October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

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October is internationally recognized as Cyber Security Awareness Month, a global initiative aimed at raising awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and promoting best practices for staying safe online. This annual campaign is a collaborative effort between government agencies, private organizations, and individuals to educate people about the ever-growing threats in the digital landscape and empower them to protect themselves and their online assets.

Here are some high-level, general themes of Cyber Security Awareness Month:

  • Education: Throughout October, organizations and cybersecurity experts offer workshops, webinars, and educational materials to inform individuals and businesses about the latest cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and trends. These resources help people understand the risks they face and the steps they can take to mitigate them.
  • Promoting Good Cyber Hygiene: The campaign emphasizes the importance of practicing good cyber hygiene. This includes using strong, unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, regularly updating software and devices, and being cautious of phishing scams and social engineering tactics.
  • Public-Private Partnerships: Cyber Security Awareness Month often involves collaboration between governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations. These partnerships help create a unified front against cyber threats, enabling the sharing of information and resources to better protect individuals and critical infrastructure.
  • Focus on Specific Themes: Each year, Cyber Security Awareness Month typically has a theme that highlights a particular aspect of cybersecurity. Themes can range from privacy and online safety for children to securing the Internet of Things (IoT) devices or addressing the challenges posed by remote work. (More information below)
  • Community Involvement: The campaign encourages individuals and communities to get involved. This can include hosting local events, participating in online discussions, or simply sharing cybersecurity tips with friends and family to promote a safer digital environment.
  • Global Reach: Cyber Security Awareness Month is observed worldwide, with participation from countries, organizations, and individuals around the globe. This global perspective helps address cybersecurity challenges on an international scale.
  • Advocacy and Policy Initiatives: The month also serves as an opportunity for policymakers and legislators to introduce and promote cybersecurity-related legislation and regulations to enhance the protection of critical infrastructure and personal data.


In an increasingly connected world where cyber threats continue to evolve, Cyber Security Awareness Month plays a crucial role in promoting vigilance and preparedness. By educating individuals and organizations about the importance of cybersecurity and providing them with the tools and knowledge to defend against cyber threats, this initiative helps create a safer digital environment for all.

American Theme - Secure Our World: 2023 and Beyond

Let’s take a look at an article by Digicert that talks about the history of #NCSAM and this year’s theme, “This October marks the 20th anniversary of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), a collaborative initiative between the government and private industry in the United States, Canada, and European Union aimed at advocating for safe and secure online practices.

Over the past two decades, our cyber footprint has evolved rapidly. Devices—and the people who use them—are everywhere, and security and vigilance are paramount. Digital trust, or confidence in the security of our online interactions, is the backbone of the connected world.

The world has changed significantly since 2003, and it will transform even more by 2043. But what won’t change is the need to establish trust in our digital footprints.

This year’s NCSAM theme centers around four steps that every consumer can take to protect their cyber footprint, including:

1. Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA)

2. Using strong passwords

3. Keeping software up to date

4. Recognizing and reporting phishing

Explore our tips below to discover how DigiCert supports this year’s theme.

Enabling multi-factor authentication

If we could create a single authentication method that was 100% foolproof and impervious to hacking, we wouldn’t need multi-factor authentication. But MFA offers layers of authentication that serve as an additional safeguard, shoring up potential weaknesses in other layers.

The goal of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is to establish a layered defense strategy by incorporating two or more credentials: something you know (like a password), something you possess (like a security token), and something unique to you (like biometric verification).

Using a combination of multiple factors for user authentication significantly increases the difficulty for unauthorized individuals to gain access to computers, mobile devices, physical premises, networks, or databases.

In fact, Microsoft reports that multi-factor authentication has been proven to thwart approximately 99.9% of automated attacks.

Using strong passwords and a password manager

Passwords serve as the initial defense against unauthorized access to your personal computer. The strength of a password directly correlates with the level of protection it offers against malicious software and hackers— and it’s crucial to understand that this security method applies to every account you access, whether personal or professional.

To create a robust password, it’s essential to adhere to specific criteria, including:

1. A strong password should be a minimum of 8 characters in length.

2. It must not contain any personal information, such as your real name, username or company name.

3. It should differ significantly from previous passwords.

4. Avoid using complete words.

5. A strong password should incorporate various character types, including uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Organizations can also consider a password manager such as Keeper or LastPass. These tools can generate lengthy, intricate, and entirely random passwords, all while ensuring you don’t have to remember them yourself. The crucial step here is to establish an exceptionally robust password for the password manager itself (and implement two-factor authentication). This precautionary measure ensures that a malicious actor cannot access all your passwords in one swoop.

Updating software

Software updates play a critical role in safeguarding your system against existing vulnerabilities. Developers frequently release updates to address known weaknesses, making it advisable to promptly install them before potential attackers exploit these flaws. You have the option to configure your computers and devices to automatically apply software updates, simplifying the process of keeping your programs current.

It’s worth noting that updates offered through pop-up ads or emails might actually harbor malware. Enabling automatic updates ensures you won’t need to interact with potentially malicious update requests, minimizing security risks.

Recognizing and reporting phishing

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack that manipulates the appearance of web pages, text messages, social media direct messages, and emails to deceive users into believing they are engaged in a legitimate and secure online interaction with a trusted entity.

Typically, phishing emails include links to these deceptive websites, which convincingly mimic real ones. However, phishing sites are crafted with the intent to either install malicious software or collect sensitive personal information.

This data may encompass credit card details, personal identification numbers (PINs), social security numbers, banking information, and passwords. The perpetrator then utilizes this stolen information for identity theft, financial fraud, or other illicit activities.

If you come across something that looks suspicious, report it. Forward phishing emails to reportphishing@apwg.org. Follow these ten tips to learn how to avoid phishing.

Ushering in a new era of digital trust

The 20th anniversary of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) marks two decades of tremendous technological progress. As we celebrate these advancements and delve into this year’s NCSAM theme, we encourage you to be mindful of the responsibility to stay vigilant, adapt to emerging threats, and prioritize cybersecurity to better foster digital trust.”

Canadian Theme - Step Up Your Cyber Fitness

In excerpts from an article by the Government of Canada, they wrote, “Cyber Security Awareness Month (Cyber Month) is an internationally recognized campaign held each October to help the public learn more about the importance of cyber security. The campaign helps Canadians stay secure online by teaching them simple steps to protect themselves and their devices.

The theme for Cyber Security Awareness Month 2023 is Step Up Your Cyber Fitness. It’s all about stretching your cyber security muscles and taking things one step at a time! Cyber security is a shared responsibility, so join us and other organizations across Canada in promoting cyber security by participating in Cyber Month.

The best way to raise awareness about cyber security is to have more organizations involved – including yours! Each year, Get Cyber Safe picks a specific cyber security topic or theme to promote for Cyber Month.

What is “Get Cyber Safe?”

Get Cyber Safe is a Government of Canada public awareness campaign led by the Communications Security Establishment, with advice from its Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, to inform Canadians about the simple steps they can take to help themselves to stay safe online. Get Cyber Safe is the Canadian lead for Cyber Security Awareness Month.

What is Cyber Security Awareness Month?

Cyber Month is an internationally recognized campaign held every October to inform the public of the importance of cyber security. The theme for #CyberMonth2023 is Step up your cyber fitness. Just like starting a new fitness routine, finding the motivation to become your best, most cyber-safe self can be tough. But with the right coach (or your friends at Get Cyber Safe), you can accomplish even the most daunting tasks. It’s all about stretching your cyber security muscles and taking things one step at a time!”

European Theme - #BeSmarterThanAHacker

According to an article by CyberFraudCenter.com, they wrote, “ The 2023 European Cybersecurity Month takes place throughout October. The month is dedicated to raising awareness about the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats. The initiative serves as a platform for promoting cyber security through education and discussion across Europe. In a digital age where our lives are increasingly intertwined with technology, safeguarding against cyber threats is more crucial than ever. This year’s strategy, #BeSmarterthanahacker, will examine the world of Social Engineering, a growing phenomenon amongst cybercriminals and one of the biggest threats to cyber security today.

Social Engineering refers to clever manipulation tactics cybercriminals use to breach security defenses, usually through psychological tactics appointed to exploit human weaknesses and gain unauthorized access to systems or personal data. The campaign will encourage users to stay aware and alert to things such as phishing emails, impersonation scams, phone scams, fake websites, and reciprocation techniques, all of which help increase vigilance towards cyber hacks and protect users from potential scams.

In this blog, we’ll explain what social engineering is, provide examples of common tactics, and share tips on how to boost your defenses against this threat.

Some examples of social engineering include:

  • Phishing emails try to trick users into entering usernames/passwords or downloading malware.
  • Phone calls impersonating IT staff and requesting access to computers or accounts.
  • Fake websites offer free downloads or prizes in exchange for personal data.
  • Strangers shoulder surfing to spy on passwords or other sensitive information.
  • Social engineers often spend time researching targets beforehand, gathering useful bits of information about you from social media sites. This background research helps them win trust or appear legitimate.

Common Social Engineering Tactics

There are a few approaches social engineers frequently use to dupe their targets:

  • Impersonation: Pretending to be a trusted entity like an IT helpdesk, executive, police officer, or vendor.
  • Sense of urgency: Creating a false crisis that prompts hasty action.
  • Reciprocation: Encouraging targets to return a favor or help a person in need.
  • Diffusion of responsibility: Making targets hand over duties to others against protocol
  • Social proof: Citing authority or endorsement by others to establish legitimacy.

How to Guard Against Social Engineering

The most effective defense against social engineering is training employees to recognize and report suspicious activity. Here are some key strategies:

  • Verify requests for information by contacting the person directly – don’t use the contact info provided.
  • Avoid clicking links or opening attachments in unsolicited emails.
  • Don’t disclose personal or company data over the phone unless you initiate contact.
  • Reset passwords immediately if you suspect credentials have been phished.
  • Report any odd communications purportedly from co-workers or leadership.
  • Keep sensitive documents locked up and shred unneeded papers.
  • Destroy old hard drives and electronics to prevent dumpster diving.

With the right mix of security awareness training and technical controls like email authentication, organizations can shut the door on social engineering threats. Employees are the last line of defense, so equip them to fend off attacks.

Stay vigilant against the creative schemes of social engineers. Learn to identify manipulation tactics and verify requests before handing over valuable data or access. Following cyber-safe practices will keep your organization safe.”


Cyber Security Awareness Month, observed every October, is a vital global initiative that emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity and promotes safe online practices. With themes and activities tailored to specific regions, it serves as a platform for educating individuals and organizations about the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. Here’s what this initiative signifies:

  • Education: It offers a wealth of resources, including workshops, webinars, and educational materials, to inform people about the latest cyber threats and empower them with knowledge to protect themselves.
  • Promoting Good Cyber Hygiene: Emphasizing strong passwords, two-factor authentication, software updates, and caution against phishing scams to foster good cybersecurity practices.
  • Public-Private Partnerships: Encouraging collaboration between governments, businesses, and nonprofits to create a unified front against cyber threats.
  • Global Reach: Recognized worldwide, it addresses cybersecurity challenges on an international scale, emphasizing that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility.
  • Advocacy and Policy Initiatives: Provides an opportunity for policymakers to introduce cybersecurity-related legislation and regulations, enhancing protection for individuals and critical infrastructure.

In 2023, themes for the US Cyber Security Awareness Month include “Secure Our World,” focusing on digital trust and four critical steps: enabling multi-factor authentication, using strong passwords, keeping software up-to-date, and recognizing/reporting phishing.

In Canada, the theme is “Step Up Your Cyber Fitness,” emphasizing the gradual approach to improving cybersecurity.

In Europe, the theme “#BeSmarterThanAHacker” centers on combating social engineering through education and awareness.

As we navigate an increasingly digital world, Cyber Security Awareness Month remains a critical campaign for safeguarding individuals, organizations, and critical infrastructure against the ever-evolving threat landscape. By promoting education, awareness, and best practices, we can collectively build a safer digital environment. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and take steps to protect your digital presence.

At Adaptive Office Solutions, cybersecurity is our specialty. We keep cybercrimes at bay by using analysis, forensics, and reverse engineering to prevent malware attempts and patch vulnerability issues. By making an investment in multilayered cybersecurity, you can leverage our expertise to boost your defenses, mitigate risks, and protect your data with next-gen IT security solutions.

Every device connecting to the internet poses a cyber security threat, including that innocent-looking smartwatch you’re wearing. Adaptive’s wide range of experience and certifications fills the gaps in your business’s IT infrastructure and dramatically increases the effectiveness of your cybersecurity posture.

Using our proactive cybersecurity management, cutting-edge network security tools, and comprehensive business IT solutions, you can lower your costs through systems that are running at their prime, creating greater efficiency and preventing data loss and costly downtime. With Adaptive Office Solutions by your side, we’ll help you navigate the complexities of cybersecurity so you can achieve business success without worrying about online threats.

To schedule a Cyber Security Risk Review, call the Adaptive Office Solutions’ hotline at 506-624-9480 or email us at helpdesk@adaptiveoffice.ca