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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Posted by Sean McCabe on October 3, 2017 at 2:08 PM

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October is known for a lot of events. We have Halloween, leaves turning color in the northeast, not to mention sports galore. Baseball playoffs, the start of both the NBA and NHL season, and football is already in month number two. But one event shouldn’t go unnoticed. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and with all the news about hackers these days it makes perfect sense.

The idea is “designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of cyber-security, provide them with tools and resources needed to stay safe online, and increase the resiliency of the Nation in the event of a cyber incident,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.

This isn’t anything new, since NCSAM (as the cool kids call it) started back in October of 2004. What’s changed since then? The cyber-security sector was a $3.5 billion market in 2004, and now it will surpass $120 billion by the end of 2017. This is all for a valid reason since we are in a “golden era” of cyber-threats.

2017 may go down with the unflattering distinction of being the worst year for cyber-security incidents. This year alone saw major hacks involving Equifax, HBO and Verizon. 2016 had been the worst year, to date, for cyber-security incidents. The big one being the DNC hack during the U.S. election. Even with all the news coverage, and a newfound desire to be safer than ever, 2017 is making 2016 look like a sweet dream.

The hack of Equifax, one of the nation’s three credit bureaus, was the worst of the bunch and we still aren’t finished with it. Personal information of more than 143 million consumers was exposed and the company took months to announce it. The worst part is that Equifax and the other two major credit bureaus maintain a large amount of highly confidential financial and personal data on the individuals in their databases. That means even if you weren’t a customer, you might have been exposed due to the way they gather info on all consumers based on their credit activity. Equifax has taken heat for this mess, resulting in the retirement of their CEO.

As hacks and data breaches become a part of our everyday lives, we must stay vigilant when it comes to protecting ourselves. Stay cyber-savvy this month and beyond!

Topics: cyber security

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