It’s October, and that means it is cyber security awareness month 2023. Now in its 20th year, this annual campaign was launched by the US Department of Homeland Security. The key objective is to raise cyber awareness on both a national and international level. Here we dive a little deeper into what is a very important element within the cyber security calendar. We’ll also pose a few questions designed to assess your cyber awareness.
Cyber Security Awareness Month Around The World
Nowadays, the mainstream news platforms are awash with reports about large scale data breaches and hacking incidents. Just this week, NATO finds itself “actively addressing” numerous IT security incidents claimed to have been caused by a ‘hacktivist’ group. ‘Gay furry hackers’, who struck at NATO once before in July, claimed it has done so again. This time, the group may have stolen more than 3,000 files and 9GB of data. This type of report can make cyber-attacks seem a million miles away from smaller organisations and individuals. But it can also lead to them seeing such attacks as being impossible to stop; this is where the importance of cyber security month becomes clear.
The campaign serves as a reminder to everyone that there are many different ways to protect data. It places great emphasis on cyber security basics. For example, in Europe this year the main focal point is social engineering. The European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) campaign is built around the motto, ‘be smarter than a hacker’. It will cover everything from phishing emails to impersonation scams, demonstrating the various signs to watch out for with both.
How to spot a phishing email- Check the sender’s address; is it sent from a public domain?
- Does it contain a strange attachment?
- Is the email trying to create a sense of urgency?
- Does it link to an unfamiliar or misspelled email address?
- Are there spelling or grammatical errors?
‘Secure Our World’ & ‘Be Cyber Wise – Don’t Compromise’
In the US, cyber security awareness month 2023 is run by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Their new awareness programme, ‘Secure Our World’, will encourage everybody to take daily actions to protect themselves. When online or using connected devices, organisations and individuals will be urged to adopt four critical actions:- Adopt strong passwords
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
- Learn how to recognise phishing attempts (and report them)
- Keep all software up to date
In Australia this year the theme is, ‘Be cyber wise – don’t compromise’. Similarly to the US campaign, this also points out four key steps to take to increase cyber resilience:- Regularly update all devices
- Turn MFA on
- Ensure important files are backed up
- Use pass phrases and password managers
Be More Cyber Aware
Cyber security awareness month 2023 is all set to be the largest campaign of its kind since it began in 2004. With so many IT security-related incidents in recent years, many of us are now far more aware of cyber security than before. But just how cyber aware are you? Here is a short cyber awareness quiz to test your knowledge of cyber security (answers below):
Question 1: What does “Phishing” refer to?
a) A popular social media platform
b) A type of cyber- attack that uses deceptive emails or websites to steal personal information
c) A computer virus
Question 2: Which of the following is a strong password?
Question 3: What is the primary purpose of a firewall in a computer network?
a) To block all incoming and outgoing internet traffic
b) To monitor and filter network traffic to protect against unauthorized access and cyber-attacks
c) To increase internet speed
Question 4: You receive an email from an unknown sender with a link that asks you to verify your bank account details. What should you do?
a) Click on the link and provide the requested information
b) Delete the email without opening it
c) Forward the email to your friends
Question 5: Which of the following is NOT a common type of malware?
Question 6: What Is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?
a) A security feature that requires you to have two different bank accounts
b) A method of verifying your identity using two different factors, such as a password and a fingerprint
c) A type of computer virus
Question 7: What should you do if you suspect that your computer has been infected with malware?
a) Ignore it, as it will go away on its own
b) Run a reputable antivirus scan to remove the malware
c) Share your computer with friends to see if they can help
Question 8: True or False: It is safe to use the same password for multiple online accounts.
Question 9: What is a VPN (Virtual Private Network) used for?
a) To increase your internet speed
b) To protect your online privacy by masking your IP address and encrypting your internet connection
c) To access restricted websites
Question 10: What should you do if you receive a suspicious message or friend request on a social media platform?
a) Accept it to find out more information
b) Report and block the user
c) Share the message with all your friends
1: b) A type of cyberattack that uses deceptive emails or websites to steal personal information
2: c) Tr0ub@dor$!
3: b) To monitor and filter network traffic to protect against unauthorized access and cyberattacks
4: b) Delete the email without opening it
5: c) Browser
6: b) A method of verifying your identity using two different factors, such as a password and a fingerprint
7: b) Run a reputable antivirus scan to remove the malware
9: b) To protect your online privacy by masking your IP address and encrypting your internet connection
10: b) Report and block the user
7-10: You are on your way to becoming a cyber security expert!
5-6: You are fairly cyber aware
0-4: Take steps to become more cyber aware! (Organisations with this score might want to speak with our cyber security experts)
How did you get on?