National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

It's National Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

LARAMIE– As October ushers in the 20th National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, CyberWyoming Alliance and CyberWyoming reaffirm their commitment to help safeguard the digital world and promote a more secure online environment with help from Laramie High School’s Gaming Safely video.

“The Gaming Safely video was really well done and several of the judges in last year’s Cyber in a Box School Video Challenge asked if we would make it into a public service announcement, so we did,” said Laura Baker, President of the CyberWyoming Alliance.  The short, but chilling video can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM6meNoCTtk.

Each year, the Challenge gives teams of students $100 plus t-shirts to create a cyber safety video.  This year’s inspiration topic is securing medical internet of things devices, from smart watches to insulin pumps to MRIs.  Teachers, club sponsors, or parents can register a team at https://cyberwyoming.org/cyber-in-a-box/ through Nov 11.

“It is our hope, with the current school year’s Video Challenge, that teachers will book IT tours of their local hospital or medical centers to show students that there are good jobs right in their community,” said Baker.

Not only is the CyberWyoming Alliance highlighting local students and their videos in this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, but their sister organization, CyberWyoming, is sending real cookies from Laramie’s Golden Prairie Bakery to any small business that pre-registers by Oct 31 for Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses.

“You can accept, and eat, these cookies!” said Baker.  Baker went on to explain that Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses is a fun way to learn to manage risks.  It is one-on-one, on-the-job, human risk training specifically catered towards micro businesses that don’t have IT help.   The competition season officially starts Feb 1 and goes through mid-August.  Winners speak at a conference in September or October.

“A company leader only has to dedicate 4-6 hours per month to be in the competition, but the benefits are greater confidence levels in managing their IT environment and a lot less worry.  Plus, if the leader doesn’t really want to compete, then we just don’t send in the judging report at the end,” said Baker.

With an online learning portal, an apprenticeship structure, and a structured learning plan, CyberWyoming has been tasked through an SBA grant won by the Wyoming SBDC (Small Business Development Center) to train other economic development agency business advisors in the program behind the competition.

“This year’s competition is going to be the best yet because small businesses will benefit from a business advisor, a cybersecurity business counselor, and the funds earmarked in the grant to pay for needed small security products,” said Baker.  To sign up for the Cybersecurity Competition, visit https://cyberwyoming.org/competition/.

Founded in 2004, Cybersecurity Awareness Month, held each October, is the world’s foremost initiative aimed at promoting cybersecurity awareness and best practices.  As a Champion for Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion, CyberWyoming and CyberWyoming Alliance feature specific programs to empower individuals, businesses, and institutions to fortify their digital defenses.

This year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month carries particular significance, exploring CISA’s (Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency) new theme of “Secure Our World” and adopted in collaboration with the National Cybersecurity Alliance.  This year’s advice revolves around four key cybersecurity best practices:

  1. Understanding the benefits of using a password manager and dispelling existing myths around password manager security and ease of use.
  2. Turning on multifactor authentication on personal devices and business networks.
  3. Recognizing and reporting phishing – still one of the primary threat actions used by cybercriminals today.
  4. Installing updates on a regular basis and turning on automated updates.

 

The White House has made a proclamation that underscores the importance of Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the administration’s dedication to safeguarding cyberspace. In the proclamation, President Joe Biden emphasized that “Digital technologies today touch nearly every aspect of American life — from our classrooms and communities, to our economy and national security. That is why — this Cybersecurity Awareness Month — my Administration renews our commitment to securing cyberspace and seizing the unlimited potential of our digital future.”

He concluded the proclamation with a call to action, encouraging businesses, institutions, and individuals to take cybersecurity seriously and participate in Cybersecurity Awareness Month. “I call upon the people, businesses, and institutions of the United States to recognize and act on the importance of cybersecurity and to observe Cybersecurity Awareness Month in support of our national security and resilience.”

For more information about Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023 and how to participate in a wide variety of activities, visit cisa.gov/cybersecurity-awareness-month and staysafeonline.org/cybersecurity-awareness-month/. You can also follow and use the hashtag #CybersecurityAwarenessMonth,  #SecureOurWorld, and #cyberwyoming on social media throughout the month.

About CyberWyoming: Founded in 2017, CyberWyoming, a 501(c)6 nonprofit, promotes the cybersecurity welfare and prosperity of the Wyoming business community including hands-on, high-touch education of small business stakeholders and technical registered apprenticeship.

About the CyberWyoming Alliance: The CyberWyoming Alliance is a statewide, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Laramie whose mission is to increase cybersecurity awareness, education, and outreach in communities across the State of Wyoming.

Caption: Gaming Safely Public Service Announcement by Laramie High School through the CyberWyoming Alliance’s Cyber in a Box School Video Challenge program.  The Program runs each school year through a collaboration with the Wyoming State Library and through WyoGives fundraising and corporate donations provides teams with $100 and t-shirts.  The full video can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM6meNoCTtk.

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