October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in the U.S., and IBM isn’t just a corporate champion of the annual event, but also a strong believer in the community forum of threat intelligence sharing as a means of security awareness. The Internet is a big place, and it is our shared responsibility to keep it safe for all users.

Today’s Cybersecurity Challenges

Today, 80 percent of cybercrime is committed by organized crime rings — people who work together in offices, with bosses, Monday through Friday. They buy and sell attack platforms, use analytics to target their attacks and collaborate with one another on best practices. All told, cybercriminals profited nearly $500 billion in the last year.

And with growing digital trends like mobile, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT), there are simply more potential weaknesses for cybercriminals to exploit. Organizations need to stay vigilant with new threats constantly being released, and sharing collective knowledge with others is a great place to start.

Planning for the Future

As the avenues and methods that cybercriminals use grow, the number of professionals needed to counter the attacks is shrinking. One study by Frost and Sullivan, “The 2015 Global Information Security Workforce Study,” predicted a shortfall of 1.5 million trained cybersecurity professionals in the workforce by 2020.

But there are ways this skills gap can be closed. Two important initiatives will require:

  1. Organizations to attract a more diverse workforce; and
  2. Universities and educators to equip their students with modern training and tools.

With these actions, organizations can expand the potential pool of qualified hires and make sure these individuals are being trained in areas that need attention. Collaboration and ongoing security education must evolve and keep up with the ever-accelerating pace of cybercriminals.

How Everyone Can Participate in National Cyber Security Awareness Month

The National Cyber Security Alliance sponsors two websites, each with its own security awareness goals. The first, StaySafeOnline, provides educational content and communities for securing digital assets and cultivating a safer connected society. Then there’s Stop.Think.Connect., which has a partnership with the Anti-Phishing Working Group and helps users understand Internet risks and the importance of practicing safe online habits.

Businesses can share these tips and resources with their employees, who in turn can ensure they have higher levels of security awareness. That should lead to making better choices with regard to their online habits and even individual safety. In the end, we all need to understand that cybersecurity is our shared responsibility.

More from Risk Management

The Evolution of Antivirus Software to Face Modern Threats

Over the years, endpoint security has evolved from primitive antivirus software to more sophisticated next-generation platforms employing advanced technology and better endpoint detection and response.  Because of the increased threat that modern cyberattacks pose, experts are exploring more elegant ways of keeping data safe from threats.Signature-Based Antivirus SoftwareSignature-based detection is the use of footprints to identify malware. All programs, applications, software and files have a digital footprint. Buried within their code, these digital footprints or signatures are unique to the respective…

Contain Breaches and Gain Visibility With Microsegmentation

Organizations must grapple with challenges from various market forces. Digital transformation, cloud adoption, hybrid work environments and geopolitical and economic challenges all have a part to play. These forces have especially manifested in more significant security threats to expanding IT attack surfaces. Breach containment is essential, and zero trust security principles can be applied to curtail attacks across IT environments, minimizing business disruption proactively. Microsegmentation has emerged as a viable solution through its continuous visualization of workload and device communications…

How the Silk Road Affair Changed Law Enforcement

The Silk Road was the first modern dark web marketplace, an online place for anonymously buying and selling illegal products and services using Bitcoin. Ross Ulbricht created The Silk Road in 2011 and operated it until 2013 when the FBI shut it down. Its creator was eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison. But in a plot twist right out of a spy novel, a cyber attacker stole thousands of bitcoins from Silk Road and hid them away. It…

Third-Party App Stores Could Be a Red Flag for iOS Security

Even Apple can’t escape change forever. The famously restrictive company will allow third-party app stores for iOS devices, along with allowing users to “sideload” software directly. Spurring the move is the European Union’s (EU) Digital Markets Act (DMA), which looks to ensure open markets by reducing the ability of digital “gatekeepers” to restrict content on devices. While this is good news for app creators and end-users, there is a potential red flag: security. Here’s what the compliance-driven change means for…