October declared Cybersecurity Awareness Month | News, Sports, Jobs

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed October 2021 as Michigan Cybersecurity Month to highlight the importance of cybersecurity awareness among families and businesses around the state. In the past year alone, according to the FBI, Michigan residents and businesses have lost more than $165 million to cybercriminal activities, with an average victim loss of more than $19,479.

“There has never been a more critical time to be mindful of your online activities and what you should do to ensure they are safe,” Whitmer said. “Cybercrime is on the rise, but everyone can protect themselves by following some simple steps and educating yourself on the telltale signs criminals use to deceive.”

Whitmer’s proclamation marks the 11th straight year that October has been recognized as Michigan Cybersecurity Awareness Month. To help raise cybercrime awareness, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget and the Michigan State Police will promote ways that Michiganders can be safe and secure online throughout the entire month of October.

During October, Michigan also will participate in the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign, a national public awareness initiative from the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online.

“Cybercriminals can be relentless, but so, too, are our investigators,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police. “Today’s virtual environment provides new opportunities, both good and bad, making cyber vigilance and awareness all the more important.”

The Michigan Cyber Command Center was established in 2013 to enhance and protect Michigan’s cybersecurity ecosystem, with specific emphasis on prevention, response and recovery from cyber incidents. The center is responsible for coordinating efforts for emergency response during critical cyber incidents in Michigan. The Cyber Command Center can be reached at 877-MI-Cyber.

New this year, Michigan residents can also download Michigan Secure, a mobile app offered free to Michigan residents from DTMB. The app alerts users if their mobile device, tablet or Chromebook encounters threats, such as a potentially unsecure Wi-Fi network. With each alert, Michigan Secure will offer recommendations on how to address the threat it detected. Michigan Secure is available for mobile devices running iOS 11 or higher, Android 6.0 or higher, and Chromebooks with Android Apps Support. Michigan Secure can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. For more information, go to Michigan.gov/MichiganSecureApp.

“Nearly everyone in today’s society is interacting online for both personal and business use,” DTMB Director Brom Stibitz said. “These transactions don’t have to be scary as long as everyone takes a few minutes to learn how to stay safe. There are great resources available for Michiganders at Michigan.gov/cybersecurity and tools such as the Michigan Secure app that make it easier to stay ahead of cybercriminals.”

Residents can learning more about how to protect themselves and their families online at the Michigan Cyber Initiative website, Michigan.gov/cybersecurity. The website provides information ranging from how to practice proper cyber “hygiene” to learning about what to do if you are a victim of a cybercrime.

On Oct. 21, the state will host the 10th annual Michigan Cyber Summit. This virtual event will bring cybersecurity experts from around the globe to highlight emerging trends in cybersecurity and share best practices in policy, law, and all manner of public and private interests. The event will also showcase the sixth annual Governor’s High School Cyber Challenge, featuring high school students from throughout Michigan who have sharpened their computer science, information technology and cybersecurity skills. Additional event information is available online at Michigan.gov/CyberSummit.

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