campaign is vital because it gives everyone in the cyberspace tools and knowledge to thwart cybercriminals. Although society is quickly shifting to a more digitalized world, it is surprising that the majority of users are blissfully unaware of the threats they can encounter online. Sharing too much information on social media sites, sending unencrypted personal information electronically, and making purchases on unsafe websites are common ways that criminals gain access to sensitive information.
“While the speed at which technology and information move can expose us to new risks online, it also enables a level of sharing and cooperation that can make us more resilient to cyber threats… National Cybersecurity Awareness Month isn’t just about understanding the risks, but also emphasizing our collective power to combat them.” – FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Matt Gorham.
Furthermore, basic cyberattacks on personal devices can give criminals access to large businesses and organizations. For example, a hacker gained access to an employees computer information that eventually led to a cybersecurity breach against the United States Office of Personnel Management. The attack cost the company $21.5 million. Therefore, it is imperative that every individual takes proper cybersecurity precautions.
As the government further educates internet users on cybersecurity risks, people are installing more security software. The number of software downloads increased significantly since 2004. Additionally, more cybercriminals are being reported and convicted. For example, the government arrested a cyber criminal who attempted to access university databases, 74 arrests of members of the overseas transnational criminal networks and a North Korean regime programmer who conspired to conduct multiple damaging cyber attacks resulting in extensive data and money loss, hardware destruction, and the loss of other resources.
With increased awareness, internet users can stay safe and protect their private information. Cybersecurity is a responsibility that lies on everyone’s shoulders. If we all fulfill our duty, we can significantly decrease the number of information breaches.
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Resources: https://www.normantranscript.com/opinion/happy-cyber-security-awareness-month/article_2864473b-205f-51c1-b06a-a793e2ffb5c9.html, https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/ncsam-2018, https://www.army.mil/article/211977/keep_info_safe_during_cyber_security_awareness_month, https://www.wombatsecurity.com/cybersecurity-awareness-month?utm_term=%2Bcyber%20%2Bsecurity%20%2Bawareness%20%2Bmonth&utm_campaign=Security+Awareness+Month&utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=ppc&hsa_acc=8253056476&hsa_net=adwords&hsa_cam=1566723829&hsa_ad=295401163184&hsa_kw=%2Bcyber%20%2Bsecurity%20%2Bawareness%20%2Bmonth&hsa_grp=60967832564&hsa_mt=b&hsa_ver=3&hsa_src=g&hsa_tgt=kwd-368130389969&gclid=Cj0KCQjw6rXeBRD3ARIsAD9ni9DBJ8oOpYn7F2kz2M5GzZfQUn5qnX-DKgeh8mJkvHtEdgtNDSPMCfQaAvIeEALw_wcB
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