What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?


CISA Cybersecurity Awareness Month Logo

Since 2004, October is celebrated as Cybersecurity Awareness Month, previously called National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCAM). NCAM is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise cybersecurity awareness nationwide and help ensure that users have the resources needed to be safe and secure online.


Cybercrime is defined as any crime committed electronically, such as theft, fraud and even physical threats and endangerment. It is important to know your cyber basics and know how to take action to protect yourself. Being safe on the computer is similar to being safe in your daily offline routine. You would not leave your car unlocked in the middle of a crowded city, so why not apply those same safety principles to your online life?


Cyber-attacks do not always have to come from the internet, and malware can hide easily on some of the data storage devices we trust and use daily. Physical cyber-attacks use hardware, external storage devices or other physical types of attacks to infect, damage or otherwise compromise digital systems. The attack can hitch a ride on USB storage devices or flash drives, CDs, hard copies of video games and Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smartphones, smart watches and even signal devices such as key fobs.


These kinds of attacks are frighteningly versatile, challenging to identify and detect painfully difficult - sometimes close to impossible - to remove. Always try to keep track of where your storage devices have been, and do not plug "lost-and-found" USB drives into your computer. Keep your personal and workplace data storage and other devices separate to avoid transferring malware from one system to another, just like washing your hands to prevent the flu from spreading!


There are four easy ways to protect yourself online:

  1. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  2. Use strong passwords
  3. Recognize and report phishing
  4. Update your software

Throughout the month, we will highlight these four key points in the spirit of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.