This blog is a summary of the 2016 National Cyber Securty Awareness Month report; click here to download the full version.
Now in its 13th year, the 2016 National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was an extremely successful and collaborative effort co-led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Every year NCSAM has increased its reach and grown stakeholder participation. NCSAM 2016 generated many significant achievements, and this report shares a summary of both quantitative and qualitative results for the month – highlighting traditional and social media as well as digital successes. The full NCSAM 2016 narrative (HYPERLINK) provides additional metrics along with weekly activities – detailing themes, keystone events and research – Champion growth, links to collateral and an extensive review of stakeholder engagement, which showcases a variety of highly creative ways that government and a wide breadth of organizations got involved.
For the first time ever, beyond issuing a proclamation, the White House played a role in kicking off October. On Sept. 28, the White House and NCSA launched the Lock Down Your Login campaign, which was designed to empower consumers to better protect their online accounts through strong authentication. With the White House participation and the support of 40 stakeholders, the launch drew coverage in top media outlets and offered a strong “news hook” to announce NCSAM in addition to highlighting a straightforward, actionable step that every American can take to be safer and more secure online. The effort also included a Public Service Announcement (PSA), which was distributed to more than 3,000 TV stations across the country.
The launch was immediately followed by a Radio Media Tour (RMT) on Sept. 29 – hosted by NCSA and DHS – that created an opportunity to further articulate NCSAM’s themes and goals to audiences nationwide.
This year’s kickoff events – held on Oct. 4 and 5 – were hosted by the Washington State Office of Cybersecurity in Bellevue, WA. Each week other keystone events highlighting the weekly themes were held across the country, showcasing DHS and other government and private sector efforts on cybersecurity. Using a strategy developed over the years that includes a comprehensive approach to reaching traditional and social media, NCSA secured coverage for NCSAM 2016 that spanned across global print, local and national broadcast, along with top online news outlets. In addition, NCSAM broke new ground in social media engagement, with robust Facebook Live and Twitter chat participation.
NCSA worked closely with its trusted partners and NCSAM Champions to elevate the brand’s exposure in the U.S. and globally – building top international, national and local media mindshare that moved beyond the cybersecurity and privacy news with consumer, business and lifestyle stories.
Beating the drum, NCSA reinforced a media strategy that built momentum throughout the month. Highlights include:
- NCSAM 2016’s “media footprint” increased by 71% in comparison to 2015.
- Pre-briefings for NCSA Executive Director Michael Kaiser with top-tier media outlets established a “case” for NCSAM and paved the way for specific coverage of NCSAM activities and reactive media.
- Stakeholder ownership inspired survey support and media participation, resulting in anincrease of NCSAM stories internationally in Latin America, Africa and Europe.
- A NCSAM “backgrounder” document, including fast facts, tips, resources and story ideas, was distributed to 2,000+ local markets, generating more than 800 stories.
In addition to a strategic media plan, several elements elevated NCSAM’s exposure, reach and influence:
- 870 organizations registered as Champions, an increase of 24% over last year’s 701. Individual participation grew as well with 432 individual Champions, a 53% increase over 283 in 2015.
- stopthinkconnect.orgexperienced unprecedented web traffic: 66,607 visits (a 402% increase over 2015), 36,568 unique visitors (a 236% increase) and 278,867 page views (a 773% increase).
- NCSA and STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ (@STOPTHNKCONNECT)’s five Twitter chats in support of NCSAM were extremely successful; in fact, the Week 1 chat on Oct. 6 reached all-time highs for NCSA in number of handles participating (448), uses of the hashtag (2,699) and potential reach (2,701,450).
- Ongoing communications between NCSA and its partners kept everyone engaged. Support of NCSAM initiatives grew in academic institutions, federal, state and local government and private companies. This year, trusted partner participation rose from 25 to more than 60 dedicated organizations.
- STOP. THINK. CONNECT.TM campaign messaging was shared in hundreds of stories and countless press release pickups in top national and local outlets, including The Huffington Post, Yahoo News, Bloomberg and Associated Press.
Full-Court Press Highlights
NCSA and DHS collaborated on a comprehensive media outreach plan – created for traditional and social media to run on parallel tracks. Both traditional and social media outreach was ongoing and leveraged a variety of opportunities, including the weekly themes, local events, newly released research and reaction(s) to timely “headlines.” In addition, for the first time, NCSA and DHS leveraged Facebook Lives at all keystone events to extend the audience reach beyond those who were able to attend in person. The following summarizes media highlights and coverage:
- Expanding its media footprint, NCSAM 2016 reached 4.1billion+ or 4,174,865,419 unique viewers – an increase of 71% compared to last year – from digital/print stories and press release distribution that mentioned “National Cyber Security Awareness Month,” along with features about stakeholder initiatives, partner collaborations on research studies and keystone events and interviews with leadership during the September through November timeframe.
- NCSAM 2016-specific coverage – as indicated above, media placements that specifically mentioned the month – earned a spike in influence, reaching an estimated 2,225,259,505 or 2.2+ billion unique visitors overall, an increase from the 2,103,586,709 or 2.1+ billion unique visitors in 2015.
Media Reach (September‐November 2016)
During the months of September, October and November, 2,261
unique articles/broadcast segments about NCSAM were published or aired –an increase of 30% compared to last year. When examining reach across the board to include online, print and broadcast coverage, NCSAM generated an increase in coverage of 15% compared to 2015. Here are some highlights generated from NCSA board member surveys:
NCSA/Raytheon: Securing Our Future: Closing the Cybersecurity Talent Gap Coverage
A total of 47 articles and blogs about the NCSA/Raytheon global survey on millennials and the cyber workforce were published this year – an increase of 24% over 2015. Unique viewership jumped to 1.6 billion+ (1,695,368,421) in comparison to 180,850,727 in 2015 – an 837% increase. Placements were featured in top outlets, including SC Magazine, Politico, CBS News, Dark Reading and local ABC and NBC affiliate stations.
NCSA/Microsoft: Tech Support Scam Survey
NCSA and Microsoft partnered on a global survey on tech support scams and their impact on the everyday consumer. Stemming from the survey were 17 articles – reaching 125,928,038 viewers. Stories were shared in outlets such as CBS News, NBC News, Dark Reading, Huffington Post, Fox News, Tech Radar, The Next Web and Digital Trends. In addition, 103 press release pickups spotlighted the survey, reaching 15,027,296 viewers.
NCSA/ESET: The Internet of Stranger Things
For the second year, NCSA and ESET partnered on a survey that examined Americans’ connected device usage, habits and attitudes on Internet of Things’ (IoT) security. Thirty-one articles were published on the survey, reaching 103,272,159 unique viewers – an increase of 36% over 2015. Stories were shared in outlets such as CBS News, the Huffington Post, Politico, MarketWatch, IEEE Spectrum and the Christian Science Monitor’s Passcode. The survey came on the heels of the October DDoS cyber attack, where IoT connected devices were hacked and brought down much of the internet – providing a relevant and very timely news hook.
NCSA’s key STOP. THINK. CONNECT.TM campaign messages appeared in hundreds of stories and countless press release pickups in top national and local outlets, including The Huffington Post, Yahoo! News, Bloomberg and Associated Press.
- STOP.THINK.CONNECT.TMUnique Viewership: 507,085,572 – an 84% increase (275,830,927 in 2015)
- “Stay Safe Online” Unique Viewership: 1,020,422,713 – a 68% increase (605,681,830 in 2015)
- “Our Shared Responsibility” Unique Viewership: 1,332,080,956 – 56% increase (512,366,766 in 2015)
- “Own Your Online Presence” Unique Viewership: 162,502,111 – 53% increase (106,435,573 in 2015)
- “Keep a Clean Machine” Unique Viewership: 59,691,565 – 42% decrease (104,392,224 in 2015)
Additional “Newsworthy” Highlights
Lock Down Your Login
The Lock Down Your Logincampaign, a STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ initiative led by NCSA in partnership with the White House, has earned impressive and far-reaching media coverage. More than 83,180 people have visited the website since its launch on Sept. 28. In addition, NCSA teamed up with Intel Security to create a PSA, “How to Keep Your Logins Safe – Authenticate, Strong Authenticate.” The PSA, available in 60-, 30- and 15-second increments, was distributed nationally. To date, it has aired more than 1,100 times – reaching an estimated broadcast audience of 2,732,241. In addition, the PSA has been viewed on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube more than 23,750 times – generating 51,314,737 potential impressions.
Social Media Success:
Social media engagement increased this NCSAM, with the #CyberAware hashtag used 70,264 times in October 2016 (a 14% increase over last year). Additionally, more than 21,200 Twitter handles used the #CyberAware hashtag during the month – an 18% increase over the number of people who tweeted with the NCSAM hashtag in 2015. The hashtag potentially reached more than 68 million people (a 4% increase over last year) and generated nearly 493 million potential impressions (a 7% increase over last year).
Digital and Social Media Overview
Website Analytics for October 2016
- Visits: 135,009 (27% increase over 2015)
- Unique Visitors: 109,278 (26% increase)
- Page Views: 272,991 (17% increase)
- Visits: 66,607 (402% increase over 2015)
- Unique Visitors: 36,568 (236% increase)
- Page Views: 278,867 (773% increase)
lockdownyourlogin.com (new web property)
- Visits: 65,659
- Unique Visitors: 67,802
- Page Views: 84,260
NCSA published 34 posts to the Stay Safe Online blog, including 17 guest submissions; posts ranged in topic from using technology responsibly to avoiding falling victim to tech support scams to creating a holistic cybersecurity culture at work. The following organizations contributed posts to the Stay Safe Online blog during the five weeks of NCSAM: AT&T; Bank of America; Barclays; Cisco; ESET; Federal Trade Commission; Intel Security; Jetico; Level 3 Communications; LifeJourney; Microsoft; National Association for Media Literacy Education; Palo Alto Networks; Raytheon; SANS Securing the Human; Symantec; TSC Advantage.
Prior to October 2016, Michael Kaiser participated in a number of NCSAM-focused webinars that were publicized and streamed to security professionals, small to medium-sized business owners and the general public. During two of the webinars, hosted by SANS Securing the Human, Michael shared the month’s themes, collateral, events and key dates and discussed ways for partners and individuals to engage.
In 2015, NCSA changed the official NCSAM hashtag to #CyberAware (in previous years, it had been #NCSAM) in an effort to make social media engagement more accessible during October and year-round. Last year, the hashtag performed extremely well, and we have seen marked growth in 2016.
- Mentions: 70,264 tweets (14% increase over 2015)
- People: 21,221 Twitter users tweeted with the hashtag (18% increase)
- Total potential reach: 68,057,466 (4% increase)
- Mentions: 14,401 tweets (5% decrease from 2015)
- People: 2,983 Twitter users tweeted with the #ChatSTC hashtag (12% increase)
- Total potential reach: 9,377,073 (10% increase)
NOTE: The use of these hashtags in October cannot be precisely compared with 2015 as all five NCSAM Twitter chats occurred within the month of October in 2015 and in 2016 there was a NCSAM chat in November. Additionally, “week 5” of NCSAM began on Oct. 31, and promotion and sharing of the month continued through that first week of November.
- Sept. 28-30:
- Mentions: 1,857 tweets
- People: 756 Twitter users tweeted with the hashtag
- Total potential reach: 7,125,949
- Total potential impressions: 26,151,220
- Mentions: 2,222 tweets
- People: 1,314 Twitter users tweeted with the hashtag
- Total potential reach: 7,708,126
- Total potential impressions: 22,027,156
NCSA/Stay Safe Online Twitter Account(@StaySafeOnline):
- Gained 1,376 followers in October 2016, an increase of 35% from 2015
- Had a total engagement of 8,828, an increase of 16% from 2015
STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Twitter Account (@STOPTHNKCONNECT)
- Gained 698 followers in October 2016, an increase of 16% from 2015
- Had a total engagement of 5,373, an increase of 7% from 201
 2015 = 2.4+ billion or 2,445,753,584
 “Unique visitors” refers to the number of individuals requesting pages from a website during a given month, regardless of how often they visit. For example, if three distinct articles mentioning NCSAM are published on the Yahoo! News site in October, Yahoo! News’ circulation of 41.5 million unique visitors is tallied only once for that monthly period. Meltwater, our media intelligence platform, is provided updated numbers each month by ComScore, the leading internet survey company, which panels several million Internet users every month tracking web activity and extrapolating from samples to determine how many people visit each site globally.
 2016 Unique Articles: 2,261 – an increase of 30% (2015 = 1,737; 2014 =998online articles/print articles/blogs written/ broadcast features)
 2016 total estimated brand reach 8,760,286,989or 8.7+ billion; 2015 total estimated reach 7,443,330,228 or 7.4+ billion; 2014 = total estimated reach 2,240,310,658 or 2.2+ billion. Total estimated brand reach includes total #CyberAware Twitter, online/print in September, October, November.
 In 2015, 15 unique articles covered the NCSA/NCSA Digital Doors study resulting in 76,142,716 unique viewers.