In October 2022, the world marked the 19th Cybersecurity Awareness Month. October might be over, but employers can still talk about awareness of digital threats. We all have another chance before then: National Computer Security Day.
The history of National Computer Security Day
The origins of National Computer Security Day trace back to 1988 and the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control. As noted by National Today, those in the Special Interest Group selected Nov. 30 for the event so that they could keep consumers’ attention on computer security during the holidays.
Why is National Computer Security Day important?
The purpose of the day is to empower users to take securing their digital presence into their own hands. National Today describes this personal ownership as threefold. First, there’s the notion that users aren’t bystanders in their own computer security. They access their bank accounts, search the web and use social media. They all have their own unique habits for doing these things, some of which might undermine their digital security. So, they can’t expect programmers and web services to totally make up for those habits. Third parties can’t protect users to the same extent that those people can safeguard themselves.
There’s also the fact that users don’t operate in a vacuum. It’s called the world wide web, after all. Everything on the Internet is connected by device type, contacts, networks, industry verticals and other commonalities. (The growing prevalence of software supply chain attacks underscores this point.) An infection in one device or program can compromise other users and/or organizations. In taking their personal security into their own hands, therefore, users can help to protect others.
A reminder to protect your devices
Individual users can implement several security measures towards that end, using National Computer Security Day as a reminder. For instance, they can install antivirus software on their machines and keep it running. While antivirus can’t protect against every attack attempt, it can provide some protection against common threats like ransomware. Users should also take care to protect their web services with strong passwords and to not share them with anyone. Finally, users can keep their software up to date, remove any unused programs from their computers and back up their data on an ongoing basis.
Finally, remember that security systems engineers work every day to protect users and organizations. This job can be challenging given the constant evolution of digital technology and the digital threat landscape. With that said, users can use National Computer Security Day as a chance to acknowledge and thank security systems engineers for the work they do.
How organizations can acknowledge National Computer Security Day
Organizations can celebrate National Computer Security Day in various ways. Per CyberTalk, they can arrange a luncheon to share motivational messages and to promote meaningful discussions around computer security with their employees. They can also arrange trivia contests, gamify their cyber security awareness training and conduct regular seminars to educate employees about phishing attacks, as well as to answer their questions about digital threats.
Computer security – an ongoing conversation
The fact that we’re celebrating National Computer Security Day just a month after Cybersecurity Awareness Month reflects an important principle of computer security: it’s an ongoing conversation. Digital threats and technology are constantly changing. So, it’s not helpful for everyday users to review cybersecurity principles only once a year. It also goes beyond computers to today’s myriad of connected devices. More frequent check-ins through events like this can help keep security awareness top of mind. That, in turn, empowers users to defend themselves on an ongoing basis.