Posted October 8, 2020 in Blog.

October marks Cybersecurity Awareness Month – an internationally recognized campaign to promote cybersecurity both to organizations and to the public. In 2020, the campaign is more significant than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the globe, including Europe and Canada, October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Targeting both the public and businesses, the European Union and the Canadian Government are running cybersecurity campaigns throughout the month to highlight the threats presented by the online environment we all use every day and to promote the techniques and tools available to keep personal and organizational data and systems safe and secure.

In Europe, ‘Think Before U Click’ is the official motto of the EU’s European Cybersecurity Month 2020 (ECSM 2020), which focuses on two themes – Cyber Scams and Digital Skills. Within ECSM 2020, the EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and its partners are publishing reports and organizing events and training sessions for individuals and businesses throughout the month.

At the same time in Canada, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security is running a five-week campaign as part of its Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM 2020) that is designed to help Canadians protect themselves and their devices – including phones, computers, networks and smart devices – by highlighting cybersecurity best practices.

Why a cybersecurity campaign matters

Cyber threats are real and growing, but our willingness to embrace technology is not matched by our ‘cyber hygiene’. In Canada, for example, one in four say they are not prepared to face cyber threats, two in five admit to being a victim of a virus, spyware or malware on their computer and 26% say they have been victimized by an email scam.*

Given that many people have suddenly found themselves working from home for the first time in 2020, this campaign is therefore more important this year than ever before.

At the EU’s formal launch of ECSM 2020, speakers noted that in 2020, many organizations have faced a whole range of issues that they simply have not tackled before. For example, individuals need to know how best to behave online when they are accessing organizational networks and assets remotely, and just as importantly, when they are working in a different ecosystem at home where computers may be shared with other family members (including children, who are often very technologically savvy). Even where staff are used to being technical ‘nomads’, the response of some to the pandemic has led them to be less security-conscious than before when seeking COVID-related information online and responding to COVID emails that are, in fact, phishing attempts.

On the other side, businesses need to ensure their systems match all the technology challenges presented by a distributed workforce, with appropriate cybersecurity strategies and tools in place, such as managed detection and response services.

Both the Canadian Government and the EU are providing a huge amount of valuable information about cybersecurity free during October. Now would be a good time to take advantage of this and take your cybersecurity to the next level as we progress through the ‘new normal’, with all that is likely to entail.

Find out more

Discover the EU’s ECSM 2020 programme at https://www.enisa.europa.eu/topics/cybersecurity-education/european-cyber-security-month/ecsm-2020

Find out about the Canadian Government’s CSAM 2020 at https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/en/csam-2020-theme-page

* Government of Canada; Get Cyber Safe Awareness Tracking Survey; Spring 2020