October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

If you’re looking for important days or events in October, you’ll probably stumble across a bunch of sites listing out individual days that are loosely observed both nationally and internationally. For example, October 1st, among other things, is recognized as International Coffee Day and October 10th is World Mental Health Day – both great days to bring awareness to important matters. And of course, as the spooky season is upon us and kids this month are already jonesing for sugar, who can forget that October 31st is Halloween?

But why settle for a single day when you can have a whole month!? Sure, there are those “other” monthly awareness campaigns in October, like International Walk To School Month or Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month (which, oddly enough, is in the same month as International Coffee Day and National Frappe Day; I digress) but nothing rivals Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

“But why,” you ask, “is Cybersecurity Awareness Month so much better than those other celebrations?”

Great question! First, a little history lesson.

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Currently in it’s 18th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month was originally founded under the leadership of The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) partnering with industry leaders with the purpose of educating consumers and businesses on the importance of cybersecurity and staying safe online.

Back in 2004, the focus was on simple tasks such as keeping anti-virus programs updated and making sure best practices were followed when it came to data retention. Today, with the prevalence of bad actors and the amount of personal and organizational information stored online, there has been a shift in the campaigns to narrow in on education for small and medium businesses around cybercrime, critical infrastructure, law enforcement, and detection and prevention.

Why is Cybersecurity Awareness Month important?

You don’t have to work in Infosec or Cybersecurity to be impacted by cyber threats. Have you ever lost your wallet and had someone purchase things online with your credit card, had your identity stolen, or personal information leaked by an organization? What about seeing gas and food prices rise with a purchase frenzy because some critical infrastructure was attacked?

Cyber threats are prevalent these days and it’s important for individuals and organizations to understand these threats, where they come from, what they look like, how to mitigate malicious activity, and appropriately respond when (notice I said “when,” and not “if”) something happens. Cybersecurity Awareness Month is observed to bring attention to the current state of affairs, and remind people and organizations of best practices in protecting sensitive data and critical infrastructure that we all depend on.

What is Milton Security planning for this Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

At Milton Security, we focus on Managed and Extended Detection & Response (MDR and XDR = MxDR) for SMBs and Enterprises across a variety of industries, offering Cybersecurity and Security Operations Center (SOC) services for our clients. Ok, that was a lot of acronyms thrown at you, but basically we start at detecting potential and active threats and end at assisting in incident response once an attack has occurred.

That said, we will not be focusing on personal or individual cybersecurity awareness this month, but instead producing content that is helpful for business leaders to guide their teams and organizations through a cybersecurity check-up, sort of like National Brush Your Teeth Day, which happens to be November 1st, conveniently placed after Halloween and Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so you’re good to observe that one.

This year is a continuation of the “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” campaign and the folks leading the charge have broken down the month into 4 different topics:

  • Week of October 4 (Week 1): Be Cyber Smart.
  • Week of October 11 (Week 2): Phight the Phish!
  • Week of October 18 (Week 3): Explore. Experience. Share. – Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week
  • Week of October 25 (Week 4): Cybersecurity First

The first week we’ll be looking at some basic cybersecurity hygiene around Active Directory and Firewall audits. Following that, we are looking at some not-so-common ways to help educate employees about phishing. In week 3 we are sharing a couple videos about exploitations and mitigations and wrapping it all up in week 4 with an intro to our new 3-part supply chain series.

How can I get involved?

It’s easy. First, follow the #BeCyberSmart hashtag on your favorite social media platforms and read any of the blogs and articles that pique your interest. Next, be sure to keep an eye out for our how-to posts on Active Directory and Firewall audits and go through those with your teams. And while we’re not specifically posting content around it, now’s a great time to update your passwords everywhere and require 2FA/MFA for all of your users. It never hurts to go back to the basics every once in a while to make sure everything is configured correctly and adequately protected. Finally, you can also follow us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram as we continue to put out info to help you stay cyber-aware and help spread the word by sharing anything that you found helpful or interesting with your network – you never know when someone in your social circles is looking for that exact piece of information.

And that’s it. Cybersecurity Awareness Month starts October 1st. Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.