US celebrates National Cyber Security Awareness Month

In the US, the month of October has been designated National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which the whole world can use as a reminder of the importance of vulnerability management.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the month is the perfect time for public and private sector stakeholders, government leaders and the public at large to focus on building a safer, more secure connected world.

"Everyone has to play a role in cybersecurity. Constantly evolving cyber threats require the engagement of the entire nation – from government and law enforcement to the private sector and most importantly, the public," the DHS said in a release.

The DHS shed light on how rapidly our world has changed in the age of the internet. On the one hand, knowledge, cultures, products, languages and ideas can be shared between countries more easily than ever before.

However, with this has come a deluge of new cyber threats that have the potential to cause serious problems for just about anyone. Businesses, online shoppers, electric utilities – all have plenty to lose in a catastrophic cyber attack.

October 2013 is the tenth year in a row the US has held the month of awareness. It is held in conjunction with the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

"The Department of Homeland Security is committed to raising cybersecurity awareness across the nation and to working across all levels of government, the private sector, and internationally to protect against and respond to cyber incidents," the DHS concluded.

Protecting critical infrastructure

This month, the DHS will put a heavy focus on protecting critical infrastructure.

Electric and water utilities around the country have been reporting a rise in the number of attempted cyber attacks in recent years, prompting many to speak with penetration testing professionals to learn more about how to protect their systems.

During the final week of October, the DHS will hold several events to highlight the importance of securing all assets, systems, networks and functions utilities, communities, schools, universities and local governments regularly use.

These threats exist beyond the borders of North America, though. Any country would benefit from taking a month to raise awareness of how important cybersecurity is, and use it as a time to learn more about the state of their own cybersecurity programs.

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