October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Stay safe online

Data breaches. Phishing attacks. Malware.

Cybersecurity and threats to consumers and businesses remain a constant concern within the telecommunications industry.

Whether it is a Fortune 500 company, a small business or a consumer at home, cybercriminals do not discriminate in targeting vulnerable computer systems. And would-be cyberthieves’ tactics are constantly evolving.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. National cybersecurity awareness month — a joint effort between the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the National Cyber Security Alliance — is intended to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to make sure all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.

With a message of “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT,’’ cybersecurity awareness month emphasizes personal accountability and stresses the importance of taking steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace. Specifically, individuals are encouraged to:

  • Understand their digital profile – the devices, applications and social media platforms they use each day to keep them and their information safe and secure;
  • Secure their digital profile – adopt strong passwords and apply layers of security to devices, such as multi-factor authentication;
  • Maintain their digital profile – be familiar with and routinely check privacy settings to help protect privacy and limit cybercrimes and online scams.

Cybersecurity remains a top priority for the Texas telecommunications industry. Members of the Texas Telephone Association – from publicly traded corporations to small companies and cooperatives – are committed to working with the rest of the industry to secure networks and promote a secure Internet for their business and consumer customers.

The industry continues to look at developing new technologies, implementing new cybersecurity strategies and helping to raise awareness.

Still, cyberthreats continue to grow.

The growth of network-connected devices, systems and services that make up the Internet of Things provides efficiencies and new experiences for consumers and businesses. At the same time, that ecosystem can create more challenges and multiple opportunities for malicious actors to manipulate the flow of information to and from network connected devices, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Important processes that once were performed manually – and enjoyed a measure of immunity against malicious cyberactivity – are growing more vulnerable, DHS said.

The Department of Homeland Security recommends strategic principles for securing the Internet of Things as they develop, manufacture, implement or use network-connected devices. More recommendations on keeping  networks and systems safe can be found here.