Governor Cuomo Proclaims October 2020 as New York State Cyber Security Awareness Month

Contact Information: 
Alicia Biggs
“Do Your Part #BeCyberSmart” Coined 2020 Theme; NYS ITS Poster Contest Engages Students Across the State in Education Campaign to Raise Awareness on Cyber Threats
Friday, October 2, 2020

The Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) today announced the start of Cyber Security Awareness Month in New York State and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation to raise awareness about the importance of engaging in smart cyber security practices and safe online habits for all New Yorkers in the wake of growing internet threats. Observed each October, Cyber Security Awareness Month is a nationally recognized collaborative effort to engage and educate the public about cyber security and provide tools and resources to stay safe online. 

The 2020 theme - "Do Your Part " - motivates individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace with an emphasis on the message "if you connect it, protect it."  The idea is that if everyone does their part -- implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating vulnerable audiences, and training employees -- we can all be more cyber safe.

"The increasing prevalence of cyber threats coupled with a jump in adults telecommuting and children learning remotely has made it a priority to protect and educate our citizens about best online practices," said Interim New York State Chief Information Officer Jeremy Goldberg. "Our state agencies are working diligently to safeguard our assets, and Cyber Security Awareness Month provides an excellent opportunity to focus attention on helping New Yorkers preserve their personal information."

Governor Cuomo has bolstered the State's protection of critical assets by initiating important measures to ensure that New York remains at the forefront of combating cyber security threats. In response to the increasing rate of cyberattacks affecting citizens, Governor Cuomo enacted first-in-the-nation cybersecurity regulations and created the Cyber Security Advisory Board to ensure the State maintains a cutting-edge strategy to keep New Yorkers safe from cyber threats. The Board is comprised of world-renowned cyber security experts who advise the administration and make recommendations for protecting the state's critical infrastructure and information systems.

In July 2019, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (SHIELD) Act to protect New Yorkers against security breaches. The Act imposes stronger obligations on businesses handling private data to provide proper notification to affected consumers when there is a security breach. The Governor also signed legislation requiring consumer credit reporting agencies to offer identity theft prevention and mitigation services to consumers who have been affected by a security breach of the agency's system.

"In our increasingly interconnected world, it's become absolutely crucial all New Yorkers work together to create a safe online environment so we, and our information, can be protected," said New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy. "Each year, Cyber Security Awareness Month presents the perfect opportunity for families to not only take stock of their online activity, but review and reinforce good cyber hygiene practices. Only by working together and practicing safe behaviors, will we be able to prevent bad actors from victimizing New Yorkers while online."

"Everyone must step up and do their part to be cyber smart, especially as the COVID-19 crisis has shifted business operations and made us more vulnerable to cybercrime," said New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell. "During this new normal, our first line of defense is the awareness and vigilance of our citizens."

In celebration of Cyber Security Awareness Month, the New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) is coordinating a statewide cyber security poster contest for children in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade. ITS is accepting submissions from schools across the State through December 1, 2020, and the winners will be announced in early 2021. To find out more information on the poster contest here.

Cyber Security Awareness Month is part of an annual national campaign to engage and educate the public about cyber security and provide tools and resources to stay safe online. National Cyber Security Awareness Month is observed each October and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in cooperation with the MS-ISAC and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

For more information on Cyber Security Awareness Month, please visit https://its.ny.gov/eiso/NCSAM.

About ITS

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) was created in 2012 to transform IT services in an effort to make New York State government work smarter for its citizens and enable the state to be accessible for businesses through the use of technology. ITS provides statewide IT strategic direction, directs IT policy and delivers centralized IT products and services that support the mission of the State. ITS operates data centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support statewide mission-critical applications for over 50 Agencies, over 17 million citizen accounts, 120,000 employee accounts, 60,000 phones, 99,000 desktops and laptops, and 3,433 Virtual Desktop remote connections. ITS operates a secure network of over 1,600 miles of fiber to deliver telecommunications, Internet and Intranet services, enterprise email systems and support, IT training, networking, data storage and processing to State government entities in addition to developing new services in support of citizens, businesses and State Agencies.

For more information, visit https://its.ny.gov and follow us on Twitter @nysits.

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