As concerns about cyber security are heightened (to some direct effects of the whistleblower, PrintEdward Snowden, and big company data breaches such as Adobe), consumers and casual Internet users are becoming even more concerned with online security and privacy. In response, we must work to educate ourselves and understand the scope of the online threats and potential risks that can be associated with cyber security breaches.

As an effort to help raise public awareness about these issues and to help users become more cyber savvy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance launched and sponsored (believe it or not, ten years ago) and October has been labeled as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (right before we gear up for some serious online shopping for the holiday season).

Each week of October focuses on a different aspect of cyber security:

Oct. 1-6: General Online Safety – Focused on online safety awareness among all Americans and reinforces the simple measures everyone should take to be safer and more secure online. This stresses the individual understanding that cyber security is a shared responsibility.

Oct. 7-13: Mobile Online Safety & Security – Focuses on safety and security wherever and whenever we use the Internet.

Oct. 14-20: Cyber Education – Highlights the importance of cyber education and workforce development, including the advancement and opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.

Oct. 21-27: Cyber Crime – Highlights how people can protect themselves against cybercrime, and how to get help.

Oct. 28-31: Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Highlights the need to take every step necessary to protect our critical infrastructure.

…and since 2013 was predicted to be a year of cyber attacks and increased cyber crime, the participating organizations are making more of a push this year to help consumers and companies gauge their online and mobile device use and identify unsafe behaviors.

By answering the questions in the Security Mobility Hot Zone questionnaire, donated by Cisco and the Mobile Work Exchange, participants can use the tool and receive graded results based on his/her answers, and then learn best practices for using mobile devices more safely. Hopefully, some of these best practices will help users understand threats and work toward implementing preventative strategies into their regular Internet use.

Here are a few other resources to check into to be sure you are protected and know what could happen, and how to respond if it does.