Digital Industry Leaders and Nev Schulman, Host of MTV's Catfish, to Impart Real-World Advice About Online Safety and Security During High School Assembly in Los Angeles

Teenagers and Young Adults Can Improve Their Digital Safety Habits with Action-Oriented Education Resources

Los Angeles, Calif., October 16, 2013 – Today, at Gertz-Ressler High School in Los Angeles, more than 400 students will learn about the importance of owning their online presence on social networks, protecting their personal information and being good digital citizens during an online safety school assembly as part of the 10th National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is led each year by National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Special guest Nev Schulman, host of MTV’s “Catfish,” will be present to share his advice and experiences with safely sharing online and also take questions from the students. 

Presented in partnership with the NCSA and sponsored by McAfee and Raytheon, these students will also hear from experts like Michelle Dennedy, vice president and chief privacy officer of McAfee and others from NCSA as they impart actionable advice on maintaining a positive digital footprint. The assembly, which takes place from noon-1:10 p.m. Pacific, will convey messages from STOP. THINK. CONNECT., the national cybersecurity education and awareness campaign, as well.

“The education community plays a critical role in helping young people navigate the Internet in a safer and more secure way, but there’s much more work to be done as the Internet continues to transform our lives,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of NCSA. “The classroom is a powerful environment where students can get the right foundation for basic cybersecurity practices. So we’re very excited to take part in this assembly and hope it helps ignite a broader movement to ensure that online safety and security and teaching young people to use technology safely, securely, ethically and productively becomes standard in classrooms across America.” 

The assembly comes at an important time in young people’s lives as they prepare for the workforce and higher education, where the need to use technology safely and securely is critical. The young people agree.  In new research to be discussed at the event and commissioned by Raytheon and NCSA, young adults ages 18-26 want cybersecurity education incorporated more heavily into training programs and curricula, with 86 percent noting it’s important to increase cybersecurity awareness programs in the workforce and in formal education programs.

The research also makes a compelling argument for an increased focus on information security and identity protection awareness, noting that 30 percent of young adults have met someone online who gave them a fake photo or lied about their job, education or themselves; alongside another 42 percent of young adults concerned about someone stalking or harassing them online. Other notable statistics from the nationwide survey include:

  • Two-thirds (66 percent) of young adults have connected to a no-password-required public WiFi in the past month.
  • 52 percent of young adults are concerned about someone hacking into their financial information.
  • 48 percent have used a portable storage device for their computer that was given to them by someone else.
  • 20 percent have had to ask someone to take down personal information posted about them in the last year.

“Everyone, everywhere, has the right to be safe, especially our youth,” said Michelle Dennedy, chief privacy officer, McAfee. “Through the McAfee Online Safety for Kids program, we’ve made a commitment to educating the youth in our community about making responsible online decisions. We believe this important event will help raise awareness on the issues teens face, and give them the tools they need to stay safe online.”

“Today’s millennials are tomorrow’s leaders and their embrace of technology will continue to drive our economy forward,” said Jack Harrington, vice president of Cybersecurity and Special Missions for Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services business. “This survey shows the gaps that exist in teaching personal online security to our youth and in our efforts to inspire the next generation of innovators."

Outside of the classroom, STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign materials are  available to all audiences to educate Internet users though basic security principles including keep a clean machine, own your online presence and protect your personal information. The common action step for all Internet users is STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Take safety and security precautions, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors and connect and enjoy the Internet.

Other helpful tips for teenagers and online safety include:

  • Own Your Online Presence: Set privacy and security settings to your comfort level for information sharing.
  • Be a Good Online Citizen: Post only about others as you have them post about you.
  • Safer for Me, More Secure For All: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone. Practicing good online safety habits benefits the global digital community.

The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign is also unveiling its Online Safety Quiz available for free at The quiz allows participants to assess their online safety proficiency through an interactive, scenario-based format that focuses on security, ethics, privacy and other online safety topics.  More information and tips are available at You can also learn more information about staying safe online by participating in #ChatSTC Twitter Chats throughout October.  A full listing of Twitter Chats is available at

About The National Cyber Security Alliance
The National Cyber Security Alliance is a non-profit organization. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors, the mission of the NCSA is to educate and empower a digital citizenry to use the Internet securely and safely protect themselves and the technology they use and the digital assets we all share. NCSA board members include: ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast, EMC Corporation, ESET, Facebook, Google, Intel, McAfee, Microsoft, PayPal, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Symantec, Trend Micro, Verizon and Visa. Visit for more information and join us on Facebook at

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 the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Facebook page at, on Twitter at @STOPTHNKCONNECT, and at

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Jessica Beffa