Cybersecurity Awareness Month Is Upon Us – Here’s What That Means For You

Cybersecurity Month Is HereIt’s official – Cybersecurity Awareness Month is now a truly global event. President Trump earlier this month made the announcement that security should be everyone’s responsibility, because it impacts us all equally.  Everyone – business owner or no – needs to be paying attention.

Even a cursory look at the huge volume of attacks suffered in 2017 is evidence enough of that. WannaCry. Petya. The Equifax breach. The HBO breach. The Netflix breach.

The list goes on and on. And it’s going to keep growing exponentially larger unless something isn’t done – and fast. Government mandates like the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation are a definite step in the right direction.

But we still need to do more.

This isn’t just a matter of protecting intellectual property or customer data anymore, either. We’re well into the evolution of the Internet of Things. We’re bringing everything online. Our cars and homes. Our power and water grids. Our banks, hospitals, and government agencies.

And if even one vulnerability exists in that infrastructure – if even one node is unprotected and vulnerable to attack – the results could be catastrophic. We’ve already seen echoes of what could happen. In 2016, Ukraine’s power grid was brought offline. In-flight entertainment systems could be used to hijack airliners. The United States Power Grid could be crippled by an email vulnerability.

Now more than ever, it’s critical that we all do our part to raise awareness of the privacy and security issues facing today’s connected world. Moreover, it’s also essential that we work to practice better security in our own day to day lives. Because the more of us who strive to protect our data, the better.

Here are just a few ways you can do your part:

  • Attend the events. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month means a ton of events on everything from securing our homes to addressing the cybersecurity skills shortage. Do a bit of research to see if there are any near where you live – or any you could attend online.
  • Check your hygiene. How often do you reuse login credentials? How careful are you when installing apps or browsing the web? Do you follow the security recommendations set by your business’s IT department? Do you make sure every system and application you use is up to date?
  • Educate yourself. The more you know about what hackers are doing, the better equipped you’ll be to protect yourself. Pay attention to the news so you know what attacks are particularly dangerous – and more importantly, what you can do about them.

Protecting our data from those who would misuse it shouldn’t be difficult or complicated. At its core, that’s the message promoted by Cybersecurity Awareness Month. And I think it’s a message we can all get behind.