With only 12 months in a year and hundreds or thousands of important topics to educate people on, how are people ever going to cut through it all and hear about how important cybersecurity is? With cyber breach stories running in virtually every news media outlet weekly, is cybersecurity just becoming background noise in our busy lives?
It’s time to make this personal. Over coffee and at the dinner table, my wife and I often talk about cybersecurity. While she is uninvolved in the cyber world, I often share with her the many ways cyber criminals are attacking everyone -- from big businesses to grandmothers. Earlier this month, I mentioned to her “October is cybersecurity awareness month”, and that I was planning to help raise awareness as a Cybersecurity analyst. And then she posed the big question: “What are you doing to help all of my friends, our children, and the rest of our community stay safe from cyberattacks?” While cyber is my profession, (and I’m not one to lack ideas or thoughts about just about anything), I honestly came up short when she posed the question.
After talking about it more, I decided to create a local, repeatable training and awareness class for our local community – young and old. The next morning, I reached out to our local chief-of-police and proposed we team up to host multiple sessions, both in our schools and at our town hall. Without hesitation, he said YES!
We discussed that my role in these sessions would be to educate people on what can and is happening around us, how people can protect themselves, what to do (and what not to do) when using the internet, public WiFi, and general tips on staying cyber-safe. His role as a law enforcement officer would be to explain what people should do if and when they experience an attack. Since then, we’ve been working together to build presentations, schedule sessions in our local schools and community spaces, and generally getting excited about the program!
I’m feeling good about taking this small step within my own small community, and you can too. If you are connected to me in any way, you likely play some role in the world of cybersecurity. While cyber is our day-job, it’s time to act and make this personal. Working in the cybersecurity industry, we have valuable knowledge that can help protect our friends, family and community. We can make a difference.
I’ll be sharing our materials so others can share and contribute to the effort. If you have ideas, I’d love to hear them. If you know about similar efforts that are working, please share them here.
I challenge you to DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS CRISIS, MAKE IT PERSONAL, AND HELP YOUR COMMUNITY. This kind of community service goes well beyond the few people that you will reach in-person. People will share it with their friends, family, and business acquaintances. And who knows, you might end up with some business influencers in your audience that reach out to you after, looking for help securing their billion dollar businesses.
As the now-famous saying goes, “if you see something, say something.” You’ve all seen something, so now it’s time to say something about it within the communities you live it.
- Step up and be a cyber leader within your community.
- Reach out to your local law enforcement leaders and volunteer to help.
- Get involved – if you spend your days in cybersecurity, you have the power to protect others within your community.
If we all pitch in, we can slow down the cyber-attackers while protecting those that we know and love. By doing so, you will likely meet new people in your community, and establish a relationship with your local law-enforcement leaders. (It could help some day when you really need them).