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National Cyber Security Awareness Month Spotlights Importance Of Protecting Critical Infrastructure In The Era Of "Internet Of Things"

As the number of connected devices rises to 25 billion by 2015, defending our expanding digital frontier comes into focus on Week III

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Washington, DC, Oct. 15, 2014 – National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), an education and awareness campaign co-sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), enters its third week by highlighting the importance of protecting the nation's critical infrastructure and properly securing all devices connected to the Internet.

The Internet underlies nearly every facet of our daily lives and is the foundation for much of the critical infrastructure that keeps our nation running. As President Obama recently highlighted in his NCSAM 2014 proclamation, "Cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers the United States faces. They jeopardize our country's critical infrastructure, endanger our individual liberties, and threaten every American's way of life. When our nation's intellectual property is stolen, it harms our economy, and when a victim experiences online theft, fraud, or abuse, it puts all of us at risk."

"Our Shared Responsibility" has been NCSAM's enduring theme over the years, emphasizing the role everyone has to play in protecting the Internet. However, this week marks the first time the growing market of "Internet of Things" (IoT) captures the spotlight, stressing the importance of securing our multiple interconnected devices, which ultimately link to the 16 sectors of our critical infrastructure – the backbone of our nation's economy, security and health. (http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/resources/internet-of-things-infographic)

Just as the systems that support electricity, financial services, transportation, and communications become increasingly interconnected, so do our personal devices. With more than 1.76 billion smartphone users worldwide transferring data on their phones daily, IoT – a rapidly expanding set of "things," including tags, sensors and devices that interact and share data with each other and with software applications – is changing the way we use technology. Soon, we won't be transferring data just via phones, but through machines such as thermostats, refrigerators, cars and even front doors.

"As wireless technology continues to expand, we will see more benefits and more convenience in operating our personal devices," said Michael Kaiser, Executive Director, NCSA. "But greater connectivity via mobile also makes us more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Everyone of us will need to be aware of safety, security and privacy concerns as we adopt these new innovations and take proactive precautions to protect our growing family of connected platforms." 

In an increasingly mobile and a connected cyberspace, NCSA recommends three simple STOP. THINK. CONNECT. tips to protect yourself and our nation's critical infrastructure:

  • Keep a Clean Machine: Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.
  • Be Smarter Than Your Device: Protect all devices that connect to the Internet. Along with computers, smartphones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
  • Safer for me more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.

NCSA Keystone Event:

On October 15 in support of NCSAM, the Cyber Center for Excellence in San Diego is holding a keystone event focusing on the themes of critical infrastructure and IoT. "Securing Our Critical Infrastructure & the Internet of Things: A National Cyber Security Awareness Month Keystone Event," held in conjunction with DHS and NCSA, will include a discussion with panelists from around the country, including Jason Gatesof the DHS Office of Cybersecurity and Communications; Michele Robinson, the Chief Information Officer for the State of California; and Kevin Sullivan, Principal Security Strategist at Microsoft and an NCSA Board Member Company. The event will begin with the keynote delivered by DHS and close with ESET North America's CEO Andrew Lee. For more information on the event, visit http://www.eventbrite.com/e/national-cyber-security-awareness-month-san-diego-registration-12773149835).

It's Never Too Late to Get Involved!

NCSAM supporters can get the latest news and updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/staysafeonline and on Twitter at @StaySafeOnline. This week's Twitter chat, one of a month-long series of Twitter chats, is Thursday, October 16 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time using the hashtag #chatSTC. NCSAM's official Twitter hashtag is #NCSAM. A full calendar of Twitter chats is available at:http://www.stopthinkconnect.org/twitterchats. NCSA also welcomes organizations to show their support for NCSAM by becoming an official NCSAM Champion and submitting their registration at http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/champions/. So far, close to 400 champions have signed up to spread the word.

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 STOPTHINKCONNECT.org.




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Jessica Beffa
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ncsa@thatcherandco.com