CISA Kicks Off 17th National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is partnering with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a public-private partnership dedicated to the cause, to lead the 17th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month starting today.

“Gone are the days when individuals could think about cybersecurity casually,” said CISA Director Christopher Krebs in a release. “Our homes, schools, and businesses are now more connected than ever, introducing a whole new set of potential vulnerabilities. Everyone needs to be aware of these risks and take an active role in addressing them. During this month, we are working to boost every American’s cyber readiness and our nation’s collective cybersecurity.”

Federal agencies are joining Krebs’s call to boost cyber readiness with their own notes about the month – even President Trump commended the effort to bring attention to national cyber readiness. “During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we recommit to ensuring our nation’s cybersecurity,” the president wrote in a declaration, “and we raise awareness of the responsibility all Americans have to protect their Internet-connected devices, technology, and networks from cyber threats at work, home, and school.”

The National Institute of Standards and Technology updated its National Cybersecurity Awareness Month landing page today with information on how partners and stakeholders can join the celebration. The agency recommends spreading the word on social media, holding a family “tech talk” on keeping devices secure, and signing up for NCSA resources on cybersecurity, among other efforts.

Promoting even more ways to get involved, the Federal CIO Council shared an itinerary of government events throughout the month of October focused on cybersecurity, including a live hacking demo and the Department of Agriculture’s cyber expo.

On Twitter, the General Services Administration asked its followers to consider how secure their networks really are, and reminded users of its free, educational cyber resources. The U.S. Navy also took to social media to remind Americans that every individual plays an important part in keeping the Federal government secure and committed to defending against cyberthreats 24/7 and 365 days a year.

According to another tweet, U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency are partnering with the Department of Homeland Security to share information about keeping networks cybersecure all month long. Other agencies such as the Treasury Department are also joining the Federal kick-off of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month with new advisories on combatting financial ransomware and scams.

The National Association of State CIOs chimed in on the importance of celebrating cybersecurity awareness at all levels of government with a note from Executive Director Doug Robinson. “While responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, state governments are seeing increased cyber threats and attacks. Greater awareness is critical,” he said. “NASCIO applauds those states who have issued proclamations to recognize October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and calls on everyone to commit their support to helping raise awareness about the importance of securing cyberspace.”

The overall theme for the month is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” Each week during October, CISA is offering education on different themes in cybersecurity, including “If You Connect It, Protect It,” “Securing Devices at Home and Work,” “Securing Internet-Connected Devices in Healthcare,” and “The Future of Internet-Connected Devices.”

Katie Malone
About Katie Malone
Katie Malone is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.