National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, otherwise known as NCSAM, is an effort done by the United States Department of Homeland Security and the cybersecurity industry to increase Americans’ awareness of the resources they can use to stay safe online. The 2019 monthly event stresses “personal accountability and…the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace,” according to the Department of Homeland Security announcement. Key areas of focus include e-commerce security, citizen privacy, and consumer devices.
There are several ways to get involved with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, including:
- Share resources from the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2019 Toolkit, which includes information on privacy settings, posting on social media safely, and the Internet of Things
- Use certain hashtags on social media including #BeCyberSmart and #CyberAware or follow the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) on Twitter at @Cyber, @CISAKrebs, @CISAManfra, or @StaySafeOnline
- Ask a CISA representative to speak at one of your events occurring in October
Cybersecurity And The Internet Of Things
Given Internet of Things (IoT) devices’ cybersecurity issues, it is no surprise that this year’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month focuses on connected devices. Last year, global management consulting firm Bain & Company released a report saying that the IoT market would reach $520 billion by 2021, up from $235 billion in 2017.
However, many large companies that manufacture IoT devices have encountered cybersecurity issues that may compromise users’ personal data. For example, Amazon recently fixed 13 security flaws in an operating system used in connected devices, along with FreeRTOS and Amazon Web Services. The flaws would allow hackers to “crash devices leak their memories, and run code remotely,” according to mobile security company Zimperium.
Users can increase the cybersecurity of their connected devices by using strong passwords, being more aware of what information apps require, and making sure one’s network is secure, according to the National Institute for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies working under the Department of Homeland Security.