October is the time electric cooperatives celebrate the principles of their unique business model as part of National Co-op Month. In recent years, electric cooperatives have shared their time in the limelight to help promote cybersecurity during October, which is also designated as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
The awareness program is spearheaded by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The overarching message of this year’s theme, “If you Connect it, Protect it,” emphasizes the importance of keeping connected devices safe and secure from outside influence. With more people spending time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever before, connected devices are an integral part of how we communicate and access services essential to our well-being. Data collected from these devices can include highly specific information about a person or business, which can be exploited by bad actors for criminal gain.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month aims to shed light on these security vulnerabilities, while offering guidance surrounding simple security measures to limit the susceptibility of threats for common devices.
This year, the Cybersecurity Awareness Month’s main weekly focus areas will revolve around:
- Understanding and following general security hygiene for connected devices and home networks.
- The importance of maintaining the security of connected devices for remote workers.
- How connected devices play a pivotal role in the future of health care.
- The overall future of connected devices for consumers, professionals and the public domain.
For more information about Cybersecurity Awareness Month and how to participate, visit staysafeonline.org/cybersecurity-awareness-month/. You can also follow and use the official hashtag #BeCyberSmart on social media channels.