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Cybersecurity Awareness Month: As pandemic blurs work and home, is your data safe?

October began the 17th annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and held in partnership with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), this year’s overarching theme for the month-long campaign — “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart” — is aimed at raising awareness of digital security risks and empowering individuals and organizations to own their role in ensuring security in today’s interconnected world.

A key call-to-action for the October initiative is, “If you connect it, protect it,” which reinforces the importance of keeping connected devices safe and secure from outside influence. More than ever, connected devices are an integral part of how people communicate and access services essential to their well-being. By educating vulnerable audiences and training employees to recognize the importance of stronger security practices for connected devices, Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020 can help people prioritize the creation of a safer environment for use at work and at home.

“This year, the NCSA’s key themes for Cybersecurity Awareness Month address the extraordinary circumstances of recent times,” said Kelvin Coleman, Executive Director, National Cyber Security Alliance. “The COVID-19 pandemic has blurred the lines between our personal and professional lives, making the need to stay connected through technology more important than ever. Our goal in 2020 is to ensure that users understand the impact of their reliance on connected devices, while arming them with the knowledge to own their role in staying safe and secure online, while minimizing their exposure to unnecessary cyber risks.”

“From the way we used to work and learn – to how we socialize with our family and friends – all of this has significantly changed,” said Bryan Ware, Assistant Director for Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. “While our increased use of online platforms and virtual technologies present us with new ways to learn, work, and maintain our relationships, they also expose existing vulnerabilities and opportunities for cyber criminals to attack. Every day, it is important for every American to take an active role and ensure cybersecurity is an aspect of their personal and professional lifestyle.”

As the world continues to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for connected technologies has accelerated. This year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month will address advancements in everything from healthcare and remote work, to personal devices and public infrastructure, dedicating each week to a respective topic, its effects on people’s lives and highlighting the most effective ways to optimize security practices.

Becoming a Champion

By signing up to become a Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion, organizations and individuals alike can become a part of October’s campaign to help promote a safer, more secure and more trusted Internet. Becoming a Champion is easy and doesn’t require any financial contribution. Champions include:

  • Companies and organizations of all sizes.
  • Schools and school districts.
  • Colleges and universities.
  • Nonprofits.
  • Government organizations.
  • Individuals.

Upon registration, all Champions receive a toolkit of material to help them implement cybersecurity awareness initiatives and activities during Cybersecurity Awareness Month. To learn more and sign up, please visit: https://staysafeonline.org/cybersecurity-awareness-month/champions/