National Cyber Security Awareness Month launches with survey

National Cyber Security Awareness Month launches with survey

The push for IT security in both home and business contexts has intensified in recent years. While the threat of a breach has always been significant, the continued expansion of digital systems into every corner of life has granted hackers new avenues to do damage. The nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is determined to help individuals change their approach to staying safe in the digital space, largely through an increase in education.

Danger by the numbers
The NCSA, which has declared October National Cyber Security Awareness Month, recently launched the ninth edition of the event by releasing the results of a survey conducted in concert with McAfee. The findings found Americans both aware of the increasing role the internet plays in their lives and worried about attacks and disruptions online. Just over one-fourth of respondents reported that an organization warned them their data may have been compromised over the past year.

The workplace is now a fully online area. According to the survey, 78 percent of respondents said their business would be disrupted by 48 hours without use of the internet. This widespread reliance on secure internet could be worrisome to business operators, especially at small companies without dedicated IT sections. These businesses could benefit from managed security services, which require little on-site commitment.

Specifically threatened sectors
The threat to small operators could be severe. According to a Heart Internet survey conducted among U.K. small to medium-sized business owners, such companies' websites could be ripe for exploitation by hackers. The source noted that some of these sites have no protection at all, with 14 percent sporting no defenses. Heart Internet also found many companies have no specific defense against phishing, one of the primary ways for malicious users to gain access a site. These companies face the same threats as their larger competitors.