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Large-Scale Awareness Effort Highlights Our Shared Responsibility to Be Safer and More Secure Online at Home, at Work and School and in the Community
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 2, 2017 – This October marks the 14th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) – a far-reaching online safety awareness and education initiative co-founded and led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Each week’s awareness efforts will focus on a specific theme; topics highlighted include simple steps to online safety, cybersecurity in the workplace, securing new and emerging technologies, building the cyber workforce, and promoting cybersecurity in critical infrastructure.
All efforts fall under the month’s overarching theme, “Our Shared Responsibility,” which recognizes that we all need to do our part to be safer online and, when we do, we make the internet more secure for everyone. Young people across the globe share this sentiment. A recent international survey of adults ages 18 to 26 – conducted by Raytheon and Forcepoint in partnership with NCSA – reveals that 84 percent of young adults worldwide think keeping the internet safe and secure is a responsibility we all share.
NCSAM 2017 kicks off with a focus on STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, the global online safety education and awareness campaign co-founded by NCSA and the Anti-Phishing Working Group; DHS leads the federal engagement of the campaign. STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, launched in October 2010, is simple, actionable advice all digital citizens can follow – STOP: make sure security measures are in place. THINK: about the consequences of your online actions. CONNECT: and enjoy the internet. There are more than 140 STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ resources, including videos, tip sheets, infographics and memes, that are available for free to download and share at home, at work and in the community.
NCSA’s website StaySafeOnline.org – a critical resource for engaging in NCSAM and cybersecurity education and awareness – has re-launched in honor of the month with a new look and feel, featuring an easy-to-use resource library, helpful educational materials and the latest news and blog posts from NCSA and partners. The new, mobile-friendly site is designed to be a one-stop shop for online safety awareness and education.
“For most Americans, the internet has become a critical resource we rely on every day for work, commerce and communications. As we move beyond our PCs, laptops, tablets and phones to the Internet of Things – the connected devices in our homes, cars, workplaces and schools – we must be sure to secure all corners of the internet,” said Michael Kaiser, NCSA’s executive director. “NCSAM is the time we all rededicate our efforts to make sure that everyone has the information they need to stay safe online, and build a safer, more secure and more trusted internet.”
“Technology is a shared resource that all internet users – individual consumers, families, academic institutions, government and businesses – value, and securing it is a shared responsibility,” said William O’Connell, chief business security officer at ADP and chairman of the NCSA Board of Directors. “Each NCSAM jumpstarts a new effort to educate both organizations and individuals about the security precautions they can take online to protect themselves, their workplaces and the extended digital community.”
Top Consumer Concerns Include Identity Theft, Ransomware and the Internet of Things
Today’s consumers are becoming increasingly aware of – and concerned about – cyber threats, with cyber attacks making headlines in the news every day. Identity theft, which remains a key online safety concern for internet users in particular, is explored in more depth in the 2017 Identity Theft: The Aftermath report, released today by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a NCSAM Champion. This report analyzes identity theft victims’ experiences, and provides insights into the complex issue of identity theft and the difficulties it creates for victims, families and communities.
“The results from this year’s Aftermath survey indicate 75 percent of respondents were severely distressed by the misuse, or attempted misuse, of their personal information, highlighting the serious repercussions for victims. Nearly a quarter of the participants sought professional help to manage the emotional and physical symptoms they suffered as a result of this crime,” said Eva Velasquez, ITRC’s CEO and president. “We believe industry and government must do their part to protect personally identifiable information, but individuals also play a vital role. Practicing strong cybersecurity and identity hygiene will keep individuals from being the attractive targets so many thieves seek out and keep them that much safer in our connected world.”
Ransomware and security in the growing Internet of Things (IoT) are also common consumer security concerns. Ransomware – malware that accesses files, locks and encrypts them and then demands the victim to pay a ransom to get them back – has been growing in prevalence, with threats such as WannaCry and the Petya attacks making the news in recent months. Learn more about this threat and how to protect your devices here.
The Internet of Things – which includes devices like our home appliances, cars and video cameras, and the vast array of devices in the workplace – offers tremendous opportunities and benefits for increased efficiency and convenience, but also brings concerns about our privacy and security. IoT devices are fueled by personal information and critical data, and we must be vigilant about protecting this new generation of technology that will exponentially grow the number of devices connected to the internet and be vigilant in safeguarding them from attack and compromise.
Seniors: A Vulnerable Population
Increasingly, older adults are becoming the targets of online scams. More than one-third (38 percent) of U.S. seniors say someone has tried to scam them online, according to a surveyconducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network. Overall, American seniors have been the targets of at least one of 11 internet scams featured in the survey.
Seniors make up a vulnerable population partly because of their trusting nature, according to Home Instead Senior Care. Protect Seniors OnlineSM, a campaign that Home Instead developed in cooperation with NCSA, has identified the top five cyber scams potentially impacting older adults:
- Tech support scams, which appear as pop-ups on the computer screen and look like legitimate offers from reputable companies
- Tax scams, which include scammers posing as Internal Revenue Service agents demanding money
- Ransomware: malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid
- False debt collection emails: threatening, official-looking documents demanding money
- Sweepstakes scams, which promise big prizes in exchange for fee payments
To avoid scams, verify all suspicious emails, especially those that are marked as urgent. For more information and free resources, visit ProtectSeniorsOnline.com.
NCSA’s Top STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Tips
The internet is a shared resource, and securing it is our shared global responsibility. This week – and all NCSAM long – follow these STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ tips for a safer and more secure digital life. More easy-to-follow tips are also available in infographic and tip sheet form – download and/or share them on social media using the hashtag #CyberAware!
- Lock down your login: Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media. Strengthen online accounts and use strong authentication tools – like biometrics, security keys or a unique, one-time code through an app on your mobile device – whenever offered.
- Keep a clean machine: Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including personal computers, smartphones and tablets – current to reduce risk of infection from ransomware and malware.
- When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to compromise your information. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or, if appropriate, mark as junk.
- Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely. If you have a copy of your data and your device falls victim to ransomware or other cyber threats, you will be able to restore the data from a backup.
Check Out ESET’s Cybersecurity Cash Car
If you’re on the streets of San Diego, Calif., this October, keep your eyes peeled for a cybersecurity “cash car”! To support NCSAM, IT security firm ESET – a NCSA board member company – is launching eight ESET/NCSAM-branded vehicles into the San Diego market as part of its ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the seriousness of cyber threats and promote cybersecurity awareness. One of the eight NCSAM vehicles on the road will be the designated “Cybersecurity Cash Car.” The car and ESET cybersecurity awareness team members will park in various places around San Diego during October, giving cash cards to people who correctly answer cybersecurity-related questions. Anyone passing by the designated Cybersecurity Cash Car can play, with a chance to win hundreds of dollars. As part of the initiative, ESET will also match players’ winnings dollar for dollar with a donation to NCSA.
All of the wrapped cars sport the eset.com/cybersecurity URL, a page that contains free cybersecurity tools and resources for businesses and individuals. For hints on the Cybersecurity Cash Car’s pop-up locations, follow @ESET on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and tune in to the #CyberAware hashtag. There will also be opportunities to win by playing online.
Be a Part of Something Big: Become a NCSAM Champion
One way you and/or your organization can participate in NCSAM is by becoming a NCSAM Champion. Champions represent those dedicated to promoting a safer, more secure and more trusted internet. Becoming a Champion is easy and does not require any financial support. There are already more than 600 organizations and more than 300 individuals signed up to support the month. Champions receive a toolkit of online safety awareness and education materials they can use to support the month, and updates leading up to and throughout October on resources, upcoming events and ways to get involved.
Upcoming NCSAM Events
NCSA and partners will host a number of events across the country up to and throughout NCSAM. Noteworthy upcoming events and initiatives include:
- Global Launch of Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM), Tuesday, Oct. 3, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (EDT), Organization of American States (OAS), 200 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C.: For the first time – in honor of CSAM – internationally renowned government and industry experts will explore major cybersecurity issues during a daylong event. Hosted by OAS and NCSA, this event will highlight a variety of topics, including how to keep all global digital citizens safer and more secure online and how governments and the private sector can work together on a more secure and trusted internet, and look ahead to the benefits of a globally secure internet. The event will spotlight CSAM’s international adoption. The event will be translated into a variety of languages and streamed live here.
- #ChatSTC Twitter Chat: A Global Kickoff to Cyber Security Awareness Month, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 11:00-11:30 a.m. EDT/8:00-8:30 a.m. PDT, Virtual/Online: Join NCSA and partners for a pre-event Twitter chat live from the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., to kick off the global launch of CSAM and discuss key topics and issues that will be highlighted. Participants will then be invited to tune in to the daylong activities online through the event livestream. Use #ChatSTC to join!
- #ChatSTC Twitter Chat: STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ – Simple Steps to Online Safety, Thursday, Oct. 5, 3:00-4:00 p.m. EDT/12:00-1:00 p.m. PDT, Virtual/Online: Staying safe and secure online is our shared responsibility, and it’s critical for any internet user to continually learn about and consistently practice good cybersecurity habits. This Twitter chat – coinciding with Week 1 of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2017 – will address the top consumer cybersecurity concerns, provide simple steps to protect against these threats and teach you what to do if you fall victim to cybercrime. Use #ChatSTC to join!
- 2017 Baltimore Cyber Summit, Saturday, Oct. 7, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (EDT), Mount Pleasant Church and Ministries Grand Fellowship Hall, 6000 Radecke Avenue, Baltimore, MD: The 2017 Baltimore Cyber Summit is a free cyber summit for the community. A diverse group of cyber experts will be there to share their vast knowledge and experience to help you – and inform and even inspire the next generation to pursue cyber careers.
- Insights on Cybersecurity for Electric Utilities, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (EDT), National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA: This event – hosted by the NRECA in collaboration with NCSA and DHS – will highlight expert remarks on what is being done in cybersecurity by the electric sector to help ensure affordable, reliable and resilient electricity for the nation. You can watch the event virtually at facebook.com/staysafeonline.
- #ChatSTC Twitter Chat: Cybersecurity in the Workplace Is Everyone’s Business, Thursday, Oct. 12, 3:00-4:00 p.m. EDT/12:00-1:00 p.m. PDT, Virtual/Online: Whatever your place of business, creating a culture of cybersecurity is an essential shared responsibility among leadership and all employees. Every organization needs a plan for employee education, training and awareness that emphasizes risk management, resistance and resilience. This Twitter chat will showcase how all businesses can protect themselves, their employees and their customers against the most common cyber threats and strengthen their cyber resilience. Use #ChatSTC to join!
- Future of Authentication Policy Forum, Friday, Oct. 13, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (EDT), Civiletti Conference Center – Venable LLP, 600 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.: The FIDO Alliance, NCSA and the Electronic Transactions Association are pleased to host this Future of Authentication Policy Forum to discuss the critical importance of strong, multi-factor authentication.
- Can the Internet of Insecure Things Be Saved? Thursday, Oct. 19, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (EDT) Adoption of enterprise IoT is accelerating quickly from manufacturing to transportation and utilities to healthcare as it provides a plethora of insight to strengthen machine learning and help humans do their jobs better and more efficiently. However, the innovation and proliferation of connected devices provides expanded vulnerabilities and a lucrative market for cybercriminals. What are these vulnerabilities and what big idea solutions are in the works to address these IoT threats? Hosted by RSAC and NCSA, experts will debate these issues and more during a webcast in honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
- DC CyberWeek, Monday, Oct. 16 – Friday, Oct. 20, Washington, D.C. (multiple locations): DC CyberWeek is a weeklong SXSW-style festival in our nation’s capital bringing together leaders, experts and decision makers from the government and tech communities. The festival features dozens of community events complemented by core conferences and parties created by the festival organizer, CyberScoop. DC CyberWeek is about big ideas and coming together to make an impact on the greater good of our connected world.
Learn more about upcoming NCSAM events (and submit your own events to NCSA’s events calendar) at stagestaysafe.wpengine.com.
Helpful Resources from NCSA and Partners
- DHS’ Stop.Think.Connect.Toolkit: The Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit provides cybersecurity resources such as how-to guides and tip cards to promote online safety to all segments of the community (parents, teachers, K-12, senior citizens, law enforcement, etc).
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations Cyber Crimes Center (HSI C3): HSI C3 provides technical services and training to help federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across the country and international partners in their cyber and technical investigations.
- Project iGuardian: Project iGuardian is focused on keeping children and teens safe from online predators through education and awareness. This program was developed in partnership between Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and NetSmartz. To request an iGuardian presentation from an ICE special agent at your local community or school, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- This article discusses how to secure your computer and protect yourself from hackers, scammers and identity thieves.
- Protect your computer from malware: Watch this video to learn how to avoid, detect and get rid of malware.
- Order online safety publications: The FTC has resources on helping parents, kids and businesses stay safe online. All publications and shipping are free.
- ConnectSafely’s ‘The Parent, Educator & Youth Guide to LGBTQ Cyberbullying’ helps provide understanding and guidance as to what to do when LGBTQ teens are being cyberbullied. The guide answers the following and more:
- What can a parent or guardian of an LGBTQ student do to support their child or student who is being cyberbullied?
- What can parents or educators do if they are personally or religiously opposed to homosexuality or gender nonconformity yet have an LGBTQ student or child?
- What can students and friends do to support their LGBTQ peers?
- Are there laws and precedent-setting court decisions that prevent discrimination against LGBTQ students or otherwise protect them?
- EDUCAUSE supports security awareness in higher education with the Year-Round Campus Security Awareness Campaign, a framework that assists information security professionals and IT communicators with their security awareness plans. Monthly topic features in the EDUCAUSE Review Security Matters column include ready-made web and social media content that makes it easier to keep a steady stream of security and privacy best practices prominent in campus communications.
- Home Instead
- Quiz: Can You Spot an Online Scam?: More than 3 out of every 5 American and Canadian seniors have been the target or victim of an online scam according to a 2016 Home Instead, Inc. survey. Quiz yourself to see how well you can spot an online scam.
- Password Security Tips: If you use weak passwords, or don’t use passwords at all to protect your devices, it might be time to beef up your security.
- Email Security Tips: If someone gets into your email, they get access to bank accounts, financial accounts and other personal information more easily. Learn a few quick tips to better protect your email account.
- Social Media Security Tips: Staying connected on social media sites such as Facebook can be a good thing, but it’s important to share with care.
All month long, you can follow the NCSAM conversation on social media using the hashtag #CyberAware (and tag your own posts with #CyberAware, too!). Additionally, @STOPTHNKCONNECT will host weekly Twitter chats in support of NCSAM to discuss different topics and trends in cybersecurity. Tune in Oct. 3 at 11 a.m. EDT/8 a.m. PDT for a 30-minute Twitter chat kicking off the global launch of CSAM and join weekly hourlong chats Oct. 5, 12, 19 and 26 and Nov. 1 at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT; visit the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ website for the full chat schedule. NCSA has created sample social media posts, infographics, posters, memes and more that you can download and share, and that encourages organizations and individuals to show their support for NCSAM and get the latest resources by registering as NCSAM Champions. Finally, check out the Stay Safe Online blog for NCSAM posts from NCSA and partners during the month of October.
About National Cyber Security Awareness Month
National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 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. Now in its 14th year, NCSAM was co-founded and is co-led by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, the nation’s leading nonprofit public-private partnership promoting the safe and secure use of the internet and digital privacy. Recognized annually in October, NCSAM involves the participation of a multitude of industry leaders ‒ mobilizing individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, nonprofits, academia, multinational corporations and governments. Encouraging digital citizens around the globe to STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, NCSAM is harnessing the collective impact of its programs and resources to increase awareness about today’s ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape. Visit the NCSA media room for more information and resources.
About the National Cyber Security Alliance
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness. NCSA works with a broad array of stakeholders in government, industry and civil society. NCSA’s primary partners are the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and NCSA’s Board of Directors, which includes representatives from ADP; Aetna; AT&T Services Inc.; Bank of America; Barclays; CDK Global, LLC; Cisco; Comcast Corporation; ESET North America; Google; Facebook; LifeLock, Inc.; Logical Operations; NXP Semiconductors; RSA, the Security Division of EMC; Symantec Corporation; Intel Corporation; MasterCard; Microsoft Corporation; PayPal; Raytheon; PKWARE; Salesforce; SANS Institute; TeleSign; Visa and Wells Fargo. NCSA’s core efforts include National Cyber Security Awareness Month (October); Data Privacy Day (Jan. 28) and STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, the global online safety awareness and education campaign co-founded by NCSA and the Anti Phishing Working Group, with federal government leadership from DHS. For more information on NCSA, please visit stagestaysafe.wpengine.com/about/.
About STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™
STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is the global cybersecurity education and awareness campaign. The campaign was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, nonprofits and government organizations with leadership provided by NCSA and the Anti-Phishing Working Group. DHS leads the federal engagement in the campaign. Learn how to get involved at stopthinkconnect.org.