Hacktober: A Spooky Twist on Cybersecurity Awareness

October 27, 2023

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As Halloween approaches, the leaves change color, and the scent of pumpkin spice fills the air, there’s another event that takes center stage in October – Hacktober! At Intermedia, we’ve transformed National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCASM) into a thrilling journey that we fondly refer to as “Hacktober.” Let’s delve into the fascinating world of Hacktober and its connection to Halloween, revealing how we turned this month into an exciting, educational, and slightly spooky experience for our employees.

What is Hacktober?

Hacktober is not your typical cybersecurity awareness program. It’s Intermedia’s unique approach to educating and engaging our employees via real world, interactive scenarios. During the month of October, we step away from the mundane compliance videos, dry awareness posters, and long-winded emails that often accompany security awareness initiatives. Instead, we employ a creative approach to security awareness, turning it into a month-long adventure.

The security team at Intermedia crafts a series of simulated security incidents, specifically tailored for our employees. These incidents include various challenges, “capture the flag” games, and scenarios where employees must detect and respond to potential cyber threats. It’s like a “spot the hack” game, designed to keep everyone on their toes and encourage learning.

Initiatives like Hacktober represent Intermedia’s ongoing hypervigilance and dedication to providing safe and secure networks and solutions; the better trained our team, the greater peace of mind for our partners and business customers.

Tailored Approaches for Diverse Teams

To make the experience more effective, we’ve designed targeted attacks for specific employee groups. The threats employees face are aligned with the challenges they encounter during their daily tasks. Whether it’s a suspicious phone call, an email, an SMS message, or an Intermedia Unite chat, the aim is to create realistic scenarios that might trick employees into taking actions they shouldn’t, such as resetting a password or downloading a file.

All these hacks are fully explained after they occur, offering details about the attack’s nature, its significance, and the ideal response. Our goal isn’t to shame anyone but to ensure that our employees understand potential threats and know how to respond effectively.

Simulating Threats for a Safer Future

You might be wondering why we’re simulating these attacks on our own colleagues. The answer is simple: it’s a controlled, safe, and highly educational way to prepare our team to face real internet threats. The scenarios presented in Hacktober are a valuable opportunity for employees to experience and learn about these threats within a secure environment.

Additionally, we evaluate how well employees report and escalate potential threats within the organization. This allows us to fine-tune our reporting tools, policies, and systems to enhance our overall security posture. By going through these exercises, we gain insights into how similar incidents might unfold in real-world situations.

What Happens After Hacktober?

As we wrap up this exciting month of learning and testing, we reflect on the valuable experiences and insights gained during Hacktober. This event isn’t just about spotting hacks or winning prizes; it’s about strengthening our collective security knowledge and fostering a culture of vigilance within our organization.

As Halloween night arrives and the ghosts and ghouls come out to play, we encourage our employees to carry the spirit of Hacktober with them throughout the year. Staying vigilant, being proactive, and responding to potential threats with confidence are not limited to a single month. By maintaining a heightened sense of awareness, you can protect yourself and your organization from cyber threats year-round.

Hacktober is more than a playful celebration of cybersecurity awareness; it’s a commitment to ongoing learning and preparation. Just as we stay vigilant on Halloween night, we must remain watchful in the digital realm. So, as we bid farewell to this year’s Hacktober, we encourage you to carry its lessons with you and enjoy a safe, secure, and spooktacular Halloween!

Happy Hacktober, and may your cybersecurity awareness always be as sharp as a vampire’s fangs!


Ryan Barrett

Ryan is Intermedia's Vice President of Security and Privacy.

October 27, 2023

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