With Americans spending as much as 12 hours a day in front of screens, the NCSA and CISA remind people to Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 2019 – The 16th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) kicks off today with a new message to Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT., reminding everyone of the role we all play in online safety and security at home and in the workplace. Co-led by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and held annually in October, NCSAM is a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safe and secure online while increasing the resilience of the nation against cyber threats.
“We are excited to launch the 16th year of NCSAM with a renewed focus to Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.,” said Kelvin Coleman, executive director of NCSA. “This simple message encourages consumers to understand the devices and applications they use every day, secure their digital profile and protect it by familiarizing themselves with privacy settings to help safeguard their privacy and limit cybercrimes. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, it’s important to remember these few tried-and-true methods for protecting oneself online.”
“Every one of us has a seemingly ever-expanding digital footprint – across a range of devices and accounts, at home, at work, or at school and locking down that footprint is a never-ending job,” said Christopher Krebs, CISA Director. “The consequences of not getting security right go well beyond just having to get a replacement credit card. The decisions we make online can have local, regional and even global implications. It shouldn’t be this hard, but it’s also not hopeless – with this National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’re aiming to focus on a handful of simple steps we can all take to raise our collective security to the next level and make the bad guys’ jobs that much harder.”
As Americans spend more time than ever in front of screens, NCSAM 2019 emphasizes personal accountability and stresses the importance of taking simple, proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home, in the workplace and on the go.
#BeCyberSmart: Tips to Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.
- Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media and any other service that requires logging in.
- Shake up your passphrase protocol. Consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard passphrase for different sites, which can prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passphrase for each of your accounts.
- If you connect, you must protect. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with antivirus software.
- Play hard to get with strangers. Cybercriminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email or message is from ̶ even if the details appear accurate ̶ or if the email looks “phishy,” do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. When available use the “junk” or “block” option to no longer receive messages from a particular sender.
- Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media ̶ from personal addresses to where you like to grab coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all cybercriminals need to know to target you, your loved ones and your physical belongings ̶ online and in the physical world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers and passphrases private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are – and where you aren’t – at any given time.
- Keep tabs on your apps. Most connected appliances, toys and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved —gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.
- Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public Wi-Fi be certain to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good cyber hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passphrases or credit card numbers. Your personal hotspot is a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when shopping or banking online.
Become a Champion
Anyone can support the month by becoming a NCSAM Champion. Each year, Champions – organizations and individuals who have committed their support to the month – help to amplify the core NCSAM message of helping to keep the internet safe and secure for everyone. The Champions program is a free and easy way to get involved. All Champions receive a toolkit of user-friendly materials they can use to spread the word about online safety and security in advance of and throughout the month. More than 1,100 organizations and 600 individuals have already pledged their support. Learn more and sign up at staysafeonline.org/ncsam/champions/.
Join the Conversation
Throughout NCSAM, NCSA, CISA and key partners will share materials and engage on social media with the goal to drive behavioral change with consumers, businesses and the general workforce on cybersecurity best practices. Key areas of focus this year will be citizen privacy, consumer devices and e-commerce security.
Connect with us on social media and learn the latest NCSAM news by following and using the hashtags #BeCyberSmart and #CyberAware. Additional information about NCSAM, along with resources such as tip sheets, presentation templates and sample social media posts and content, can be found at staysafeonline.org/ncsam.
- CISA has a complete guide to National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, with a complete toolkit, tips, graphics and a trivia game. Visit us-cert.gov/national-cybersecurity-awareness-month-2019
- NCSA builds strong public/private partnerships to create and implement broad-reaching education and awareness efforts designed to empower users at home, work and school. On a continual basis, NCSA provides the information needed to help keep individuals, organizations and their systems and sensitive information safe and secure online. In addition, fostering a culture of cybersecurity is strongly encouraged. For a variety of NCSA-recommended resources visit org
- Powered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the “BeCyberSmart” campaign is designed to inspire the younger generation of Americans to take responsibility for their own cyber safety. Learn about cybersecurity basics, common scams and how to report cybersecurity incidents by visiting the campaign online.
- Looking for information about a particular cybersecurity position or course? The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) tools and resources are available to anyone seeking more information about the cybersecurity field, how to advance a cybersecurity career and more.
Attend a NCSAM 2019 Event
Wednesday, Oct. 2, 1:00 p.m. EDT/10:00 a.m. PDT
Start October strong with Symantec and NCSAM partners including the National Cyber Security Alliance, National PTA and Connect Safely to learn how to protect the devices you use day to day. Understanding how to protect your most significant personal information is crucial in this world of constant connection. The webinar will focus on elements of home and family and the topics will include: safe social media, updating your privacy settings and best practices for device applications.
Webinar: Cybersecuring the Supply Chain – Make Cybersecurity a Competitive Advantage
Wednesday Oct. 9, 2:00 p.m. EDT/11:00 a.m. PDT
Some of the largest, most public breaches were caused by a supply chain vulnerability – often a small or medium-sized business – that was used as an entry point into a much larger organization. Learn about the steps can you take to make sure you don’t pose a cyber threat to those you provide goods or services to and how to evaluate your own vendors and contractors. Join the National Cyber Security Alliance and special guests for our free NCSAM webinar – we’ll provide resources and guidance on how you can take your supply chain risk strategy to the next level.
Tuesday, Oct. 15 – Wednesday Oct. 16
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and TCAT Shelbyville are proud to once again bring together individuals from education, government and industry to share the latest information, strategies, best practices and innovative solutions to address today’s challenges in cybersecurity. NCSA’s Daniel Eliot will address audiences on Building Cybersecurity Into Our Cross-Functional Operational Culture.
CyberSecure My Business™ Workshop – Austin, TX
Tuesday Oct. 22, 9:00 a.m. – 12. p.m.
Small and medium-sized organizations have valuable data which makes them prime targets for cybercriminals. These organizations (small businesses, nonprofits, local governments, schools, etc.), however, are often under-resourced when it comes to protecting their sensitive assets. NCSA will lead a free, hands-on, half-day workshop in Austin, TX to help organizations:
- Identify which business assets others want
- Protect those assets
- Detect when something has gone wrong
- Respond quickly and appropriately with an action plan
- Recover after a breach
Friday, Oct. 26, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Cybersecurity Summit for Small Businesses includes a full day of workshops and take-aways to immediately implement in your business in addition to two keynote speakers, access to cybersecurity consultants for free, one-on-one consulting and cybersecurity for small business exhibitors. NCSA’s Daniel Eliot will deliver keynote remarks during lunch.
About National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
NCSAM is designed to engage and educate public- and private-sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity to increase the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. Since the Presidential proclamation establishing NCSAM in 2004, the initiative has been formally recognized by Congress, federal, state and local governments and leaders from industry and academia. This united effort is necessary to maintain a cyberspace that is safer and more resilient and remains a source of tremendous opportunity and growth for years to come. For more information, visit staysafeonline.org/ncsam/ or niccs.us-cert.gov/national-cybersecurity-awareness-month-2019
About the National Cyber Security Alliance
NCSA is the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness. NCSA works with a broad array of stakeholders in government, industry and civil society. NCSA’s primary partners are the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and NCSA’s Board of Directors, which includes representatives from ADP; American Express; Bank of America; Cisco; Cofense; Comcast Corporation; Eli Lilly and Company; ESET North America; Facebook; Google; Infosec; Intel Corporation; LogMeIn, Inc.; Marriott International; Mastercard; Microsoft Corporation; Mimecast; Proofpoint; Raytheon; Symantec Corporation; Trend Micro, Inc.; Uber: U.S. Bank; Visa and Wells Fargo. NCSA’s core efforts include National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (October); Data Privacy Day (Jan. 28); STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, the global online safety awareness and education campaign co-founded by NCSA and the Anti-Phishing Working Group with federal government leadership from the Department of Homeland Security; and CyberSecure My Business™, which offers webinars, web resources and workshops to help businesses be resistant to and resilient from cyberattacks. For more information on NCSA, please visit https://staysafeonline.org/about/.
About the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
CISA was created in November 2018 as the first civilian cybersecurity agency in the U.S. federal government. The agency leads the national effort to defend critical infrastructure against the threats of today, while working with partners across all levels of government and in the private sector to secure against the evolving risks of tomorrow.
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