Are You Hacker-proof? October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month | DCR Workforce Blog

Are You Hacker-proof? October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Today’s world is more interconnected than ever with the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced mobile devices including smart watches and other connected devices. Yet, for all its advantages, increased connectivity brings the disadvantage of increased risk of theft, fraud and abuse. The days of dumpster diving to steal identities is over. But the criminals haven’t gone anywhere; instead many of them have just moved online.

As Americans become more reliant on modern technology, we leave ourselves open to more vulnerabilities to cyber attacks such as corporate security breaches, spear phishing and social media fraud. Complementary cyber security and law enforcement capabilities are critical to safeguarding and securing cyberspace. Law enforcement performs an essential role in achieving our nation’s cyber security objectives by investigating a wide range of cyber crimes, from theft and fraud to child exploitation as well as apprehending and prosecuting those responsible.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) works in conjunction with other federal agencies to conduct criminal investigations to disrupt and defeat cyber criminals, recruit and train technical experts and broadly share cyber response best practices and tools.

And yet attacks occur regularly. So it’s up to us an individuals to take steps daily for online safety. Since October is officially Cyber Security Awareness Month, the DHS is sponsoring weekly themes to help keep our nation safe:

  • Week 1: October 3-7 – Every Day Steps Toward Online Safety with Stop.Think.Connect.™
  • Week 2: October 10-14 – Cyber from the Break Room to the Board Room
  • Week 3: October 17-21 – Recognizing and Combating Cybercrime
  • Week 4: October 24-28 – Our Continuously Connected Lives: What’s Your ‘App’-titude?
  • Week 5: October 31 – Building Resilience in Critical Infrastructure 

Take cyber security into your own hands

Taking simple steps to a more secure environment forms the basis for Stop.Think.Connect. Cyber security should be present in every aspect of our lives – home, work, school or travel. Regardless of your technical ability, there are simple steps everyone can take to be more cyber secure in their digital lives. The Stop. Think. Connect. program provides basic tips for everyone to be safer online, including more secure accounts through stronger authentication and keeping security updates current.

At work, we’re all part of protecting personal and organizational data – from the CEO to the entry-level employee and the contingent worker, each organization’s cyber security is reliant on a shared level of vigilance and awareness. At DCR, we practice strict guidelines and implement best practices to ensure a secure environment such as:

  • Perform extensive testing to find out vulnerabilities in applications and fix them.
  • Engage external companies to do penetration testing of our network and for dynamic and static scans of the applications.
  • Institute an internal team dedicated to security testing and monitoring. They periodically audit and run tests and provide fixes as soon as issue is reported or known from forums.
  • Appoint a monitoring team that monitors logs from various systems to see if there are any security threats including intrusion detection and prevention.
  • Ensure all data is encrypted at rest, and only transmit files after encrypted using secure channels for data transfer.
  • Safeguard data on a need-to-know basis so only authorized users get access.
  • Institute strong password policies.
  • Administer strong configuration and patch management policies.
  • Conduct security awareness training with all employees.

Be aware of what’s out there

Incidents such as “phishing” emails are often masked behind trusted sources, infected websites may capture your personal information when entered and persuasive links can lock your files until a ransom is paid. Learn the signs of criminal intent through technology and what you can do to detect and prevent cyber crime.

As the amount of connected technologies being increasingly managed by smart devices surges – cars, household appliances, finances, healthcare and more – we’re confronted with the necessity for increased awareness to secure cutting-edge, technical innovations to block attacks and operate safely within this new digital society.

And for those who are entrusted with building our critical infrastructures, the linkage between cyber and physical security is essential to ensure the resiliency of critical infrastructure at both the local and national level. Our essential systems and assets, from power grids to banking systems, depends on it. It’s vital to our national security, economy, public health and safety.

What are you doing to be more #CyberAware? Please leave your tips in the comment section below.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Sanjesh is a Senior System Architect at DCR with prior experience in developing enterprise software in wealth and investment management domains. He’s currently involved in helping the various teams in DCR build amazing, secure software.