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October is National CyberSecurity Awareness Month!

What is CyberSecurity Awareness Month?

Cybersecurity Awareness Month's overarching theme is: Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.

The goal of this theme is to emphasize that cybersecurity isn't only a shared responsibility, it's an individual responsibility. If everyone does their part - implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating vulnerable audiences or training employees - our interconnected world will be safer and more secure for everyone.

  • Launched in 2004 as a joint effort between industry and government.
  • Co-lead by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance.
  • Raises awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and ensures that everyone has the information and tools they need to be safer online.
  • FinancialEdge Credit Union is proud to once again be a Champion in this year's Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Find out HERE how you too can become a Champion.
    • Make sure to check out our Facebook Page for a fun giveaway happening at the end of October as well as more tips and tricks to staying #CyberSmart
  • Get your kids involved by downloading their own Cybersecurity Printable Activity Book, filled with information, puzzles, coloring pages and more! 


October 1: Kick-Off

NCSA and CISA invite you to participate in Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021 this October as we encourage all users to own their role in protecting connected devices. “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”.

Facts & Figures:

  • The average total cost of a data breach in 2020 was $3.86 million and took an average of 280 days to identify and contain. (IBM)
  • The use of new breach techniques has boomed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 35% of breaches having leveraged new techniques in 2020. (Cynet)
  • 88% of data breaches are caused by human error. (Tessian)


Week 1 (Oct. 4-8): Be Cyber Smart

Week 1

As our lives have become increasingly dependent on technology, virtually all personal and business data is kept on internet-connected platforms, which can become a gold mine for bad actors.The first full week of Cybersecurity Awareness Month will highlight best security practices and focus on general cyber hygiene to keep your information safe. Own your role in cybersecurity by starting with the basics. Creating strong passwords and using multifactor authentication, backing up your data, and updating your software are great places to start. This is a great way to Do Your Part #BeCyberSmart! It’s everyone’s job to know and perform basic cyber best practices.

Start with the Following:

  • Use long, unique passphrases for all accounts
  • Enable multi-factor authentication wherever possible
  • Use a password manager
  • Update software as soon as updates are available
  • Keep backup copies of your data, both on and offsite

Facts & Figures: 

  • 61% of data breaches used compromised credentials. (Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report)
  • 56% of IT leaders believe their employees have picked up bad cybersecurity behaviors since working from home. (Tessian)
  • More than 99.9% of Microsoft enterprise accounts that get invaded by attackers didn’t use multi-factor authentication. (ZDNet)

Blog: Get Familiar with the Cyber Basics


Week 2 (Oct. 11-15): Fight the Phish

Week 2

Phishing attacks and scams have thrived since the COVID pandemic began in 2020 and today, phishing attacks account for more than 80 percent of reported security incidents. Week 2 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month will stress the importance of being wary of emails, text messages or chat boxes that come from a stranger or someone you were not expecting. Think before you click on any suspicious emails, links or attachments and make sure to report any suspicious emails if you can! Phishing is the number one gateway to cyber attacks, including ransomware. Don’t hesitate to report phishing!

Common red flags of a phishing attempt:

  • Misspellings or grammar mistakes
  • Awkward or unusual formatting
  • Language that creates a sense of urgency or pressure to click a link or download an attachment

Facts & Figures: 

  • Malware increased by 358% in 2020. (Help Net Security)
  • According to the FBI, phishing was the most common type of cybercrime in 2020, with the bureau receiving 241,342 complaints in 2020. (FBI)
  • Phishing attacks account for more than 80 percent of reported security incidents. (Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report)

Blog: 3 Fundamentals for Shoring Up Phishing Defenses


Week 3 (Oct. 18-22): CyberSecurity Career Awareness Week

Week 3

Week 3 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month will highlight the Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week led by National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). This is a week-long campaign that inspires and promotes the exploration of cybersecurity careers. Whether it’s students, veterans, or those seeking a career change, the dynamic field of cybersecurity is rapidly growing and has something for everyone. Learn more about Cybersecurity Career Awareness week here.

Week 3 Goals

Facts & Figures:

  • 80% of companies say they have a hard time finding and hiring security talent. (Gartner)
  • By 2029, the cybersecurity job market is set to grow by 31%. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Application Development Security, DevSecOps, Container Security, Microservices Security and Application Security Code Review are set to be the most in demand cybersecurity skills over the next five years. (Burning Glass)

Blog: Why You Should Consider a Cyber Career


Week 4 (Oct. 25-29): CyberSecurity First

Week 4

Week 4 is all about making security a priority. For businesses, this means building security into products and processes. Make cybersecurity training a part of employee onboarding and equip staff with the tools they need to keep the organization safe. For individuals, keep cybersecurity at the forefront of your mind as you connect daily. Before purchasing a device or online product, do your research. When you set up a new device or app, consider your security and privacy settings and update default passwords. Cybersecurity should not be an afterthought. Make cybersecurity a priority no matter where you are:

Week 4 Priority

Facts & Figures:

  • Nearly two-thirds of companies have 1,000+ sensitive files open to every employee (Varonis)
  • Global spend on cybersecurity is set to cross $60 billion in 2021. (Canalys)
  • The IoT devices market is anticipated to reach $1.1 trillion by 2026. (Fortune Business Insights)

Blog: Prioritizing Cybersecurity in a Hybrid Workplace


Ways for You to Get Involved:

At Work, At School and In the Community:

  • Sign your organization up as a 2021 Champion and join cyber influencers, companies of all sizes, educators and government leaders in building a safer, more secure world. Encourage your colleagues to sign up as individual Champions as well so they can stay up-to-date on resources and activities.
  • Send an email to colleagues, employees, customers and/or your school and community about Cybersecurity Awareness Month and outline how your organization will be involved. Highlight the theme and messaging. See the “Employee Email Template” available to all Champions.
  • Include information about the month in your community newsletter. Highlight the theme, "Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart." and include some of the key messages. You can use information from the Cybersecurity Awareness Month "About" page in your newsletter.
  • Host a poster/video contest for students in which participants create informative online safety resources. Display the winning entries at school or share them with your community.
  • Work with your leadership to issue an official proclamation or video announcement to show your organization’s support of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Proclamations should highlight what your company does to practice cybersecurity.
  • Host a local or virtual event or training for your organization or community to discuss smart computer practices and relevant cybersecurity issues. Use the PowerPoint presentation template available to all Champions.
  • Talk to community members about best security practices for email, social media and/or online transactions. See below for "Tips for Hosting a Cybersecurity Event."
  • Post the new logo on your company or organization’s external or internal website. You can link to the Cybersecurity Awareness Month “About” page to provide more info.
  • Issue a company promotion related to the month such as a product discount, competition, or giveaways for customers.
  • Conduct a mock phishing simulation with employees. Consider providing small prizes to those who performed well or were engaged in activities.
  • Distribute online safety materials and tip sheets. NCSA provides plenty of nonproprietary resources available to download and print in our library.
  • Attend the "How to Get Involved in Cybersecurity Awareness Month Webinar" on July 21 to learn more about these activities and how to get involved in the month - register here.
  • At the end of the month, send employees an email highlighting your activities and successes, and recapping the best practices learned throughout the month.

At Home:

  • Print Cybersecurity Awareness Month resources and display them in areas where family members spend time online.
  • Hold a family “tech talk.” Discuss how each family member can protect their devices and personal information.
  • Share tipsheets that offer valuable information on various cybersecurity topics for different family members.
  • Send an email to friends and family informing them that October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and encourage them to visit for tips and resources.


  • Post online safety tips and contribute your voice and resources to social media conversations by using the hashtag #BeCyberSmart and Cybersecurity Awareness Month social media graphics for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Download and share our pre-drafted social media posts and graphics leading up to and throughout the month on social media – download and share them all or customize them with your own key messages and resources!
  • Replace or incorporate your personal or company profile picture across social media platforms with the Cybersecurity Awareness Month logo for the duration of October.
  • Blog about cybersecurity in October. Choose a topic that appeals to you or highlight one of the Cybersecurity Awareness Month calls to action.
  • Follow the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on social media to receive the latest online safety news.

Additional Resources:

  • Cybersecurity Awareness Month:
  • Stay Safe Online Resources Library:
  • Security Awareness Videos:
  • National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS):
    • Looking for information about a particular cybersecurity position or course? NICCS tools and resources are available for anyone seeking more information about the cybersecurity field.
  • CISA Cyber Essentials:
    • The STOP. THINK. CONNECT.TM is a national public awarenesscampaign aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online.
  • NICE Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week:
    • This week-long campaign calls attention to the contributions to society and innovations that cybersecurity practitioners make. Join NICE in promoting the awareness and exploration of cybersecurity careers!
  • Federal Trade Commission Materials:
    • The Federal Trade Commission has a library of free publications you can order for consumers and businesses. Materials include information on privacy, identity theft and small business scams.
  • FBI Cyber Safety for Young Americans:
    • FBI-SOS is a free, fun, and informative program that promotes cyber citizenship by educating students in third to eighth grades on the essentials of online security.
  • #BeCyberSmart Campaign:
    • The “BeCyberSmart” campaign is designed to inspire the younger generation of Americans to take responsibility for their own cyber safety and learn about cybersecurity basics, common scams, and how to report cybersecurity incidents by visiting the campaignonline.



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