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2 October 2023

Welcome to Cyber Security Awareness Month 2023

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In today’s interconnected world, our lives are more intertwined with technology than ever before. The rapid digitisation of our personal and professional lives has brought immense convenience and opportunities, but it has also exposed us to an evolving landscape of cyber threats. As we embark on the 20th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in 2023, we find ourselves at a crucial juncture where knowledge and vigilance are paramount in safeguarding our digital presence.

What is Cyber Security Month 2023?

Cyber Security Month, alternatively referred to as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), occurs annually across the UK, United States and Europe. Its primary aim is to foster a heightened understanding of the significance of cyber security while promoting sound cyber security practices among individuals, businesses and organisations.

Throughout Cyber Security Month, a collaborative effort is made among government agencies, non-profit organisations and cyber security experts to share educational materials, workshops, webinars and various events designed to empower people in comprehending and addressing cyber security threats and challenges. These endeavours often revolve around subjects like online safety, password security, recognising phishing attempts, safeguarding data and the importance of keeping software and systems up to date.

This campaign urges both individuals and organisations to take proactive measures to fortify their cyber security stance, mitigate the risks associated with cyber attacks and safeguard sensitive information. It offers a platform for dialogues centred on best practices in cyber security and the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Cyber Security Month is a poignant reminder that the responsibility for cyber security and protecting the organisations we work for lies with each and every one of us. By staying well-informed and adopting robust cyber security habits, individuals and organisations can better shield themselves in this digital age.

What month is Cyber Security Awareness month 2023?

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is an annual event observed throughout the month of October. In 2023, Cyber Security Month marks its 20th anniversary, with active participation from numerous businesses, government entities and non-profit organisations all dedicated to advancing the cause of security education and awareness. This October, our focus will be on tracing the evolution of security awareness and identifying the ongoing measures required to safeguard businesses and organisations against the continually changing landscape of cyber threats.

What is the theme of Cyber Security Awareness month 2023?

The theme of this years’ cyber security month is #BeSmarterThanAHacker. This refers to the knowledge and tools employees need to protect themselves and the organisations they work for against cybercriminals.

It’s increasingly important that your workforce are trained in identifying cyber security threats and know the correct practices to prevent them from developing. Still responsible for over 90% of successful cyber security attacks, employees are at the centre of the target for the majority of modern day cyber attacks, with criminals aiming to use them to gain access to critical business systems, sensitive data and transfer funds.

What’s the biggest cyber security threat in 2023?

Phishing attacks are by far the greatest threat to businesses and individuals in 2023. This is supported in the findings of the 2023 cyber breaches survey, published by the UK government.

Source: Cyber security breaches survey 2023 – GOV.UK

Phishing attacks come in various forms but they all share the common goal of deceiving individuals or organisations into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials, financial data, or personal information. Here are some examples of phishing attacks: 

  1. Email Phishing: Attackers send deceptive emails that appear to be from legitimate sources, such as banks, social media platforms or trusted companies. These emails often contain links to fake websites designed to steal login information.
  2. Spear Phishing: In spear phishing, attackers target specific individuals or organisations. They tailor their phishing messages to appear highly personalised, often using information gathered from social media or other sources to gain the target’s trust.
  3. Vishing (Voice Phishing): Vishing involves phone calls where the attacker poses as a trusted entity, like a bank representative or tech support. They manipulate victims into revealing personal or financial information over the phone.
  4. Smishing (SMS Phishing): Smishing attacks use text messages to deceive recipients into clicking on malicious links or responding with sensitive information. These messages may claim to be from a bank, government agency or delivery service.
  5. Pharming: In pharming attacks, cybercriminals tamper with a victim’s DNS settings or use malicious code to redirect them to fake websites. Users may unwittingly enter their login credentials on these fraudulent sites.
  6. Clone Phishing: Clone phishing involves attackers copying a legitimate email, making minor modifications (e.g., changing the link), and then sending it to the target. This makes the email appear genuine, increasing the likelihood of success.
  7. Attachment Phishing: Phishing emails may include malicious attachments, such as infected documents or files. When opened, these attachments can install malware on the victim’s device.
  8. CEO Fraud or Business Email Compromise (BEC): In BEC attacks, the attacker impersonates a high-ranking executive within an organisation and requests financial transactions or sensitive information from employees, often resulting in financial losses.
  9. Search Engine Phishing: Attackers create fake websites that mimic popular search engine results. When users click on these links, they are directed to fraudulent sites designed to steal their information.
  10. Angler Phishing: Angler phishing occurs on social media platforms, where attackers create fake profiles or impersonate real users to build trust and gather personal information.
  11. Ransomware Phishing: Phishing emails can deliver ransomware, which encrypts a victim’s data and demands a ransom for decryption.

Phishing attacks are often the vehicle to deliver harmful payloads such as malware or Ransomware but they can also be as simple as asking for information in an email, phone call, text message or in person conversation.

How to stay secure this cyber security awareness month

With the majority of cyber attacks stemming from phishing where employees are the target, it’s clear that to build a strong security posture your business must invest in securing its people as well as its systems with technology. With the added risk of remote working which has now been largely adopted in the UK, your business is heavily reliant on the workforce’s ability to spot and prevent cyber threats from unfolding. Even with industry standard phishing protection solutions such as email security, web security and cloud access security brokers, cybercriminals will still find ways around these measures to put attacks in front of your employees.

The most effective way to deal with this is to deploy a security awareness training and testing program to staff. We’d recommend a fully managed security awareness program too to ensure your business isn’t spending too much valuable time, resource and money on training and maintaining staff cyber vigilance.

Security awareness training is proven to lower risk within organisations. At Cyber Security Awareness, we have helped over 1,000 organisations and over 500,000 employees learn about the cyber risks that threaten them. We give businesses proof that their workforce is secure against phishing attacks and provide ongoing measures to ensure it stays that way as attacks evolve and the cyber threat landscape shifts.

If there is a single investment your organisation can make this cyber security month to make a significant change to its security posture, it would be fully managed Security Awareness Training and Testing.

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