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As the Internet of Things Grows Exponentially, National Cyber Security Awareness Month Focuses on Securing our Connected Devices and Networks

With Consumers and Businesses Becoming More Connected, C-Suite Executives, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Leaders in the Digital Industry Will Highlight Security and Privacy Challenges Facing the Expanding IoT Market During Keystone Event at Nasdaq

Washington, D.C., Oct. 19, 2015 - National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), the pre-eminent cybersecurity awareness campaign co-founded and led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), enters its fourth week by focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT) and properly securing our rapidly expanding universe of connected devices.  

The Internet is evolving into something that connects everything and everyone. Our cars are quickly morphing into “smartphones on wheels,” the number of connected devices at home is rapidly rising, and at work, more people and machines are connected to networks and each other, sharing vast amounts of valuable data designed to make our lives and businesses more efficient.

This Internet of Things phenomenon is poised to transform our lives. According to Intel, the Internet of Things is predicted to grow from two billion objects in 2006 to 200 billion by 2020 ‒ around 26 smart objects for every human being on Earth. But while IoT will provide us tremendous benefits – allowing us to remotely access, monitor and control our home devices via the Internet – it will also make securing all our devices an enormous challenge. With a recent survey by ESET and NCSA indicating that 21 percent of Americans use a mobile device to remotely access a device at home, it is more important than ever to remember the messages of STOP. THINK. CONNECT.: take time to understand the risks of the Internet and how to spot a problem, think about how your online actions can impact your safety, and enjoy the Internet with greater confidence.

“The emerging world of IoT has the potential to be a transformational technology. To reap its many benefits, the world of IoT must be safe, secure and trusted,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of NCSA. “Individuals and businesses that adopt IoT should be sure they know how to keep the devices secure, understand what data is being collected and where its being stored, and how to take advantage of any available user controls for the device.”

Businesses are also becoming more aware of the potential of IoT as well as the security and privacy challenges it poses. With the increased ability to connect more devices to the Internet, businesses can enhance efficiency, save money and have better access to opportunities. But having more data can also make businesses – and their customers – more attractive to cyber criminals. 

“The Internet of Things will undergo explosive growth in the next few years and it will benefit us all,” said Chris Boyer, Assistant Vice President of Public Policy for AT&T, a market-leader in IoT and security innovation. “At the same time, as with any new technology, security is top of mind for IoT development. This is something industry is well aware of and AT&T is working to ensure that, with the growth of IoT, comes awareness on how to best protect IoT products and services.”  

A NCSAM keystone event at Nasdaq’s headquarters in New York City today will convene a group of industry luminaries for a lively discussion highlighting the challenges of the Internet of Things. This C-Suite panel of executives will address a variety of topics on securing the Internet of Things with guests from the media and the public and private sector. A range of key issues will include putting security at the core of IoT’s value proposition; privacy and IoT; innovation and security; and IoT trends for 2016. The panel is composed of representatives from companies at the forefront of cybersecurity, including AT&T, BlackBerry, Cisco, PKWARE and Symantec. Sponsors of the event include Cisco, Fasoo, Logical Operations, Mobile Comply, Nasdaq, NCSA, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Symantec.

Cisco’s participation in the event is timely: this week, NCSA announced that Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), a worldwide leader in information technology and an IoT pioneer, has joined the NCSA’s Board of Directors. Anthony Grieco, Principal Engineer and Director of the Security and Trust Organization at Cisco, will sit on the Board starting this month.  

NCSA encourages all Internet users to follow the message of STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Make sure connected devices have security precautions, think about the consequences of the data being shared, and then connect a device to the Internet with more peace of mind. Follow these tips for a safer and more secure IoT experience:

Keep clean machines:

  • Understand how to keep IoT devices up to date, including through software updates or stronger passwords.
  • Keep your mobile phone and apps up to date. Many IoT devices are controlled via smartphones or tablets. Keeping your phone and associated apps up to date is an important security step.
  • Pay attention the Wi-Fi router in your home – it is the main way IoT devices connect to the Internet. Use a strong password and name the device in a way that won’t let people know it’s your house. Keep router software up to date.
  • Keep an inventory of all Internet connected devices.

Own Your Online Presence:

  • Understand what’s being collected: Most IoT devices collect data. Take the time to understand what information your devices are collecting and how that information is managed and used.
  • Know where your data goes: Many IoT devices will send your information to be stored in the cloud. Understand where the data will reside and the security protecting your information.
  • Do your research: Before adopting a new smart device, research it to make sure others have had positive experiences with the device from a security and privacy perspective.

Other events taking place this week include:

2015 Cyber Risk Insights Conference, Grand Hyatt New York, Oct 20, 2015 (8 a.m. – 6 p.m. EDT): The Cyber Risk Insights Conference, hosted by Advisen, is a one-day program featuring the top experts in the cyber insurance space. This event begins with a keynote address by Michael Chertoff, co-founder and executive chairman of the Chertoff Group. Additional information and registration here

NCSAM – Are You Prepared? A Conversation on Cyber Law & Cyber Insurance National Cybersecurity Institute, Washington, DC, Oct 20, 2015 (8:30 – 11:00 a.m. EDT): The National Cybersecurity Institute is organizing an event in honor of NCSAM 2015. The event will include networking, refreshments, cyber expert remarks on cybersecurity risks and responses and cyber liability insurance, and an open house and book signing. Additional information and registration details here.

Human Hacking in the World of Social Engineering: A Knight's Tale Virtual (Webinar), Oct 21, 2015, 1 - 2 p.m. EDT/10 - 11 a.m. PDT: Join GreyCastle Security for a three part educational webinar series that will help you overcome some of the biggest challenges organizations are facing today in the realm of cybersecurity. Additional details and registration here

Boston Cyber Security Summit, Boston, MA, Oct 21, 2015 (9 a.m. – 6 p.m. EDT): The Cyber Security Summit, an exclusive C-Suite conference series, connects senior level executives responsible for protecting their companies’ critical infrastructures with innovative solution providers and renowned information security experts. Additional information and registration here

#ChatSTC Twitter Chat: Cybersecurity & the Evolving Internet of Things, Virtual (Twitter Chat), Oct 22, 2015 (3 - 4 p.m. EDT/12 - 1 p.m. PDT): Have you thought about how many things in your home connect to the Internet? “Smart” devices now include everything from thermostats to cars to umbrellas, and our digital lives evolve as we connect to more apps and devices. In Week 4 of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), we’ll have a #ChatSTC to discuss how to protect ourselves and our information as we adopt emerging technologies. Moderator: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. (@STOPTHNKCONNECT). Use #ChatSTC to join! 

Here are some valuable resources to help Internet users stay safe online:

  • For insights from the Cisco Security Community, visit http://blogs.cisco.com/security
  • Considering an IP camera to keep an eye on your property? These cameras provide live video and audio feeds that you can access remotely using an Internet browser. Many IP cameras on the market are vulnerable to digital snooping – check out the FTC’s article to learn what security features you should look for when shopping for and using these devices.
  • Here's a video breakdown for NCSAM Week 4, including theme description, handy tips on how you can protect your evolving digital life and ways to get involved in #CyberAware Month 2015 – it's never too late! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlGoX_DS7R8
  • We are transitioning from an Internet of connected individuals to an Internet in which everything and everyone are connected, also known as the Internet of Things. NCSA created an infographic to explain what IoT is and share tips for navigating this increasingly connected world: http://ncsam.info/1PmdYHK

Individuals and companies and organizations of all sizes can show their support for NCSAM by becoming a Champion. Currently there are more than 675 NCSAM Champions who will play an active role in sharing important cybersecurity messages with their local communities, corporations, governments and individuals internationally. For more information on how to become a champion, visit https://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/champions.

Using the new hashtag, #CyberAware, NCSAM's Champions and supporters are also encouraged to join the conversation by posting tips, advice and information, and participating in weekly Twitter chats occurring every Thursday at 3:00 p.m. EDT, and keeping up on the latest updates on http://www.facebook.com/staysafeonline.

Visit NCSAM's Media Resource Hub, https://www.staysafeonline.org/about-us/news/media-room, for more information on activities and events throughout the month. Additional resources (infographics, tip sheets, media kit and more) and information on getting involved are also available at https://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/

About National Cyber Security Awareness Month

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. Now in its 12th year, NCSAM is co-led by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, the nation's leading nonprofit public-private partnership promoting the safe and secure use of the Internet and digital privacy. Recognized annually in October, NCSAM involves the participation of a multitude of industry leaders ‒ mobilizing individuals, small- and medium-sized businesses, non-profits, academia, multinational corporations and governments. Encouraging digital citizen around the globe to STOP. THINK. CONNECT., NCSAM is harnessing the collective impact of its programs and resources to increase awareness about today's ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape. Visit the NCSAM media room: https://www.staysafeonline.org/about-us/news/media-room/

About The National Cyber Security Alliance
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is the nation's leading nonprofit public-private partnership promoting the safe and secure use of the Internet and digital privacy. Working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), private sector sponsors and nonprofit collaborators to promote cybersecurity awareness, NCSA board members include representatives from ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, BlackBerry, Cisco, Comcast Corporation, ESET, Facebook, Google, Intel, Logical Operations, Microsoft, PayPal, PKWARE, RSA - the Security Division of EMC, Raytheon, Symantec, Verizon and Visa. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, nonprofit and academic sectors, NCSA's mission is to educate and empower digital citizens to use the Internet securely and safely, protect themselves and the technology they use, and safeguard the digital assets we all share. NCSA leads initiatives for STOP. THINK. CONNECT., a global cybersecurity awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online; Data Privacy Day, celebrated annually on January 28, and National Cyber Security Awareness Month, launched every October. For more information on NCSA, please visit staysafeonline.org/about-us/overview/.

About STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

STOP. THINK. CONNECT. is the national cybersecurity education and awareness campaign. The campaign was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, non-profits and government organizations with leadership provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). The Department of Homeland Security leads the federal engagement in the campaign. Learn how to get involved at STOPTHINKCONNECT.org




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Jessica Beffa
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ncsa@thatcherandco.com