European Cyber Security Month (ECSM)
The European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) is a joint initiative by DG CONNECT, the European Commission's Directorate‑General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology and ENISA, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. First launched in 2012, the European Cyber Security Month today is one of the largest EU institutional annual campaigns. Taking place during the whole month of October each year, the initiative is supported by the European Member States and brings together hundreds of partners, including governments, universities, think tanks, NGOs, professional associations, and private sector business from all around Europe, and beyond. Its aim is to promote cybersecurity among EU citizens and organisations, and to providing up-to-date online security information through awareness raising and sharing of good practices.
ENISA acts as a 'hub' for the ECSM campaign when it comes to participating Member States and EU Institutions, and by providing expert suggestions, generating synergies and promoting common messaging among EU citizens, businesses and public administration. The Cyber Security Month collates a variety of events, resources, and trainings on how to stay safe online in one virtual environment. Directed at teachers, the website provides learning modules on password security, data back-ups, privacy settings and protection against common online risks and threats. The course resources consist of PDF material that teachers can apply in their classrooms. Furthermore, a higher education database compiles 121 programmes in 24 countries related to cybersecurity issues. Other resources focus on promoting awareness campaign tools, such as logos and social media promo materials. In addition, the website joins information on events related to cybersecurity, also by other providers. Each year, for the entire month of October, hundreds of activities take place across Europe, including conferences, workshops, trainings, webinars, presentations and more, to promote digital security and cyber hygiene.
Outcomes and impact
The European Cyber Security Month has succeeded in engaging a variety of stakeholders in a campaign, dedicated to promoting cybersecurity awareness amongst citizens and the wider education sector. It supports the 4 pillars of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, by supporting the digital skills and technological awareness of all citizens, employees in various sectors, younger people and students, as well as educators, teachers and supporting staff. In particular, the 2020 'Think before U Click' campaign focusing on cyber scams and safe and responsible internet use in the context of COVID-19, was successful in its objective of promoting good practices in cybersecurity on a local, regional, national and EU level.
Since the start of the initiative in 2012, more than 525 activities across 36 countries have already taken place. In addition, ECSM has served as a good basis for the further development of cybersecurity events on a national scale. The annual campaign is also sustainable - something achieved through coherent pooling of EU funding and funding from partner networks. The website is user-friendly and accessible for all, structured in the form of a searchable repository: currently, it features more than 20 ongoing activities on a national level, as well as around 130 items of awareness-raising material (videos, banners, publications) on the topic of cybersecurity. The European Cyber Security Month has a wide outreach and impact: with more than 25,000 followers on Twitter and a focus on a broad target audience.