For the fourth year, the European Union (EU) declared October to be European Cyber Security Month (ECSM). ECSM is an EU advocacy campaign with events and activities in all member states designed to promote cybersecurity among citizens and generate specific awareness about information security.

ECSM Advocates Awareness, Training and Readiness

Fostering general cybersecurity awareness is among the priorities identified in the EU Cyber Security Strategy. Recently, we have seen cybercriminals combine sophisticated malware with social engineering to carry out successful targeted attacks. The Dyre Wolf campaign is a notable example of the type of multimillion-dollar fraud a single, well-planned attack can achieve.

Social engineering and spear phishing schemes continuously reinvent themselves since they are among the cheapest attack vectors. The other side of the coin is that there are affordable prevention mechanisms as well: awareness, training and readiness.

The vast majority of security researchers agree that a lack of cybersecurity awareness puts organizations at risk. The most effective and reliable security solution is useless without proper end user awareness. Fraud is often just one click away.

A Global Megatrend

The “2016 Cost of Data Breach Study” named employee training and awareness programs as a global megatrend that can limit the cost of a breach or even prevent it from happening in the first place. Technologies and cybercrime methods will continue to evolve, but awareness and training will always be among the most successful countermeasures.

In this context, the EU campaign aims to raise awareness of cybersecurity threats among citizens, creating a common minimal defense line capable of preventing or limiting the impact of the most common types of attacks.

The ECSM continues to grow since its inception in 2012. This year’s agenda features more than 250 events and activities across all EU member countries. ECSM’s schedule also includes a rich series of conferences, training sessions, videos, webinars, demonstrations and more — giving eager participants many opportunities to get involved and learn more about security.

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