In a concerted effort to simplify cybersecurity, government agencies have chosen “It’s Easy to Stay Safe Online” as the theme of Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CSAM) 2023.
Due to the growing threat of cyberattacks, governments worldwide are actively working to streamline cybersecurity efforts. Cybersecurity, for many, has been perceived as a complex realm of technical knowledge encompassing protection against scams, scammers, malware, ransomware, and software codes.
While there is a plethora of educational resources available online to enhance digital safety, it can be daunting to navigate this environment while keeping up with the new dangers, threat actors, cybersecurity regulations, and policy changes.
Therefore, the choice of this year’s theme supports the notion that cybersecurity may be made simple and accessible to everyone.
Cyber Security Awareness Month 2023: Evolution Over the Years
This year celebrates the 20th anniversary of Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM). The slogan of the 2022 CSAM was, “See Yourself in Cyber: Together We Make It Safer,” drawing parallels with the Olympics’ drive for unification, which gained notoriety during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced isolation.
The International Olympics Committee introduced the “Stronger Together,” campaign, fostering a sense of unity and celebration of the Olympic spirit despite the challenges faced by participants.
Back in 2004, the President of the United States and Congress established an entire month to raise awareness about cybersecurity. Various agencies along with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) partner with organizations to raise awareness.
This program brought together various entities, including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), partnering with organizations to amplify awareness efforts. This marked the pivotal collaboration between the government and the industry, aimed at reaching a larger audience and achieving maximum impact.
Notably, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a government agency operating under the United States Department of Commerce, plays a significant role in hosting campaigns and workshops. For instance, the “Block Cipher Modes of Operation 2023,” which focuses on encryption standards, is one such advanced workshop.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month 203: Best Practices in Four Simple Steps
As the United States marks the 20th year of championing Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the central theme revolves around the ongoing journey of security education and heightened awareness. Throughout National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in the United States, a series of engaging activities and initiatives will take center stage.
In this October, the spotlight shines on four fundamental steps, carefully curated as part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023 in the USA. All these steps have been designed to be simply remembered and implemented, acting as a barrier against misunderstanding and potential risks.
A comprehensive study provided by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) highlights these critical steps, underlining their importance not only during NCSAM but all year.
“Simple actions we should all take not only during Cybersecurity Awareness Month but every day throughout the year,” highlights the CISA report.
Let us dive into these four essential steps that the US encourages everyone to adopt:
- Creating a strong password – Using a combination of phrases, letters, numbers, and other characters, in conjunction with a trustworthy password manager, ensures robust protection. A password manager makes it easier to safely store several passwords.
- Embracing multifactor authentication – In an age when advanced hacking techniques like brute-forcing are used to crack common passwords, simple username and password combinations are no longer sufficient. Choosing multifactor authentication, which sends a one-time password to a device in your possession, dramatically improves account security.
- Identifying phishing attacks – As proven by multiple incidents in the past few years, phishing remains a significant driver for successful data breaches. As a result, recognizing questionable emails from diverse sources, such as businesses, e-commerce sites, government agencies, and even friends, is critical. Cross-referencing their legitimacy on their own is an important strategy for avoiding potential risks.
- Prioritizing software updates – There have been numerous data breaches this year that may have been avoided with timely software updates. For instance, ransomware group Clop breached thousands of customer systems via a weakness in MOVEit File Transfer software, highlighting the significance of keeping software up to date.
With the collective efforts of the United States government and its agencies, this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023 looks poised for a huge success. Individuals and organizations alike are encouraged to join forces with CISA, volunteer their expertise, and participate in campaigns that promote cybersecurity.
Those interested in knowing more about this initiative, can send emails to [email protected] and learn more about how to create their own awareness campaigns.
CSAM 2023: A Global Perspective
The Japanese government has designated February 1st to March 18th as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. During this campaign this year, Chief Cabinet member Matsuno Hirokazu expressed concerns about the enormous economic impact of ransomware on Japan during a press conference.
Hirokazu emphasized the need for collective action, stating, “Together, let’s work on the improvement of cybersecurity with everyone’s participation.”
As part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023, the Japanese government worked actively in close coordination with the worldwide community. This partnership included participation in the “Cyber Challenge Campaign,” a collaborative project of Quad members from Australia, India, Japan, and the United States aimed at improving global cybersecurity.
The theme for Cyber Security Awareness Month 2023 in Australia is, “Be Cyber Wise – Don’t Compromise.” Australian government agencies have made a wealth of resources and toolkits available to empower users in enhancing their online security.
The University of Queensland, in conjunction with the Australian Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023 initiative, has outlined a comprehensive four-step plan for ensuring online safety. This year, they have dedicated each week to a specific cyber safety tip, mirroring the recommendations highlighted in US CASM 2023:
- Use strong passwords and password managers.
- Opt for multi-factor authentication.
- Take backup of important documents.
- Update device and software frequently.
Canada is all set to embark on a cyber journey with an interesting theme for this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month: “Step up your cyber fitness.” This theme, as described on the Government of Canada’s portal, encourages individuals and organizations alike to flex their cybersecurity muscles and take gradual, deliberate steps towards bolstering their digital defenses.
“It’s all about stretching your cyber security muscles and taking things one step at a time,” reads a report published on the Government of Canada’s portal.
Highlighting the significance of collective responsibility in addressing Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023, the website offers several informative resources for those seeking knowledge in this domain.
Drawing parallels between cyber fitness and personal well-being, the website aptly notes, “Just like starting a new fitness routine, finding the motivation to become your best, the most cyber safe self can be tough.”
Active participation is encouraged, as underscored in the portal’s message: “The best way to raise awareness about cyber security is to have more organizations involved – and that includes yours!”
To become a part of this cyber-awareness movement, participants are required to follow these steps:
- Highlight the importance of Cybersecurity Awareness Month among employees within the organization.
- Use Canadian government’s pre-designed internal communication messages.
- Use hashtags like #CyberMonth2023, #GetCyberSafe, #Cyber and #CyberSecurity.
- Use co-branded social messaging and images from Canadian government toolkit to engage with audience.
- Collaborate and tag them in post to participate in conversations about cybersecurity by using @GetCyberSafe.
- Share the successes with the government for a stronger collective effort in cybersecurity awareness.
Every year, the European Union dedicates a month to cybersecurity awareness, known as European Cybersecurity Month (ECSM). Like its predecessors, ECSM 2023 promises a variety of exciting events, such as conferences, workshops, training sessions, and presentations.
This effort is co-ordinated by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and the European Commission, with participation from not just government agencies but also think tanks, universities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The ECSM was founded in 2012, and its enduring motto, “Cybersecurity is a Shared Responsibility,” reflects a strong sense of solidarity. In 2022, the official slogan of the ECSM campaign was, “Think Before U Click.”
The theme for the European Union Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023 is “Become a Cyber Hero,” highlighting the collective responsibility to enhance cybersecurity across the EU.
The ECSM sees the launch of cybersecurity initiatives in partnership with EU member states over the years, contributing to a considerable decrease in the success rate of cyberattacks.
While emphasizing the importance of European Cybersecurity Month in a press release, Juhan Lepassaar, the Executive Director of ENISA, stated, “The number of successful online attacks could be greatly reduced if more people knew how to detect and react. This is what the activities of the European Cybersecurity Month are all about.”
Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023: Safeguarding Against Cyberattacks
In today’s interconnected world, a seemingly minor cyberattack exploiting a software vulnerability has the potential to jeopardize not only individuals but also the critical infrastructure of entire nations.
The simple act of installing updates can be the barrier that protects a complete system and its interconnected devices from the impending possibility of a security breach.
While Cybersecurity Awareness Month officially runs from October 1st to 31st, 2023, the need to be on the lookout for suspicious activity goes far beyond these days. Protecting our digital realm is a continual effort, one that is critical in an era marked by digitalization and reliance on constant connectivity.
Media Disclaimer: This report is based on internal and external research obtained through various means. The information provided is for reference purposes only, and users bear full responsibility for their reliance on it. The Cyber Express assumes no liability for the accuracy or consequences of using this information.