Dude, Where’s My Data? Welcome to Cybersecurity Awareness Month

cyber security

Forget the World Series and Halloween, October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCASM). It may not be as tasty as National Pizza Month—which is also celebrated in October--but it’s more important if you value your privacy.

You would think cybersecurity was already in the national consciousness what with Yahoo! personal data from 500 million accounts being hacked, the Democratic National Committee being hacked, and Donald Trump calling out the imaginary 400 pound hacker in the first presidential debate. But there is clearly more work to be done to make folks understand that they need to take the issue seriously.

NCSAM is a collaborative effort, first declared by President Barack Obama in 2015, between the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Department of Homeland Security that aims to help U.S. citizens protect their data in the online marketplace. The theme of this year’s NCSAM is to “Stop.Think.Connect.” Consumers who use the internet need to “take security and safety precautions, understand the consequences” of online actions and behaviors and “enjoy the benefits of the internet,” according to a NCSAM fact sheet. Combating cybersecurity threats is a collaborative effort ranging from consumer protection to fighting cybercrime on the national security level, it said.

U.S. states have kicked off this month with events that bring together public and private sector stakeholders to discuss leading trends and major issues in cybersecurity. Washington and Hawaii, to name a few, have actively promoted the event. The Washington state event will feature Brig. Gen. Gregory Touhill—the first U.S. Federal Chief Information Security Officer.

Even our neighbors across the pond are putting on their cybersecurity party hats. The European Network & Information Security Agency (ENISA), the European Banking Federation and Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre kicked off the month with a Sept. 30 event that discussed four central themes: security in banking, cyber safety, cybersecurity training and mobile malware. The goal of the kick-off event, in addition to the full cybersecurity month, is to promote cybersecurity among EU citizens and advocates by raising awareness of cybersecurity and information security issues and providing best practices.

If cybersecurity fans miss out on a chance to celebrate this month don’t worry. According to a recent MarketsandMarkets report, the cybersecurity industry is set to grow from $122.45 billion in 2016 to $202.36 billion by 2021. Cybersecurity enthusiasts may have the next decade, if not century, to celebrate the proliferation of the industry.

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