Guess What? It’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October 11, 2019 Arctic Wolf Networks

Fall is here, so you know what that means—leaves turn color, Halloween approaches, and all eyes turn to… cybersecurity.

What Is Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM)?

Observed each October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) was first launched in a collaborative effort between the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Today, it continues to be an important collaboration between government and industry in the months up to and throughout October. Each year focuses on core themes to raise awareness about cybersecurity issues and explain what resources can help.

Four Excellent Cybersecurity Awareness Resources

1. Cybersecurity Awareness Handbook

This guide was created to raise awareness about the most common cyber risks and threats facing individuals and organizations today. You’ll find helpful tips and strategies for detecting and addressing these threats. It’s a great roadmap for how to cultivate a culture of cybersecurity awareness in your organization.

2. The 5-Minute Companion for the Cyber-Conscious Employee

Much as a business shouldn’t expect a first-day worker to know the ins and outs of its proprietary systems, it’s unreasonable to presume they’re knowledgeable of corporate security best practices. Whether you’re an IT manager interested in helping employees improve security hygiene or a professional who’s taken it upon yourself to be more cyber-conscious, this eBook provides much-needed insight.

3. The CIO’s Cybersecurity Checklist

Effective cybersecurity starts at the top. It needs to be a built-in function of business strategy, championed by employees across the organization. For the CIO that means clear leadership and a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that includes constant vigilance, a comprehensive view of stakeholders, and strict compliance. This checklist lets you develop a cybersecurity strategy step by step.

4. What You Need to Know About Cloud Security

The cloud’s competitive advantages fuel digital transformation across all market segments. The cloud enables smaller enterprises to grow faster yet be nimble and reach more customers anywhere, anytime. Learn more about how the cloud can empower your organization to conduct its business securely wherever there’s an internet connection.

2019’s Three Key Topics—Own/Secure/Protect

For NCSAM 2019, the 16th annual event, three core themes highlight the month’s overarching message. And many organizations celebrate cyber safety awareness month by sharing resources and engaging in educational activities that address these topics. This year’s topics are ‘Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.’

Own IT

New devices connect to the internet every day. As this number grows exponentially, owning your digital presence is critical. This is especially true when connecting to Wi-Fi on-the-go. As you enjoy the convenience of constant connection, there are a few steps you must take to ensure that your personal information stays safe.

Regardless of the type of device or internet connection you use, keep these tips in mind:

  • Only use HTTPS sites.
  • Never share personal information (login and passwords, Social Security numbers, payment card information, etc.) over email or social media.
  • Don’t download attachments from unknown senders.
  • Always consider context, even for messages from known senders. Does Mike from accounting usually send attachments with no text in the body at 10:30 p.m.?
  • If an executive requests personal information or a money transfer over email, confirm that request in person or via phone.
  • When in doubt, forward to IT.
  • Stay up to date on the most recent tactics.

Secure IT

There are many ways to secure your, your family’s, or your company’s personal information that go beyond having a strong password. As cybercriminals get smarter, their tactics continue to evolve. To stay ahead of them, add layers of security to your devices and accounts.

Did you know that 81% of data breaches are caused by stolen or weak passwords? Choose passwords that are creative and as long as possible. Even better, ensure extra protection with multi-factor authentication.

These data security awareness guidelines help you elude the password-sniffers:

  • Never use a default password. Not even for your IP-connected webcam.
  • Create passwords that are at least 12 characters in length. Include letters, numbers, and symbols (*$%^~_+). This will fend off brute-force attacks.
  • If you have a biometric option (i.e. fingerprint), use it.
  • Change your passwords (if they’re strong) every six months to a year.
  • Use a password manager. If you’re an IT manager, make that mandatory for employees.
  • Add an authenticator for two-factor protection.
  • Always lock your mobile devices when unattended.
  • Check app permissions frequently.

Protect IT

The third theme for cybersecurity awareness month involves proactive protection. Every time you click share, send, or post, being cybersecurity “aware” will help secure and maintain your digital profile. Practice excellent cyber hygiene both at home and in the workplace to avoid the devastating consequences of a malware attack.

It’s best to avoid public Wi-Fi networks for work, but if you must these tips will help you stay protected:

  • Be cautious about network selection. Hackers set up free Wi-Fi networks that appear legitimate and associated with an institution. Ask for the network name if you’re unsure.
  • Choose your hotspot over a free public Wi-Fi connection when possible.
  • Deactivate public sharing for network discovery, file sharing, printing, and public folders.
  • Browse in a “private” or “Incognito” window to avoid saving information.
  • If you have a VPN, use it. If you don’t, then do not handle any sensitive data.
  • Only download applications from a trusted, authorized app store.
  • Keep your security software, browser, and operating system updated.
  • Password-protect devices used for work (and any device in general).
  • Change the factory-set password and username of your devices and networks.
  • Consult your IT department about its BYOD policy, and ask about endpoint protection.
  • Do not use untrusted “play” apps and always shop safe online.

About Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf Networks delivers the industry-leading security operations center (SOC)-as-a-service that redefines the economics of cybersecurity. Arctic Wolf™ Managed Detection and Response and Managed Risk services are anchored by the Arctic Wolf Concierge Security™ Team who provide custom threat hunting, alerting, and reporting. The Arctic Wolf purpose-built, cloud-based SOC-as-a-service offers 24×7 monitoring, risk management, threat detection, and response. For more information about Arctic Wolf, visit



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