The Importance of National Cyber Security Month
Earlier this year, major corporations on Wall Street faced a massive cyber attack, according to Reuters, in which stock prices dropped dramatically, essential financial and government websites crashed, and billions of dollars were wiped off of balance sheets.
Fortunately, this event was only part of a simulation called “Quantum Dawn 2”, which is a part of the growing effort by the Federal Government and many industries to protect and prepare for cyber attacks. According to a report by the Internet Crime Complaint Center, there were 289,874 cyber crimes costing an estimated $525,441,110 in losses in 2012, which represents an 8.3 increase from the year before. This means that being informed and taking precautions is essential not only for banks and corporations on Wall Street, but for families as well.
Awareness on a Major Scale
One of the major contributors to an increasing awareness of the risks cyber crimes pose is the National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which takes place every October. According to the Department of Homeland Security, NCSAM is “an opportunity to engage public and private sector stakeholders – especially the general public – to create a safe, secure, and resilient cyber environment.” The NCSAM was founded in 2004 by the Department of Homeland Security, the National Cyber Security Alliance, and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, and celebrated its 10 year anniversary this year.
One of the focuses this year was on protecting our infrastructure. According to a report in Bloomberg, the former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano believes that the United States will face a large-scale cyber attack on our infrastructure sometime in the not too distant future. Whether this attack comes from a terrorist organization, a rival nation, or a rogue hacker group, the risks increase every year as we continue to integrate technology into every aspect of our nation’s infrastructure.
Protecting Yourself From Cyber Attacks
Most people already understand the importance of protecting their computers with anti-virus software and firewalls. These basic protections are vital to safeguarding the sensitive and confidential information we often keep on our home computers. However, as more and more of us utilize smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices, we must be mindful of the potential new vulnerabilities that can arise.
One important example of new vulnerabilities comes from the development of home security systems that allow us to arm, disarm, and check the status of our homes from wherever we are via our smartphones. While these features are certainly useful, they open us up for cyber attacks that previously did not exist. In addition, the nature of home security systems means that a successful hacker will have access to your home address, know when you are not home, and will therefore have the ability to disarm your security system and rob you when you are away.
Because of these risks, it is essential that you encrypt and protect your information by using a secure home security system. It is imperative to do research on which system will offer the best in both home security and cyber security. One resource to get you started is www.homesecurity.com, which provides information about various security systems, as well as general information about automating your home. At the end of the day, it is up to you to make sure every step has been taken to protect your home.