GOVERNOR HOCHUL ISSUES PROCLAMATION DESIGNATING OCTOBER AS CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS MONTH AND HIGHLIGHTS RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND NEW YORKERS
"See Yourself in Cyber" Theme Stresses the Growing Importance of Cybersecurity in an Increasingly Connected World
Read the Proclamation Here
Governor Kathy Hochul today issued a proclamation designating October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As New Yorkers face growing cybersecurity threats, Cybersecurity Awareness Month is part of joint state and national efforts to engage and educate the public about cybersecurity and provide tools and resources to help them stay safe online.
"Whether you're a novice internet user or a tech savvy expert, cyberattacks pose a threat to all of us whenever we're online," Governor Hochul said. "This October, we are raising awareness for New Yorkers at all levels of the public and private sectors as we continue to lead the nation in aggressively combating evolving cybersecurity threats."
The theme for the 19th annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month - "See Yourself in Cyber" - highlights the growing importance of cybersecurity and encourages individuals and organizations to take the necessary measures to protect themselves in an increasingly connected world.
New York State Chief Cyber Officer Colin Ahern said, "Governor Hochul created the position of Chief Cyber Officer because she understands the importance of protecting the state's cybersecurity infrastructure from emerging threats and strengthening our cyber defenses. I am proud to serve in that role and am committed to establishing and building relationships across all levels of government and the private sector to ensure New York's critical infrastructure is secure and resilient."
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, "Your digital safety is important to us. This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, each of us should take simple steps to keep ourselves and our organizations safe. Enable multi-factor authentication and use strong passphrases. And be vigilant to protect against phishing. Governor Hochul and all of us at the State are making critical investments this year in cybersecurity, but it will take all of us to achieve the protection we need."
Cybersecurity is a major challenge for all organizations but can be especially challenging for businesses that may be too small to have a dedicated Chief Information Security Officer and cybersecurity staff.
In partnership with the non-profit Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), the State Department of Financial Services provides a free cybersecurity toolkit to small businesses so they can protect themselves and their customers from growing cyber threats. The areas covered in the cybersecurity toolkit include identifying hardware and software, updating defenses against cyber threats, strengthening passphrases and multi-factor authentication, backing up and recovering data, and protecting email systems. The free cybersecurity toolkit for small businesses and the DFS-developed sample cybersecurity policies can be found on the DFS website.
New York State Superintendent of Financial Services Adrienne A. Harris said, "Individuals and businesses can take small steps to improve cyber hygiene that have a big impact on overall security. The first-in-the-nation cybersecurity regulation issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services protects consumers and businesses by requiring financial services companies to implement critical cybersecurity controls such as multifactor authentication."
This year's theme aims to motivate individuals and organizations to understand the role they play in protecting their part of cyberspace. If everyone does their part - implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating vulnerable audiences, and training employees - the interconnected world will be safer and more resilient for everyone.
New York State Chief Information Officer Angelo 'Tony' Riddick said, "Cybersecurity continues to be our highest priority. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Hochul and our partners at all levels of government, New York is more prepared than ever to address cyber threats. We must all work together and take proactive steps to keep New Yorkers safe."
New York State Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeSain said, "It is essential that every individual remain invested in the protection of their own digital footprint. With our growing dependency on technology, comes a newfound risk to confidentiality, integrity and availability. Therefore, we must all understand our role in managing that risk. Each year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month provides an opportunity to focus attention on good 'cyber hygiene' practices that will help users safeguard their identity, devices and information."
New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "Law enforcement is constantly challenged by innovations in online technologies exploited by criminals to steal from the public or gain access to sensitive information. As threats to our cybersecurity become more prevalent, collaboratively, we need to be proactive in protecting ourselves from cyber-attacks. The State Police is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect New Yorkers and become more effective in combating and responding to threats head-on."
Each week in Cybersecurity Awareness Month focuses on a different topic:
- Understanding and implementing basic cyber hygiene practices, including the creation of strong passphrases, using multi-factor authentication, performing software updates and backing up data.
- Recognizing and reporting phishing attempts, whether they come through email, text messages, or chat boxes.
- Empowering individuals to not only practice safe online behavior, but also consider joining in the mission to secure our online world by pursuing a career in cybersecurity.
- Making cybersecurity a business priority by ensuring products and processes are "secure by design" and encouraging the consideration of cybersecurity when purchasing new internet-connected devices.
ITS also is coordinating a statewide cybersecurity poster contest for children in kindergarten through 12th grade, a timely opportunity for teachers to focus on keeping children safe online in a fun and informative way. Submissions are due Dec. 16, 2022. New York State winners will be featured on the ITS website and entered into the national contest sponsored by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. In addition, the agency provides a number of free resources to the public, including the Cybersecurity Awareness Toolkit, which includes cybersecurity-themed posters, calendars, brochures and other content that can be downloaded and shared to help promote and reinforce cyber safety themes in practical, informative, entertaining, and usable ways.