Here’s what you should know

Starting in 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security named October National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), declaring it a “collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.”

This year, NCSAM’s message is Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT., drilling home the importance of “taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace”, while emphasizing personal accountability, citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security.

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) has published a comprehensive NCSAM 2019 Toolkit chock-full of useful information for implementing cybersecurity measures both at home and on the job. Below are the biggest takeaways:

Own IT

Nowadays, devices with access to the internet are omnipresent, whether we’re at school, work, home, or in transit. While this atmosphere of constant connection can provide opportunities for innovation and modernization, it can also open doors for cybersecurity threats that can compromise your personal information. That’s why understanding your digital profile, and the devices and applications you use, is so important. By so doing, you’ll be able to better safeguard yourself and your information.

Secure IT

Security features are your #1 defense against cybercriminals. Since hackers are “good at getting personal information from unsuspecting victims, and [their] methods are getting more sophisticated as technology evolves” it’s important that you take the necessary steps to secure your digital profile. Learn about the security features available on your devices, apps, and software, and apply additional layers of security when available.

Protect IT

Think about every time you click on a link, share a post, or message a friend. Every action you take online creates “a digital trail that can be exploited by cybercriminals”, therefore, make sure you understand, secure, and maintain your digital footprint by routinely checking privacy settings and more.