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October 18, 2021

Wondering Who Started “Cybersecurity Awareness Month”?

by Brett Muscio in Security

Nowadays it seems like every other day holds some sort of significance, especially since the past decade. Although we rarely pay attention to many of these months and occasions, cybersecurity awareness month is one of the most important one observed in October and here’s why.

First, the significance of approved cybersecurity practices in different sectors- for example, the government sector- cannot be overstated. Cyberattacks and the subsequent data loss can have irreversible consequences for national security and the country’s economy. While your business looks to be less vulnerable, the impact of cyber attacks on federal agencies is greater than that on private enterprises.

Not a day goes by without some kind of cybercrime in the headlines. According to the most recent figures, cybercrime events now cost the globe more than $1 trillion, or more than 1% of global GDP. This figure underscores the rising need for verified, trusted, and certified cybersecurity solutions in every industry, particularly sensitive areas like the US Federal government. But, do you ever wonder who realized the importance of cybersecurity and felt the need to create awareness for the same?

Who Launched it?

In October 2004, the National Cyber Security Alliance and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established Cybersecurity Awareness Month as a comprehensive effort to assist all Americans stay safer and more comfortable online.

When Cybersecurity Awareness Month originally started, the focus was on tips like upgrading your security software twice a year to match similar efforts surrounding replacing batteries in smoke detectors during daylight savings time.

The Evolving Themes, Significance, and Reach

Since the adoption of the awareness month, the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Department of Homeland Security have worked together to expand its scope and participation. The month’s effort has evolved to encompass a plethora of industry partners that engage their customers, workers, the broader population in awareness, and also college campuses, NGOs among other groups.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano started Cybersecurity Awareness Month in 2009 at a Washington, D.C. event to become the highest-ranking state official to take part in the month’s events. In the years afterwards, top government officials from DHS, the White House, and other agencies have frequently attended gatherings around the country.

Beginning in 2011, the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Department of Homeland Security established the notion of weekly themes throughout the month. This concept was inspired by comments from stakeholders who suggested that the many components of cybersecurity be clearly described, making it simpler for other groups to align with certain themes. Education, cybercrime, law enforcement, mobility, vital infrastructure, and small and medium-sized enterprises have been among the topics covered.

Do Your Part- #BeCyberSmart

The NCSA and DHS collaboration on Cybersecurity Awareness Month is one of many successful public-private collaborations that are essential to cybersecurity.

The 2021 theme for the awareness month aims to empower every individual and organization to protect their cyberspace and make it secure and safe for the greater good. The theme- do your part #BeCyberSmart- is not just for the citizens of America or any particular country, but the world at large.

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