National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) – observed every October - 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.
Since its inception under leadership from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, NCSAM has grown exponentially, reaching consumers, small and medium-sized businesses, corporations, educational institutions and young people across the nation. 2016 marks the 13th year of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
With recent legislation and support from the White House, cybersecurity is continuously a popular topic of discussion and rightfully so. More specifically, there is even stronger focus on consumers and their cyber safety. Everyone at every age is a consumer, and thus this year each theme will focus on the consumer and his/her needs regarding cybersecurity and safety. NCSAM 2016 also marks the sixth anniversary of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign. NCSAM 2016 will highlight the overall message of STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and the capstone concepts of the campaign: “Keep a Clean Machine,” “Protect Your Personal Information,” “Connect with Care,” “Be Web Wise,” “Be a Good Online Citizen” and "Own Your Online Presence."
President Barack Obama once again declared October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month in 2016. See the proclamation here.
NCSAM 2016 will focus on a different cybersecurity issue for each week in October.
Week 1: Oct. 3-7
STOP. THINK. CONNECT.: The Basic Steps to Online Safety and Security
Staying safer and more secure online starts with STOP. THINK. CONNECT. – the simple, actionable advice anyone can follow. STOP: make sure security measures are in place. THINK: about the consequences of your actions and behaviors online. CONNECT: and enjoy the Internet.
Whether banking, shopping, social networking, tracking our health or downloading the latest app, in today’s interconnected world, practicing good cybersecurity is critical. All digital citizens must learn to stay safer and more secure in their ever-expanding digital lives, including by preventing and responding to identity theft and scams, ensuring that home networks are secure, managing the security of mobile devices and teaching children to use the Internet safely, securely and responsibly. Week 1 shares simple ways we can protect ourselves and communities along with actions to take if impacted by a breach, cybercrime or other online issue. It will also examine the outlook for cybersecurity jobs and how to engage young people in pursuing careers devoted to protecting the Internet.
Week 2: Oct. 10-14
From the Break Room to the Boardroom: Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity in the Workplace
All organizations – from large and small businesses to healthcare providers, academic institutions, government agencies and civil society – can experience data breaches or be targets of cybercrime, which can result in stolen intellectual property, theft of personal information or – if our critical infrastructure is attacked – a disruption to our way of life. Week 2 will focus on creating a culture of cybersecurity in the workplace through efforts like employee education, training and awareness and by emphasizing risk management, resistance and resilience. Promoting an educated workforce and following best practices – with an emphasis on skill- and career-building for existing personnel and potential new entrants into the cybersecurity workforce – will also be highlighted.
Week 3: Oct. 17-21
Recognizing and Combating Cybercrime
Cybercrime has become too common in our connected world. While online crime is often associated with hackers stealing personal information for monetary gain, crime on the Internet takes many forms. Cybercrime can include everything from organizational data breaches to consumer issues like identity theft, so-called “revenge porn,” cyber-stalking, harassment and bullying to child sexual exploitation and abuse to online radicalization, violence and recruitment to terrorist networks. Fighting cybercrime requires a high level of collaboration among law enforcement, government agencies, the private sector and the general public. Week 3 will focus on awareness of the different types of online crime, offer steps people can take to better protect themselves and address how law enforcement and others can collaborate to combat cybercrime. In addition, careers in fighting cybercrime will be spotlighted.
Week 4: Oct. 24-28
Our Continuously Connected Lives: What’s Your “Apptitude”?
The Internet is evolving from a network to which individuals connect into a network that connects everything to the individual. We are quickly advancing into a world where there is an app for everything. These rapid technological advances – like the Internet of Things – can yield tremendous benefits. Cybersecurity is fundamental to realizing the promise of new and expanded technologies. And more is still to come as smart cities, connected healthcare devices, digitized records and smart cars and homes are fast becoming our new reality. As our digital world expands, creating these cutting-edge technologies in a safe and secure way – along with building a workforce to maintain the infrastructure of our connected world – is essential. Week 4 will examine our future in this connected world and provide strategies for security, safety and privacy.
Week 5: Oct. 31
Building Resilience in Critical Systems
The Internet underlies nearly every aspect of our everyday lives and helps form our critical infrastructure, which keeps crucial systems like electricity, transportation and communications up and running. It’s important to protect this vast network and properly secure the systems that connect to the Internet. October 31 will emphasize the importance of critical infrastructure and highlight the roles the public can play in keeping it secure. On this last day of October, the transition to Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month in November begins.
STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
Cybersecurity begins with a simple message everyone using the Internet can adopt: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Take security and safety precautions, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors online and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.
Use National Cyber Security Awareness Month to begin incorporating STOP. THINK. CONNECT. into your online routine. For more ideas on promoting National Cyber Security Awareness Month, visit the Get Involved page.
We lead Internet-connected, digital lives. From our desks and homes to on the go, we work, learn and play online. Even when we are not directly connected to the Internet, our critical infrastructure—the vast, worldwide connection of computers, data and websites supporting our everyday lives through financial transactions, transportation systems, healthcare records, emergency response systems, personal communications and more—impacts everyone.
Cybersecurity is the mechanism that maximizes our ability to grow commerce, communications, community and content in a connected world.
The Internet is a shared resource and securing it is Our Shared Responsibility. Our Shared Responsibility is once again the theme for National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2016.
No individual, business or government entity is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. Individual actions have a collective impact and when we use the Internet safely, we make it more secure for everyone. If each of us does our part—implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating young people or training employees—together we will be a digital society safer and more resistant from attacks and more resilient if an attack occurs.