Cybersecurity Awareness Month, also known as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), is an annual campaign in the United States dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and promoting good cybersecurity practices. It was first established in 2004; however, with the evolution of technology, our interconnectedness with telecommunications, and the world’s overall increased reliance on technology for daily tasks, Cybersecurity Awareness Month has grown into a global initiative.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month: The Timeline
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the inaugural National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October 2004. The primary goal of the initiative was to educate individuals and organizations about the importance of cybersecurity and encourage them to take steps to protect their digital lives.
The Early Years (2004-2009)
In the early years, NCSAM focused on basic cybersecurity practices such as creating strong passwords, using antivirus software, and securing personal information. It aimed to reach a wide audience, including businesses, government agencies, and the general public.
Evolution and Expansion (2010s)
As cyber threats, and technology, continued to evolve, NCSAM adapted to address emerging cybersecurity issues. The campaign started to emphasize topics such as mobile device security, social media safety, and online privacy. It also encouraged collaboration between government, industry, and nonprofit organizations.
Global Reach (2017)
Recognizing the global nature of cyber threats, NCSAM expanded its reach beyond the United States in 2017. It became a global initiative, with organizations and countries worldwide participating in cybersecurity awareness efforts during the month of October.
As time went on, NCSAM forged partnerships with various stakeholders, including government agencies, educational institutions, private-sector companies, and nonprofits.
NCSAM encourages both the public and private sectors to participate actively. Government agencies use this opportunity to release cybersecurity guidance and resources, while private companies often engage in awareness campaigns and offer cybersecurity tips and advice.
These partnerships and increased involvement from the private and public sectors have helped to amplify the campaign’s message, reach a broader audience, and increase cybersecurity awareness at all levels.
Over the years, NCSAM has worked to make cybersecurity education more accessible. This includes providing online resources, webinars, workshops, and educational materials to help individuals and organizations improve their cybersecurity knowledge.
Given that 95% of cyber incidents are a result of human error, continuous education is paramount for keeping data secure and cyber-attacks at bay.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month has played a significant role improving cybersecurity and cyber threat awareness, promoting best practices, and bringing an overall awareness to digital and IT infrastructure security.
What steps do you plan to take, not just for #CybersecurityAwarenessMonth but throughout the year, to keep your digital information secure?