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Cyber Security Awareness Month: Commemorating 15 Years of Internet Wars

While we’ve been busy worrying about whether robots will take over the world, cybersecurity breaches are expected to cost trillions in damages by 2021.

The National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was instated in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance to “ensure that every individual stays safe and secure online.”  

Today, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) oversees a similar event in Europe, with Norway organizing its own through NorSIS (Norsk senter for informasjonssikring).

Yes. Dedicating a whole month to cybersecurity might sound excessive. But then again, there are more than 4,000 successful cyber-attacks registered every day.

If we weigh in the potential risks and damages, the need for constant cybersecurity awareness becomes painfully evident.  

A look into National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2018

Since its institution 15 years ago, NCSAM has been providing toolkits and training to teach the public how to defend themselves against cyber-attacks. 

This year’s theme is addressing cybersecurity as a shared responsibility for which Homeland Security has highlighted four key points.

But what is cybersecurity?

Cisco defines cybersecurity as the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks.

The Digital Guardian defines it as a body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access.

We’ll just call it self-defense for the digital world.

Types of cyber-attacks

Digital attacks come in all shapes and sizes, targeting anything from computers to networks.

Sometimes, a malicious software called ransomware can kidnap your files and hold them hostage in exchange for money. However, nothing guarantees they will restore the data after payment.

Other times, the software might have a more general target in mind. Malware will try to gain access to your accounts or damage your computer.

More commonly, people will fall prey to phishing. Have you ever received an email from a seemingly reputable source, only to find there’s somethingfishy about the address? Phishing emails are an attempt to steal sensitive information, be it your credit card or login.

Finally, there’s social engineering. This threat utilizes ransomware or malware but takes it a step further by tricking its victim into revealing sensitive information.

The overarching message is that, when it comes to cybercrime, we stand united and fall divided. To emerge victorious, we must prevent breaches at all levels. In the 21st century, we all work for cybersecurity.

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