Cybersecurity Awareness Month

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Now in its 18th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to spread knowledge about the necessity and importance of cybersecurity. When it was first launched in October 2004 by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the main message focused on updating antivirus software.

Since then, it has expanded in the types of cybersecurity it covers and has grown in its outreach to non-tech savvy communities. This year, they created different themes for each week of the month to spotlight certain issues of cybersecurity. During 2021’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month they will be focusing on these four areas:

  • Week 1: Be Cyber Smart: As our lives have become increasingly dependent on technology, virtually all personal and business data is kept on internet-connected platforms, which can become a gold mine for bad actors. The first full week of Cybersecurity Awareness Month will highlight best security practices and focus on general cyber hygiene to keep your information safe.
  • Week 2: Phight the Phish!: Phishing attacks and scams have thrived since the COVID pandemic began in 2020 and today, phishing attacks account for more than 80 percent of reported security incidents. Week 2 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month will stress the importance of being wary of emails, text messages or chat boxes that come from a stranger or someone you were not expecting.
  • Week 3: Explore. Experience. Share.: Week 3 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month will highlight Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week led by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). This is a week-long campaign that inspires and promotes the exploration of cybersecurity careers.
  • Week 4: Cybersecurity First: Week 4 is all about making security a priority. For businesses, this means building security into products and processes. Make cybersecurity training a part of employee onboarding and equip staff with the tools they need to keep the organization safe. For individuals, keep cybersecurity at the forefront of your mind as you connect daily.

Optimum has the information you need to get ready for National Cybersecurity Month and tips for keeping your information safe right now!

What is cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting your mobile devices, computers, servers, networks, and data from cyberattacks. Digital attacks are aimed at maliciously accessing, changing, or destroying your sensitive information.

What are the most common types of cybercrime?

Cybercrimes can happen at any time. Learning to protect yourself is imperative, but you need to know what you’re protecting yourself from. Here are common digital attacks:

  1. Accessing your devices Cybercriminals can gain access to your personal computer, smartphone, or other Bluetooth devices. With this, they can get into your accounts to steal information or use the accounts to order things for themselves.
  2. Blocking your access or changing your information They can gain access to your social media and other important accounts and shut you out of them. This way, they can steal your information before you hear back from tech support.
  3. Damaging your financial security or stealing your identity Watch out for people you don’t know on the Internet asking personal questions or asking for money; any information given could be used against you.

What is “phishing”?

You may have heard the term “phishing” before. Phishing is when a cybercriminal impersonates a real organization or person through email or text to steal sensitive information. For example, if you receive a text message from a bank asking for your social security number, you might be tempted to send it. But you shouldn’t; that is how phishers get your information.

How to prevent cybersecurity attacks

Cybersecurity is more important than ever. While today’s technological advances have helped society move forward, the technology could be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. Your family’s information and digital footprint should be kept safe from those trying to commit cybercrimes. But, you might be wondering, “How can I keep our digital information and devices safe?” Here are five ways you can keep your digital space safe:

  1. Make strong passwords  The days of using the word “password” as your password are gone! Come up with a creative password for your accounts and change it periodically to keep these cybercriminals away.
  2. Manage your social media settings Keep your passwords and login information to yourself. You can even make accounts private so that spam accounts can’t reach you.
  3. Secure your home or office network  Just like keeping a password on your computer, you can keep a password on your WiFi and hotspot connections.
  4. Check accounts statements  Repeatedly monitor your account statements in case of suspicious activity; keeping an eye out can help you get ahead of any issues.
  5. Don’t share your information  Never share your sensitive information over text messages or emails. Scammers will send messages that sound legitimate to get you to share your information online.

Share this information and all that you learn this October during Cybersecurity Awareness Month with your family and friends. Keep your information away from cyber attackers. Good luck and stay safe on the Internet!


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