NCSAM: Celebrating 10 Years of Cybersecurity Awareness

This October marks the 10th anniversary of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM).  Sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, NCSAM has helped educate online consumers and businesses about cybersecurity issues and the best practices for avoiding them.

As a growing number of consumers turn to online shopping as their primary means of doing business, the number of cybercrimes – and the financial impact of those crimes – continues to rise; and the numbers are staggering.

According to the October 2011 issue of Practical Commerce, in the second quarter of 2011, an estimated 170 million US consumers purchased something online, resulting in approximately 539 million transactions.

Another article published in Internet Retailer on May 10, 2013 states that consumers spent 50.2 billion dollars online in the first quarter of this year alone.

The US Government, in its 2012 IC3 Report, cites 289,874 complaints of cybercrime, with over 114,000 of those reporting a financial loss averaging $4573.00. Projected worldwide, as Norton did in its 2012 Cybercrime Report, it’s estimated that 556 million people per year (1.5 million per day) experience some form of cybercrime.  And while the total loss per person averages out to $197.00, the total global loss is reported in the neighborhood of 110 billion dollars. Clearly, the Internet commerce financial pie is a large one; and everyone seems to be looking for a piece of it.

As technology continues to advance, so do the tactics of those seeking to gain your personal information.   The National Cyber Security Alliance, on its StaySafeOnline.org website, suggests observing the following practices  in order to ensure your personal – and financial – safety while online:

  • Keep a Clean Machine: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.
  • Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
  • Plug & scan: “USBs” and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

 Those wishing to know more about NCSAM and suggested best practices can check out StaySafeOnline.org for further details.