Since 2003, October has been designated "National Cyber Security Awareness Month," and every year the need for that awareness has grown. As the number of technologies and capabilities expands, so does our collective vulnerability.
President Barack Obama has aptly observed, "It's the great irony of the Information Age - the very technologies that empower us to create and to build also empower those who would disrupt and destroy."
Few of us have not been affected in some way by increasing risks in cyberspace such as viruses, malware, and identity theft. And, as mobile devices become more popular and versatile, they become an ever-more attractive target for cyber criminals, whose capabilities are growing in number and sophistication.
The Internet, however, has become a way of life for us. We cannot become so risk-averse that we avoid all the wonderful opportunities it provides. Instead, we are obligated to take appropriate measures to safeguard our assets and transactions. A first line of defense is to download and install well-known and well-reviewed antivirus software.
Cyber security also means we have a responsibility to be good neighbors and safe users on the Internet. It means encouraging our children and grandchildren who have grown up in the Internet Age to become just as familiar with the principles of cyber security as they are with the latest games and apps. Some good places to start are right on this page (IAD's Latest Security Guide Helps Customers Protect Home Networks and the Kids Page). These are excellent resources on how to be a good online citizen, and they can help you initiate this important conversation with your family.
Finally, just as cyber security is our shared responsibility, awareness of its importance is a year-round effort. While National Cyber Security Awareness Month provides the occasion to bring this topic to the forefront, it must always be a recurring theme in the background of our cyber activities.