Cyber Awareness Challenge 2022: What is it? Plus 4 Best Practices
When was the last time your company offered cybersecurity-related training? If your answer is never, you're not the only one.
Many companies are suffering from phishing attacks and don't know how to manage breaches to their networks.
Despite that, they don't stop to consider the benefits of offering cybersecurity training, specifically the Cyber Awareness Challenge and training.
Employees who are studying to take the Cyber Awareness Challenge will learn how to protect sensitive information, whether personal or work-related.
Read on to find out what the Cyber Awareness Challenge is, how to get it, and common training topics and best practices.
What is the Cyber Awareness Challenge?
A Cyber Awareness Challenge is a type of training and security certification that helps authorized users understand the actions required to avoid and reduce threats and vulnerabilities in an organization's system.
Updated annually, the Cyber Awareness Challenge training and course offers an overview of cybersecurity best practices along with potential and common threats.
The baseline for the Cyber Awareness Challenge was created by the United States Department of Defense (DoD). The reason the DoD created this challenge was due to the vulnerability of many of its information systems.
Hence, in a bid to "influence the behavior of all employees," the DoD launched the Cyber Awareness Challenge and made it mandatory for its employees, allowing them to avoid threats.
Those who take and pass the Cyber Awareness Challenge certificate can secure data and information systems at home or at their office.
In addition, the Cyber Awareness Challenge training "reinforces best practices to protect classified, controlled unclassified information (CUI), and personally identifiable information (PII)," notes the DoD Cyber Exchange.
Candidates and users should take the Cyber Awareness Challenge every year to stay up-to-date with the latest threats and how to mitigate them.
The challenge is free to take. And the Cyber Awareness Challenge 2022 is already available for users.
How do I get my Cyber Awareness Certificate?
Regardless of an employee's position in a company, you should offer them the Cyber Awareness Challenge training and certificate.
For employees to get their cyber awareness certificates, they'll first need to study for the test.
Those looking to take the test can do so by taking it via Coursera, Quizlet, or on sites related to the US government's Department of Defense or the US Army.
Quizlet is a website that provides training and question-and-answer flashcards to help you pass your Cyber Awareness Challenge test.
It's worth noting that the Cyber Awareness test usually lasts for one hour. However, it is recommended that you regularly review your cyber awareness challenge knowledge.
You should also take the test annually, especially if cybersecurity is part of your main role at your company or government agency.
If you're a senior executive, then it's vital that you ensure that employees in your company get their training and certificate.
Essential Security Awareness Training Topics
To study for the Cyber Awareness Challenge certificate, you'll need to be familiar with several topics and how to enforce cybersecurity best practices within them.
Let's look at some of the most common topics that you're likely to see in Cyber Awareness training.
1. Phishing Attacks
One of the most common forms of cyberattacks, and the most effective, is phishing. And the main reason for their success is that most people think they can tell the difference between a phishing email and a real one, which added to the growing sophistication of these attacks.
Phishing attacks doubled in 2020 and are expected to continue rising as more people and companies adopt a remote or hybrid work environment.
Also in 2020, cybercriminals created nearly 7 million new phishing and scam pages, according to the 2021 State of Phishing and Online Fraud Report.
The most common form of phishing is business email compromise (BEC).
2. Social Media
You've probably seen many of your friends, family, and colleagues oversharing their personal details on social media. That's an opportunity for scammers and hackers to get their personal information and use it against them.
Instead, you should focus on educating employees in your organization to understand and use privacy settings on social media.
The more people don't share information about your company, the lower the risk of a possible cyberattack or data breach.
3. Removable Media
If you've ever used a USB stick or used your phone to store some files or data to use later, then you've used removable media.
When CDs were still popular years ago, they qualified as removable media and often carried viruses that immediately affected the device they were used on.
That's why removable media remains one of the most popular topics discussed in your Cyber Awareness certificate questions.
4. Public WiFi
Most people get excited when they find a coffee shop or public area with free WiFi. What they don't realize is that this free, public WiFi may be hacked by a cybercriminal or would be able to access their information the moment they access the free WiFi.
This also applies to employees working remotely. You'll need to help your employees understand how to keep themselves and their devices safe when using public WiFi.
5. Remote Work
Despite the many benefits of remote work such as higher employee productivity, more flexibility, and no commute time, cybersecurity emerges as a huge problem for companies.
Cybersecurity for remote employees is a common topic when studying for the Cyber Awareness Challenge certificate.
Cyber Awareness Challenge Training Questions and Answers
The Cyber Awareness Challenge test comes in the form of a series of questions that you’ll need to answer.
Let's explore some of those questions and answers. The Q&As mentioned here include answers to the cyber awareness challenge 2022.
Q: Who is given access to classified data?
A: People with the appropriate clearance and a signed non-disclosure agreement (NDA) may access classified information within a company or organization.
Q: What type of data on your social media profile(s) is considered to have a higher security risk?
A: Some personal information, such as the date of birth or the place of birth, may be considered to have a higher security risk because it may lead to some social engineering attacks.
Q: What type of information is not considered an example of sensitive or private information?
A: A press release is not considered sensitive or classified data.
Q: What should you do if someone – you don't know or aren't familiar with – asks if they can use your government-issued laptop or mobile device?
A: I should decline to lend them my laptop or mobile phone.
Q: How can you protect classified or private information?
A: To protect classified information, a company would need to ensure it has labeled its files and items correctly, indicating which is classified or sensitive content.
What are the Best Practices for the Cyber Awareness Challenge?
When it comes to launching or providing the cyber awareness challenge for your employees, there are a few best practices to follow:
1) Make it regular
The first and most important tip is to ensure that your cyber awareness training isn't a one-time thing.
It needs to be regular. Otherwise, employees will forget what they learned and you'll have thrown company money down the drain.
Studies show that it's best to update your employees every six months.
2) Involve all company levels
Your cyber security awareness training shouldn't be limited to your cybersecurity team or your network engineers. Instead, you should involve employees from those in your entry-level jobs all the way to top management.
Your organization's top executives should not shy away from the training as hackers often target them because their phones and laptops contain all the company's confidential information.
3) Cover the basics
In terms of the content of your cybersecurity training – whether you choose to give employees the cyber awareness certificate or not – is to cover the basics of protecting personal and business data.
Your training should cover phishing, password security, social engineering, and security awareness practices.
4) Test your employees
Once you've given the training, you should test employees to see how much they have learned.
It's also a best practice to test them every couple of months to see when they begin to forget their training and when you should give them a new one.
Moreover, without testing, employees will not be interested in what you're saying even if it's important to them.
By now you should have a clear idea of what a Cyber Awareness Challenge is, how it works, and why it’s essential to have your employees take it on a regular basis.
If you’d like to give your employees the opportunity to explore security certificates or if you’d like to test them, visit CyberTalents’ Companies’ Services page to learn more.