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National Cyber Security Awareness Month Begins With Renewed Commitment to "Our Shared Responsibility"

Official Launch Event and New Millennial Survey Kick Off Month-Long Series of Internet Safety Awareness Programs and Activities

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Washington, DC, Oct. 1, 2014 – The 2014 National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) kicks off today with a forward-thinking emphasis on “our shared responsibility,” the month’s official theme and a call to action for global digital citizens, businesses and governments to take proactive steps in protecting the Internet a resource we all share (http://ncsam.info/YMiYxC).

This year’s official launch will take place at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) conference in Nashville, Tenn. in a keystone event featuring a cross-section of leaders from both public and private sectors, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Under Secretary Phyllis Schneck and White House Cyber Security Advisor Michael Daniel. The event, including remarks from government and private sector officials as well as panel discussions, will be available for viewing via a live Facebook stream beginning at 9 A.M. CDT/10 A.M. EDT and for the closing keynote by Michael Daniel at 11:45 A.M. CDT/12:45 P.M. EDT at: http://ncsam.info/10l0NjC.

The launch also coincides with the release of the 2014 Raytheon-NCSA Millennial Survey (http://bit.ly/1rC83AG) on young Americans’ cybersecurity career aspirations, attitudes about the Internet and online behaviors.

“It’s time to shift our viewpoint on Internet security from one dominated by vulnerability and risk to focusing on creating a culture of cybersecurity by working together to build a safer, more secure and trusted Internet,” said Michael Kaiser, Executive Director for the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and co-sponsor of awareness month. “No matter how we look at it, the Internet is an ever present resource bringing great value to our personal lives, economy and communities. This year’s NCSAM places renewed emphasis on what we can do across the entire ecosystem and realizes the goal of collaboration toward a more secure Internet.”

Since 2004, NCSAM has been co-sponsored by DHS in cooperation with NCSA and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. NSCAM 2014 will explore five weekly themes representing areas of cybersecurity focus and emerging issues, including general online safety and STOP. THINK. CONNECT; secure development of IT products; critical infrastructure and the Internet of Things; cybersecurity for small and medium-size business; and cybercrime and law enforcement.

In an impressive show of support, more than 300 leading organizations have signed on as NCSAM champions and will help sustain the momentum throughout the month by playing active roles in sharing important cybersecurity messages with their local communities and on the global stage. Organizations can still register to become champions at: http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/champions/

“National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign serve as a model for what can be accomplished when groups come together in a concerted effort to help protect individuals and families stay safer online,” said Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer, Microsoft. “From an idea of just a few, to a rallying cry among many, NCSAM activities are bringing key issues to the forefront and educating everyone on how to keep the Internet safer and more secure.”


Cybersecurity Lives of Millennials

The Internet is rapidly changing the way society interacts and is poised to play an even greater role in our personal and professional lives. For millennials, this realization holds true, with more than two-thirds echoing this sentiment in the Raytheon-NCSA Millennials Survey. While there is a significant rising interest among millennials in careers in cybersecurity, most (63%) come out of high school with little information about how to pursue a career in cybersecurity. Two-thirds are also unaware of the job tasks and responsibilities involved in the cyber profession. This cyber education gap presents an opportunity for schools and cybersecurity professionals to begin educating millennials about the industry and what to expect from a career in the field.

Also assessing online habits, the study found that millennials take cybersecurity seriously and feel a strong sense of personal responsibility for protecting the Internet. They also have high expectations that others will do the same, putting the onus on themselves (87%), commercial websites (80%), social network community (74%) and government (66%) to keep the internet safe. While many are aware of the risks – roughly 60% have experienced some sort of online violation, whether through identity theft or a computer virus or a bad experience on social media – they’re still engaging in some risky behaviors, such as 72% using public WiFi that doesn’t require a password. For more information, see the Cybersecurity Lives of Millennials infographic.

For millennials and everyone else, improving cybersecurity involves absorbing the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. message: take a few safety precautions, understand the consequences of behaviors and enjoy the Internet with more peace of mind.

To stay safer and more secure online everyone should: 

  • Keep a clean machine: Keep software up-to-date on all Internet-connected devices to reduce risk of infection and malware.
  • Get two steps ahead:  Switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication wherever offered to make your accounts more secure.
  • When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, posts and texts are often the ways cybercriminals try to steal your information or infect your devices.
  • Think before you app. Understand and be comfortable with what information (i.e., location, your contacts, social networking profiles, etc.) the app would access and share before you download it.
  • Use a better password: Improve your defenses by making passwords that you can remember, are hard to guess, preferably use numbers, capital and lowercase letters and symbols and are different for all accounts.
  • Post only about others what you would have them post about you. It’s the golden rule on the Internet, too.

Save the dates for these events, resources and activities launching just in time for NCSAM 2014:

  • HIMSS: HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society), a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT), joins numerous other champions showing their support for NCSAM. Throughout the month, educational resources, such as tip sheets, infographics and podcasts, are available for health IT professionals to increase awareness and understanding of vital healthcare privacy and security issues. These materials offer important guidance to help providers and others lower their risk profiles and use appropriate resources to meet their needs. To learn more, please visit: www.himss.org/NCSAM
  • Intel Security: Last year, millions of computer users did one thing that triggered almost 95% of all security breaches: they clicked a bad link. Empowering Internet users everywhere to #ClickSmart, Intel Security is launching a campaign to boost your “click IQ” and keep you safe from malware and malicious hackers. Take the #ClickSmart Challenge at http://ncsam.info/1ozFKiG
  • NOVA:  Produced by NOVA at WGBH in Boston, NOVA Labs is a free digital platform that engages teens and lifelong learners in activities and games that foster authentic scientific exploration. To meet the growing need for K-12 computer science resources, NOVA Labs recently launched the Cybersecurity Lab, a game designed to teach people how to keep their digital lives safe, spot phishing scams, and learn the basics of coding. In addition, the Cybersecurity Lab also features stories of real-world cyber attacks and short animated videos that explain fundamental concepts such as why cybersecurity is necessary, the tradeoff between privacy and security, basic cryptography (cyber codes), and what exactly hackers are. NOVA's "Rise of the Hackers" episode recently launched on PBS and is now available for online streaming at http://to.pbs.org/1n3ePka
  • Microsoft: For NCSAM 2014, Microsoft created a series of STOP. THINK. CONNECT. co-branded videos, “The Internet’s Most Wanted,” designed to help Internet users identify those pesky characters that may bring risk to one’s personal information, devices, and family members online. These light-hearted videos, offered in five languages, also provide the proactive steps one can take to help avoid and defend against these risks. Get to know the main culprits at http://ncsam.info/ZrDioI
  • Private Wifi: Check out this fun musical skit from a theater company - http://bit.ly/1wVcZ56 - that covers the threats of WiFi and a need for a virtual private network (VPN). STOP.THINK.CONNECT. and PRIVATE WiFi also came up with five smart travel tips (http://bit.ly/1xy1OT5) to keep everyone secure when using WiFi on the road.
  • San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE): On October 15th, the San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) will host a NCSAM keystone event together with ESET and the DHS. The event will include panelists from around the country addressing cyber issues that relate to critical infrastructure and the Internet of Things. Register here: http://bit.ly/1wMU5gX

See more events and activities or list yours at www.staysafeonline.org.ncsam/events

 

Get Involved!

NCSAM supporters can learn the latest news and updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/staysafeonline and on Twitter at @StaySafeOnline. There will be weekly Twitter chats every Thursday at 3pm EDT/12pm PDT beginning Thursday, October 2 using the hashtag #ChatSTC. The official Twitter hashtag of NCSAM is #NCSAM. A full calendar of Twitter chats is available at http://stopthinkconnect.org/get-involved/twitter-chats/

 

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. Working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), private sector sponsors and non-profit collaborators to promote cybersecurity awareness, NCSA board members include representatives from ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast Corporation, EMC Corporation, ESET, Facebook, Google, Intel, Leidos, McAfee, Microsoft, PayPal, Symantec, Trend Micro, Verizon and Visa. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors, NCSA’s mission is to educate and empower a digital citizenry to use the Internet securely and safely, protect themselves and the technology they use and protect the digital assets we all share. For more information on NCSA please visit: http://www.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 STOP.THINK.CONNECT.org .

 

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