Internet-enabled crimes and cyber intrusions are becoming increasingly sophisticated and preventing them requires each and every user of a connected device to be aware and on guard.
“It’s no longer enough to be on the lookout for something in your inbox that appears suspicious,” said FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Matt Gorham. “As criminals have grown savvier and their efforts more targeted, individuals and organizations need to scrutinize messages and requests that appear legitimate.”
Some of the most common and damaging Internet-enabled crimes begin with an employee clicking a link in an email that appears to be from a colleague, following the instructions in a message that looks like it came from a supervisor, or opening an account link or invoice that seems to be from a trusted vendor.
“These routine actions can be what exposes a computer or an entire network to a ransomware attack, data breach, or another crime,” said Gorham. “As we mark National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, our hope is to focus attention on the efforts required to safeguard individual computers and accounts and secure and protect critical data and infrastructure.”
Now in its 16th year, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is hosted every October by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. Multiple agencies and organizations, including the FBI, collaborate to raise awareness about cybersecurity and stress the collective effort needed to stop cyber intrusions and online thefts and scams.
“Today’s cyber threat is bigger than any one government agency—frankly, bigger than government itself,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a cybersecurity conference in March. “But I think no agency brings the same combination of scope and scale, experience, tools, and relationships that the FBI has.”
The FBI works in close coordination with the private sector as well as with state, local, and international partners to understand and anticipate cyber threats and pursue cyber criminals.
During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the FBI joins in asking every user of a connected device to Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.
“We look to the public and to organizations to engage by understanding these threats, taking preventive action, and reporting cyber crimes when they occur,” said Gorham.