There are only two weeks until the 12th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), a collaborative effort among government, industry, nonprofits, educational institutions and consumers to ensure everyone has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and our partners around the world are gearing up for a large-scale effort to grow digital citizens’ awareness of the steps they can take to protect themselves and others online.
The importance of observing NCSAM each October is steadily increasing as the world becomes more connected. Technology is a part of nearly all of our everyday activities – including shopping, banking, applying to jobs and schools, playing games and interacting with our friends, colleagues and family – and it is important to understand the implications of our online actions. Additionally, cybercrime is becoming increasingly sophisticated and prevalent, with 348 million U.S. Internet users’ identities exposed in breaches last year. The overarching theme of NCSAM is “Our Shared Responsibility,” meaning that each of us has a role to play in promoting a safer, more secure and more trusted Internet. The resources, events and efforts NCSA has planned for this October are designed to help consumers understand how their connected world works and how they can be good digital citizens.
NCSAM 2015 will also mark the fifth anniversary of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign, an online safety awareness and education effort that has grown substantially across the country and globe. NCSAM 2015 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” and “Be a Good Online Citizen.”
So how can you get involved? There are several ways you can take action in your community, at work and at home to help make our digital community safer.
- In your community: volunteer at a local school, nursing home or faith-based organization to teach about online safety.
- At work: engage employees by displaying posters or hosting a brown bag lunch to talk about online safety.
- At home: talk to your family and friends about staying safe online, whether using social media, shopping online or connecting with the latest wearable devices.
We hope you will join the greater effort on social media this October by using the #CyberAware hashtag in your posts, following NCSA on Facebook and Twitter and downloading and sharing our sample social media content before and during the month. Additionally, @STOPTHNKCONNECT will be hosting #ChatSTC Twitter chats every Thursday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT to discuss online safety in a number of areas. For the full schedule of chats, visit http://stopthinkconnect.org/twitterchats.
Finally, you can register yourself and/or your organization as a NCSAM Champion to take action in support of NCSAM. It’s free and easy to sign up.
We are excited to kick off October and hope that it will be the most successful one yet! For more information on how you can get started, visit https://staysafeonline.org/ncsam.