This release was originally distributed by the Governor's Press Office. The original release can be viewed on the Governor's website.
Governor Kathy Hochul issued a proclamation designating October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the event as part of an effort to engage and educate the public about cybersecurity and provide tools and other resources to help all New Yorkers operate safely online. This proclamation follows Governor Hochul’s announcement of the first-ever comprehensive statewide cybersecurity strategy, which outlines an approach to protect digital assets through engaging public and private stakeholders and upholding the privacy and safety of our residents.
“For twenty years, New York State’s proclamation of Cybersecurity Awareness Month has helped raise awareness of digital security and educate New Yorkers about the steps they need to take to protect themselves online,” Governor Hochul said. “Through this designation, we are shining a bright light on the need for our citizens and businesses to be vigilant in the face of cyber threats that have become more numerous and more sophisticated. By establishing our state’s first-ever, comprehensive statewide cybersecurity strategy, my administration remains committed to creating a formidable statewide defense against cyber threats and protecting the critical services that our residents, businesses and local governments rely on every day.”
Cybersecurity Awareness Month this year will focus on four key behaviors:
- Enabling multi-factor authentication;
- Using strong passphrases;
- Updating software; and,
- Recognizing and reporting phishing.
New York State Chief Cyber Officer Colin Ahern said, “Marking the 20th anniversary of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, New York State is more committed than ever to safeguarding our digital landscape. The Governor's nation-leading cybersecurity strategy highlights how in our interconnected world everyone plays a critical role in defending against cyber threats. Together we'll continue building a resilient digital New York for generations to come."
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “In the modern world, it’s critical we remain vigilant against cyber criminals who threaten our personal information and safety. This Cyber Security Awareness Month, New Yorkers should take time to safeguard themselves against cyber-attacks. Take simple steps to keep yourself and your information safe. Remember -- think before you click, use strong passphrases, keep your antivirus software current, and enable multi-factor authentication.”
Cybersecurity is essential for all organizations, but it can be challenging for smaller businesses that may not have dedicated staff or resources. 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 cybersecurity toolkit includes information on identifying hardware and software, updating defenses against cyber threats, strengthening passphrases, enabling 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, “Cybersecurity is vital to protect our nation’s most critical infrastructure. The Department of Financial Services sets and maintains the national benchmark of cybersecurity standards and safeguards in financial services to protect businesses and consumers from increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals.”
New York State Office of Information Technology Services Chief Information Officer Dru Rai said, “The employees of the New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) work every day to protect New York State’s digital infrastructure, secure our data and educate New Yorkers about the dangers that lurk in email inboxes and malicious websites. As we recognize Cybersecurity Month once again in New York State, we encourage all New Yorkers to take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their families and their personal assets. I commend Governor Hochul for highlighting this important initiative and for making cybersecurity a priority.”
New York State Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeSain said, “When it comes to protecting yourself or those around you from cyber attacks, we know that information is power. That’s why it is critical to raise awareness not only of the seriousness of the threat, but also the simple steps that anyone can take to make their digital space more secure. Whether you are a state employee, operate a business or are one of millions of hardworking New Yorkers across our state, we need you to be a cyber warrior and join us in this fight.”
The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) is also 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. 15, 2023. 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 (MS-ISAC). Additionally, the agency provides 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, and entertaining ways.
For more information, visit Governor Hochul's website on enhancing cybersecurity across New York State, the ITS Chief Information Security Office website, and follow the agency on X, formerly known as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (#NYSCyber).