Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022 logo

Cybersecurity awareness month is a national effort to help everyone stay safe and protected when using technology whenever and however you connect. The theme for the month is "See Yourself in Cyber," and GTA is proud to be a champion and support this online safety and education initiative again this year.

Cybersecurity has become one of the biggest hot topics both inside and outside of technology circles over the past few years. From securing devices due to a rise in digital work and learning to coping with the fallout of high-profile breaches. Some people have a misperception that cybersecurity is beyond everyday people and that it should be left to the professionals. Some people believe that breaches are simply a fact of life and that we should just learn to deal with them. But this isn't true.

As everyday technology users, we have a key role to play in cybersecurity threat prevention, detection, and remediation.

Throughout October, GTA will raise awareness on key best practices that we can implement today to enhance our own cybersecurity and create a more secure world for everyone. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) have highlighted key action steps that everyone should take:

  • Enable multifactor authentication (MFA) and learn why it's important

    Enabling MFA, which prompts you to input a second set of verifying information such as a secure code sent to a mobile device, is a highly effective measure that anyone can use to drastically reduce the chances of a cybersecurity incident.

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  • Create strong, unique passwords and change them regularly

    Having unique, strong, and complex passwords is one of the best ways to immediately boost your cybersecurity. Cracking passwords is one of the go-to tactics that cybercriminals use to access valuable information, and if you use the same password on multiple accounts, once a cybercriminal has compromised one of your accounts, they can easily do the same on other accounts.

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  • Recognize phishing, which is still among the primary threats from cybercriminals

    Phishing, when a cybercriminal poses as a legitimate party in hopes of getting individuals to engage with malicious content or links, remains one of the most popular tactics among cybercriminals today. However, while phishing has gotten more sophisticated, keeping an eye out for typos, poor graphics, and other suspicious characters can help you spot when content is potentially coming from a phishing scam.

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  • Update your software

    Don't delay. If you see a software update notification, act promptly.

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History

Cybersecurity Awareness Month was launched by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October 2004 as a broad effort to help all Americans stay safer and more secure online.

When Cybersecurity Awareness Month first began, the awareness efforts centered around advice like updating your antivirus software twice a year to mirror similar efforts around changing batteries in smoke alarms during daylight savings time.

Since the combined efforts of the National Cybersecurity Alliance and DHS have been taking place, the month has grown in reach and participation. Operated in many respects as a grassroots campaign, the month's effort has grown to include the participation of a multitude of industry participants that engage their customers employees, and the general public in awareness, as well as college campuses, nonprofits, and other groups.

Between 2009 and 2018, the month's theme was "our shared responsibility." The theme reflected the role that we all, from large enterprises to individual computer users, have in securing the digital assets in their control.

In 2009, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano launched Cybersecurity Awareness Month at an event in Washington, D.C., becoming the highest ranking government official to participate in the month's activities. In subsequent years, leading administration officials from DHS, the White House, and other agencies have regularly participated in events across the U.S.

In 2010, the kickoff of Cybersecurity Awareness Month also included the launch of the "stop. think. connect." campaign.