October marks Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign intended to encourage greater safety and protection among all computer users. Launched in 2004 by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the initiative has now spread to Europe and Latin America, among other regions, as recognition of the importance of educating citizens about cyber-risks increases.
In Europe, events, campaigns and other initiatives are being held by The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), as well as at a national level, with special attention paid to digital skills, education, and emerging technologies. In the UK, there will be events such as the European Cyber Security Challenge 2018 in London, and Decisions and Disruptions: An Interactive Cyber Security Workshop in Bath.
Cybersecurity: a shared responsibility
In today’s interconnected world, it is no longer viable for cybersecurity to be the sole responsibility of cybersecurity professionals; it must become a shared responsibility, which requires efforts at all levels of organizations and, more generally, of society.
In the last few months, the need for close collaboration in the subject of cybersecurity has been reaffirmed in order to face, among other threats, cyber espionage activities carried out by certain countries. At the start of October, the British Government accused the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU, of carrying out a series of cyberattacks. Shortly afterwards, it was revealed that a joint operation between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands had managed to stop a Russian cyberattack on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Now more than ever, the smallest actions can have the greatest positive impact. The events mentioned above attest this need. And at Panda Security we are aware of our responsibility as part of the cybersecurity sector.
This is why, in September, we joined The Cybersecurity Tech Accord, a key accord among a group of leading companies from around the world in the interest of defending an equitable, global cybersecurity — an accord that over 60 leading technology and security companies have already joined.
However, it is also important to recognize that it is difficult to know what to do if you are not a cybersecurity professional. With this in mind, the signatories of the Cybersecurity Tech Accord have prepared this survival kit for Cybersecurity Month, with ten simple measures that will help individuals and companies to protect their online security:
1.- Always change your default passwords, for each of your accounts, and change them at least once a year to keep your personal information safe;
2.- Use multifactor authentication whenever possible, as well as secure passwords, to confirm your identity when you log into your accounts;
3.- Use a firewall to block unauthorized access to computers and devices;
4.- Be sure to keep your operating system, browser, and other software up-to-date with security patches to minimize threats from viruses and malware;
5.- Limit what you do over public Wi-Fi and use software that creates a secure connection over the internet such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to safely connect from anywhere;
6.- Practice safe surfing and shopping, checking that the site’s address starts with “https”, instead of just “http”;
7.- Enable privacy settings and increase the default security settings of the software you use;
8.- Be selective when sharing personal information as this could be used by hackers to guess passwords and logins;
9.- Do not downloaded pirated software, as it is not only illegal, but almost always includes some type of malware;
10.- Back up your data, either to an external hard drive or the cloud, as this is the easiest way to recover from a ransomware attack.
Cybersecurity Month also creates a unique opportunity to get more involved in the different initiatives all around the world that seek to generate greater awareness of cybersecurity.
Among these initiatives are official certification programs to guarantee the highest standards of protection and to help the consumer to have the most advanced levels of security.
Panda Adaptive Defense has the “Common Criteria EAL-2” certification, the Centro Criptológico Nacional (National Cryptology Center) “Qualified IT Security Product” qualification and the “High ENS (National Security Framework)” classification, making it the only EDR solution with these certifications.
Cyberattacks are expected to increase in frequency and complexity in the years to come. The Cybersecurity Tech Accord signatories agree with the sentiment that the Internet is a shared resource and securing it is a shared responsibility. If everyone takes collective action to protecting our online environment, the digital society that we live in can become stronger, safer, more resilient and more resistant from future cyberattacks.