By Ryan Klund - Business Development Associate
For 16 years now, Cybersecurity Awareness Month, put on by the US Government each October, has tried its best to bring awareness to the growing need for strong cybersecurity for citizens and organizations in the US.
Oftentimes awareness campaigns fail to scratch the surface of our national consciousness through press releases, events, and slogans. And unfortunately, most people only pay attention to a problem when they’re the ones personally affected. We hope 2020 is different.
If there ever was a year to pay attention to Cybersecurity. 2020 is the year.
This year has been a rollercoaster for everyone in our nation. The global pandemic, civil unrest, economic uncertainty, and a presidential election capture the most attention in the headlines. It doesn’t get as much attention, but Cyber-crime syndicates, nation-states and organizations continue to pose a serious and imminent threat to – not just our devices and our businesses – but the infrastructure of our civilization, increasingly reliant on technology and the internet to hold it all together.
Working from home has made everyone an easier target. The pandemic forced US businesses to shift their workforce to their less secure home networks. Now there are more endpoints that an attacker can exploit, and phishing scams are on the rise.
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) spells out its four themes for the awareness campaign and each one is a reminder of an area we can and should focus on to strengthen our cumulative national security.
If you Connect it, Protect IT
Everyone is a potential victim. Every device that connects to the internet has the potential of being hacked. Add the fact that nearly everyone re-uses passwords, and everyone in the United States is at risk. [Side note: use a Password Manager – seriously, this will increase your security immediately]
Securing Devices at Home and Work
We already mentioned why working from home makes employees an easier target than working from the office. These grave statistics show why it’s so important for businesses to increase their cybersecurity during this time of remote work. 88% of organizations experienced a spear phishing attempt last year and of those companies compromised, 50% were infected with ransomware.
Securing Internet Devices in HealthCare
It might seem silly to pinpoint one specific industry for a pillar of Cybersecurity Awareness Month – but the healthcare industry is incredibly susceptible to attack. Healthcare is the most at risk industry in small, medium and enterprise organizations. Healthcare has some of the most valuable data, it’s home to an incredibly complicated interconnected network of devices, also a lack of attention, understanding and funding make healthcare organizations particularly vulnerable.
The Future of Connected Devices
Our world is not becoming less connected. The Internet of Things is booming – nearly everything we own, or use will soon be connected to the internet – making life more efficient, intelligent, and collaborative. The downside will be that in the future everything has the potential to be hacked or infected with malicious software.
The US Government’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month might seem silly or hokey or less important than the other issues our country faces right now but we must be diligent. 2020 forced us into a more interconnected world and the need for strong cybersecurity to protect that world is stronger than ever.
SWICKtech is a Business Cybersecurity Partner for hundreds of businesses in Waukesha, Milwaukee and the greater Midwest. If you're interested in learning more about improving cybersecurity, we'd be happy to have a no-strings-attached consultation about any questions you have.