Depending on what news outlets you follow, you may have heard that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (#NCSAM). The month is dedicated to getting everyone to do their part in securing their online lives, as well as encouraging others to do the same.
What you may not have been aware of is that October has been NCSAM since 2004. If you can remember the ways in which technology and the web has changed over the last eight years, then you also understand that the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has their growing pile of work cut out for them.
Those three categories — smartphones, Facebook, Google — alone hold tons, if not most, of our of personal data today and make sharing our data easier than ever. It also makes being safe online that much harder. You may recall the Harris poll we commissioned earlier this summer, which showed that 3 in 5 American adults online think they’re at risk of being hacked.
We are, however, making progress and awareness is growing. Maybe it’s because many major consumer websites were breached this past year and that news was picked up by mainstream media. Maybe it’s because of Internet power users like Amber Yust, who discovered Pandora was storing passwords in plain-text on the client-side. (Her post on Google+ started a wave of media coverage that eventually got Pandora to tighten up their security.) Or, it could be because of many sites like plaintextoffenders.com or pleaserobme.com, call out bad security behaviors of companies and consumers alike, in hopes of changing risky behaviors online.
Awareness is, fortunately, growing. The question is, will Internet users be able to keep up with the rate that technology is changing? There are some positive signs: A poll conducted by Pew Research between March and April of this year showed that 57% of smartphone users either uninstalled or didn’t download an app due to concerns of privacy and security.
Tell us what you think. Are cyber security awareness efforts working? Will Internet users keep up with the new security issues that changing technology brings?