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From Ghosts to Cyber Threats: The Lesser Known But Equally Important October Celebration

Oct 27, 2023 | Cybersecurity

As the month of October takes on a supernatural glow with the arrival of its most popular celebration: Halloween, a more earthly and contemporary awareness also comes to life.

Amid the costumes and sweets in October; a quieter celebration also coexists, lesser-known but equally important: Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

In a way, maybe it’s not so coincidental that this event occurs in the same month as Halloween, considering that both deal with the modern world’s fears, one with witches, ghosts, and zombies, and the other with digital threats.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month Origins

Initiated in 2004 by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), this awareness month addresses our growing dependence on digital technologies and the omnipresent concern about protecting our precious online information.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is more than merely an October event. It is a global call for individuals and organizations to educate themselves and implement effective security practices, and by doing so, become resistant to cyber attacks. Tech giants like Intel, Cisco, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook endorse and sponsor this event, as do numerous governmental bodies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

2023 Global Theme

Let’s take a look at what this year, 2023, has brought with it: This year, the global theme is titled “4 easy ways to stay safe online”. Each week of the month highlighted different aspects of cybersecurity, and that’s why we’re sharing some useful tips about each one in this article.

Recognize & report phishing

One of the oldest tricks in the cybercriminals’ book is phishing, which involves the use of disguised emails to deceive users and obtain their confidential data. To protect yourself from phishing, you can:

   – Always verify the sender’s email to ensure it’s legitimate.

   – Don’t click on suspicious links within emails.

   – Don’t provide personal or financial information via email.

   – Report the phishing attempt to your email provider and to the FTC in the United States.

Use Strong Passwords

Passwords are the first line of defense against cybercriminals. Here are some tips to keep your passwords safe:

   – Use unique passwords for each account.

   – Make your passwords long, complex, and hard to guess.

   – Use a password manager, which can generate and remember secure passwords for you.

   – Change your passwords regularly.

Use MFA

The use of multifactor authentication provides an additional layer of security, requiring a second type of identification besides the password. Here are a few suggestions:

   – Enable two-factor authentication on all accounts that offer it. This usually involves entering a code sent to your phone along with your password.

   – Consider using a hardware security token, which provides a higher level of protection.

Update Software

Software updates often include patches for security vulnerabilities, making it key to your information’s safety to keep your systems up-to-date. Please note the following:

   – Set your devices and applications to update automatically.

   – Never ignore software update notifications.

   – Always download updates from official sources, so you don’t get malware disguised as an update.

In this way, you can use these practical tips to strengthen your cybersecurity.

At the end of the day, Cybersecurity Awareness Month and Halloween are not so different. Both seek to combat fears and threats, albeit of different natures. So, this October, as you prepare for a night of tricks or treats, also remember to strengthen your defenses in cyberspace.

Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month to all!

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