Updated: Oct 12
Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022. Make life easy for you. Make it hard for the bad guys.
It’s the theme of this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month: See yourself in cyber. Each October, we take time to focus on practical steps that people and organizations can take to stay cyber safe.
We are excited that this year’s theme is all about the human factor in security. This is an important and often-overlooked value in cyber safety – organizations can implement all the correct policies and programs, but people are ultimately the best cyber defense. Your cybersecurity role is greater than you think.
This month is a joint effort of NCA and CISA, and they have set out 4 key action steps we’ll be discussing all month. Here are some basic steps to stay safe online and see yourself in cyber.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Use Strong Passwords
Recognize and Report Phishing
Update Your Software
Maybe you think security doesn’t matter for you because you aren’t a techy person? These are easy steps for every business and every individual. You don’t need to be a technical person to join the movement for a safer world and see yourself and your role in cybersecurity.
Here are some specific ways to see yourself in cybersecurity, and why security is everyone’s job.
Careers in Cybersecurity: A Big Need
A career in information security or cybersecurity is a great way to see yourself in cyber. To keep our world secure, cyber professionals are needed more and more. There are about 700,000 cybersecurity jobs open in the United States, and over 3 million are needed worldwide. If you have an aptitude for learning and problem solving, this could be a career for you. Cybersecurity roles vary widely, and not all of them require technical training or certifications.
To learn more about cybersecurity career paths and training, visit the NIST Career Center or the CISA Workforce Training Guide. We can also help with your certification preparation courses in our Institute courses online.
Business Leaders Show the Way in Cyber
If you manage people who work with any online device, you are an integral part of the security ecosystem and should also see yourself in cyber. You set the tone for the company’s security culture, you demonstrate a commitment to security with your daily actions, and you train the front line workers who are crucial to your security strategy.
Leaders must show the way with policies, training, and personal action. It’s also vital to maintain quality relationships with your employees, connect them to your company mission, and reiterate their importance in the company’s cyber safety.
To learn more, read our blog Develop Your Team and Company Security Culture.
Every Employee is a Security Team Member
Cybersecurity is everyone’s job. We feel like a broken record, but it’s important enough to repeat again. Every person is responsible for cybersecurity. And because our world is interconnected, we contribute to the greater good when our own information is more secure.
Security is not just for the IT staff. Technical employees should absolutely watch for threats and be trained in vigilance, but so also should every employee. Staff are the front lines of cyber defense. No matter what your role, it’s important that you see yourself in cyber, during Cybersecurity Awareness Month and all year long.
Every member of the team needs to understand their role in the company’s mission and their role in its security. Team members need to trust each other and follow leaders with a strong security stance.
Security Matters at Home
See yourself in cyber in your personal life too. Apart from our workplaces, every day we face threats in our personal cybersecurity. If you use any internet-connected device, it’s important to become your own cyber safety officer.
It takes our collective vigilance to find and mitigate threats in many cases. Report phishing emails and other threats you encounter. When we provide more information, we increase the likelihood that threats can be defined and reduced.
And TAKE THE 4 KEY STEPS listed above! These are the most important things you can do to protect your own cyber safety.
For more on this, read our blog Why Cybersecurity Matters for Everyone.
Children Can Learn Cyber Safety Too
Teach your kids about online safety. In this ever-evolving digital world, security will only become more and more important. Children should know how to recognize and report spam and phishing, reasons why MFA matters, and how to create a strong password. It’s never too early to start learning personal security and responsibility.
Steps to Take
Based on the 4 key ways to stay safe online, here are some ways to see yourself in cyber. Make life easy for you and hard for the bad guys.
1. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Do your apps keep asking you if you want to update your security and add MFA (or 2FA)? The answer is always YES.
Enable MFA every time you get the chance. This provides a double layer of protection for your personal data, and it reduces your chances of a cyber attack to almost none. Using MFA will block 99% of automated attacks.
If you are a business leader, ask your company to add MFA to user accounts. This is a preventative for businesses as well as individuals. Only 26% of U.S. companies use MFA, despite the fact that it doubles the work for malicious attackers and prevents breaches and business interruptions.
2. Use Strong Passwords and a Password Manager
We all believe our memory is good. 53% of people rely on their memory to manage passwords. If you have an average number of online accounts, and if you follow good advice against reusing passwords, that is a ridiculous amount of data to hold in your brain.
Free up some mental space, and ensure you have passwords that are HARD for attackers to guess. Here are some statistical reasons.
- Most breaches occur because of weak or shared passwords. We should be using lowercase, uppercase, and special characters in difficult-to-guess patterns. Don’t use your name or birthday, for starters.
- 28% of adults in the US use the same password for all of their online accounts. Your security is in variety. If an attacker guesses your password in one account, they would have access to all your accounts. You need a unique password for every online account.
A password manager stores all of your passwords, and it creates unique passwords for all your accounts if you allow it. The simple thing for you is that you only need to remember ONE master password!
Some people worry that they cannot trust a password manager. This is a valid question, but the majority of cyber pros agree that this is the most secure way available to protect your passwords.
3. Recognize and Report Phishing
We have all become detectives and skeptics in this digital age, but somehow phishing scams still attract people to click unsafe links with messages of urgency or threats.
It’s important to watch for suspicious links in your email, social media, and even in QR codes. Malicious actors like to sneak bad links into nearly everything online.
When you notice a suspicious link, DON’T click it to investigate – use the Report button to let your email provider know, and alert the sender (who may be a hacking victim).
How can you tell if a link is suspicious?
- It’s from someone you do not know.
- The message has poorly-written text or grammar.
- It’s a message from someone you do know but were not expecting to hear from (has their account been hacked?).
4. Update Your Software
This may be the simplest of the action steps for cyber safety. Your devices and apps will tell you when it’s time to install an update. All you need to do is say YES.
Only 20% of Android devices use the latest and safest version of their operating system.
Updates might be improvements to your device experience, but they also may be patches for security vulnerabilities. Please resist the temptation to click “Remind me later” -- instead, install your updates as soon as they are available. You can afford a few minutes of downtime in order to maximize your own (and often your company’s) security.
If you have the option to turn on automatic updates, this will also save you time.
Visit the links in the text above for more details on each topic. If you want to learn more about the current state of cybersecurity, read this list of statistics. Follow us on social media for more news and education. Together, we can do this! See yourself in cyber, and share some cybersecurity resources with a friend or colleague this month.
We at StandardUser Cybersecurity are on a mission to share cybersecurity and cyber safety education with everyone, to make our world a better place. Are you with us? How can we help? Let us know today.
Whatever your cybersecurity challenge, we can help you keep your business running. We are a defensive and offensive cybersecurity company, using over 30 years of experience with active commercial and government work and proven security methodologies. We also educate teams and professionals who want to build on their skills. Occasionally we communicate with cybersecurity memes.
We set the standard for cybersecurity excellence.