How to create a community of good cyber citizens in 2012 (Part 2 of 2)

Dec 23, 2011 3:13pm

By Emily Eckland, NCSA Managing Editor of Digital Media

Liz Fraumann is the Director of Cybersecurity Awareness and Education at ESET, LLC a software security provider based in San Diego and Bratislava, Slovakia. Liz also leads ESET’s cyber security initiative, Securing Our eCity which is focused on general awareness, preparation and education of cybersecurity for business and consumers.

We asked Liz to share some of her accomplishments of 2011, resolutions for 2012 and give advice to others who are thinking of starting their own community organizations to promote awareness and education about online safety.

For those people who don’t know, what is Securing Our eCity?

Securing Our eCity is the signature program for the ESET Foundation. It started out as an initiative by ESET North America in late 2009 focused on Cybersecurity education. Over time we realized that foundational to the initiative we first must raise awareness of the issues before people are receptive to becoming educated and prepared.

As the signature program for the ESET Foundation, Securing Our eCity will continue to focus on cybersecurity awareness, education and preparation for all digital citizens. The mission of which is to enable every citizen to live, work and play safely in the cyber world.

How can other people encourage their community to become good cyber citizens?

We have found the first step is to raise awareness of the issues and help citizens to understand the potential impact on their lives – not only at work but at home and school. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and if each person better understands how their actions can have an impact on everyone, it makes it much easier to understand.

We like to suggest that each business can touch their staff and each staff member can then reach out to their family and friends which in turn will help our 21st century students who are already very digitally savvy understand how cybersecurity fits into the big picture.

Engaging and promoting the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ campaign is easy and one that does not take a lot of money. If we can be successful in promoting this alone, it will go a long way in helping promote good cyber-hygiene. It would be great to have all of the cable networks pick up the Microsoft STOP. THINK. CONNECT. public service announcement and play it during primetime! An ambitious goal, but one that should be doable!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a community program like Securing Our eCity?

We created Securing Our eCity to serve as a model for other communities across the nation and around the world. It is not a prescriptive program, rather it serves as a suggestion and one that we hope serves as a beacon for other communities. The first step, we have found that is absolutely necessary is to gather a few passionate people who are like-minded and engage them. The program is not about one person or one organization. It is truly about a community understanding how in the world of cyber the impact we have on each other and across the greater community of each state, the United States and the globe.

Are there free resources available to help distribute the message?

Absolutely! And, not only from Securing Our eCity. We promote the NetCetra book from the FTC and many of their other publications as well. Actually our government has done a great job in producing materials. We want to help them get into distribution and show people how they can be used to help become more cyber-savvy. We also have our “Securing Our eCity – in – a – Box” that we will share with other communities to help them get started if they are interested. Again, we do not want to be prescriptive, but two and a half years of learning has gone into the project and can help other communities get a “kick-start.” They don’t have to address the same challenges we did.


What civic organizations should I invite to be a part of my program?

Interestingly enough, there is no right answer. As I have shared, this is more about what an individual community needs and what the champions of the effort believe is most appropriate for their community. For example, if I live in the Amarillo, TX it might be important to include the Future Farmer’s Association, where if I live in Chicago, IL, it may not be as important or even appropriate.

We do suggest looking at organizations like the Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau; places where businesses of various sizes are active and involved and can easily see interactions. But again, I caution, there is no right answer. It is community specific.

What has been your greatest accomplishment this year?

We have had many “wins” this year but, I would suggest that establishing the ESET Foundation which has Securing Our eCity as the signature program is the highlight. This clearly demonstrates to others what we have said all along; the initiative was founded as a “give back” to the San Diego community. We want others involved and sharing in all ways as we make strides to help San Diego become one of the safest digital communities for our citizens. It is a tall undertaking and one we have made great strides in however, we are not done yet. We still have more digital citizens in the greater San Diego area to reach out to.

What are your goals and New Year’s resolutions for 2012?

Personally, I want to help at least one person, each day become more cyber safe, in their understanding of cybersecurity and how they behave in our digital world each day.

For the Foundation and our signature program, Securing Our eCity – well, visit our website in late spring. I think you will see a few of the things we are very excited about!