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. 2017 marks the 14th 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 2017 also marks the 7th anniversary of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ campaign. Each year, NCSAM highlights the overall message of STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ and the capstone concepts of the campaign, like “Keep a Clean Machine,” “Protect Your Personal Information,” “Connect with Care,” “Be Web Wise,” “Be a Good Online Citizen,” “Own Your Online Presence” and “Lock Down Your Login.”
Week 1: Oct. 2-6
STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™: Simple Steps to Online Safety
Staying safe and secure online is our shared responsibility. Here is easy-to-follow, actionable advice for everyone. STOP: make sure security measures are in place. THINK: about the consequences of your actions and behaviors online. CONNECT: and enjoy the internet.
It is critical for anyone using the internet to continually learn about and consistently practice good cybersecurity habits. To better protect yourself, you should secure your home networks and mobile devices and take the time to learn how to use the internet more safely, securely and responsibly. Week 1 will address the top consumer cyber concerns, provide simple steps to protect against these concerns and teach you what to do if you fall victim to cybercrime.
Week 2: Oct. 9-13
Cybersecurity in the Workplace Is Everyone’s Business
Whatever your place of business ‒ whether it’s a large or small organization, healthcare provider, academic institution or government agency – creating a culture of cybersecurity from the breakroom to the board room is essential and a shared responsibility among all employees.
Every organization needs a plan for employee education, training and awareness that emphasizes risk management, resistance and resilience. Week 2 will showcase how businesses of all types can protect themselves, their employees and their customers against the most common cyber threats. The week will also look at resources to help organizations strengthen their cyber resilience, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework.
Week 3: Oct. 16-20
Today’s Predictions for Tomorrow’s Internet
Take a look into our future through the lens of the connected internet and identify strategies for security, safety and privacy while leveraging the latest technology. With the explosion of digital interconnectivity, it is critical to explore everyone’s role in protecting our cyber ecosystem.
Smart cities, connected healthcare devices, digitized records and smart cars and homes have become our new reality. Week 3 will remind you that your personal data is the fuel that makes smart devices work. While there are tremendous benefits of massive interconnectivity, it is critical to understand how to use cutting-edge technology in safe and secure ways.
Week 4: Oct. 23-27
The Internet Wants You: Consider a Career in Cybersecurity
A key risk to our economy and security is the shortage of cybersecurity professionals to protect our extensive networks. Growing the next generation of a skilled cybersecurity workforce ‒ as well as training those already in the workforce ‒ is a starting point to building stronger defenses.
According to a study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, by 2022, there will be a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers. It is essential that we graduate students entering the workforce to fill the vast number of positions available and use technology, safely, securely, ethically and productively. Week 4 will encourage students and professionals to explore cybersecurity as a viable and rewarding profession. Key influencers – like parents, teachers, guidance counselors and state and local officials – will learn more about this growing field and how to engage youth in pursuing cybersecurity careers.
Week 5: Oct. 30-31
Protecting Critical Infrastructure From Cyber Threats
The systems that support our daily lives – such as electricity, financial institutions and transportation – are increasingly dependent upon the internet. Building resilience in critical infrastructure is crucial to our national security.
Week 5 will look at how cybersecurity relates to keeping our traffic lights, running water, phone lines and other critical infrastructure secure. This week is also the transition to November’s Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, highlighting the tie between cybersecurity and our nation’s critical infrastructure.
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.
Our Shared Responsibility
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 2017.
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.