Washington, D.C. – Oct. 1 marks the start of the 13th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). As the two-week countdown to NCSAM begins, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the co-leaders of NCSAM, along with companies around the globe, are working to improve digital citizens’ awareness of the basic steps needed to stay safer and more secure online.
Underpinning the month-long initiative to educate consumers and businesses nationwide and around the world is STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, the global online safety education and awareness campaign. Cofounded by NCSA and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) and supported by DHS’ federal engagement, STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is based on simple, actionable advice that anyone can follow by taking security precautions, thinking about the consequences of their actions online and enjoying the benefits of the internet.
NCSAM Champions – organizations of all sizes and industries and individuals who have signed on in support of a safer internet – are helping to amplify the core messages of NCSAM and STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ The NCSAM Champions program is a free and easy way to get involved with the month, and all Champions receive materials they can use to spread the word about online safety and security leading up to and throughout NCSAM. More than 350 organizations and close to 200 individuals have already registered in support of the campaign; learn more and sign up at https://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/champions/.
“NCSAM is the perfect opportunity for internet users of all ages and organizations everywhere to commit to taking steps to protect themselves, their customers and their online information,” said NCSA Executive Director Michael Kaiser. “As data breaches and other forms of cybercrime become more prevalent and sophisticated, it’s important for everyone to understand the role they can play in promoting a safer, more secure and more trusted internet. NCSA, DHS and our partners around the world are excited to make this NCSAM the most impactful and far-reaching one yet.”
NCSA encourages anyone who uses the internet to be more #CyberAware and follow these STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ tips in October – and year-round:
- Own your online presence: Set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
- Get two steps ahead: Turn on two-step authentication – also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication – on accounts where available. Two-factor authentication can use anything from a text message to your phone to a token to a biometric like your fingerprint to provide enhanced account security.
- Keep a clean machine: Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including PCs, smartphones and tablets – up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware.
- Personal information is like money. Value it. Protect it.: Information about you, such as purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected by apps and websites.
- Share with care: Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it and how it could be perceived now and in the future.
Check out this infographic for NCSA’s top online safety tips, which can be downloaded and shared at home, at work and in the community. Be sure to use the hashtag #CyberAware!
Noteworthy events and initiatives – both national and international – leading up to and during October include:
- Congressional Staff Pre-NCSAM Event, Monday, Sept. 26, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 12:00-1:30 p.m. (EDT): NCSA and the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus will host an event for Capitol Hill staff on how to get involved with NCSAM. http://ncsamhill2016.eventbrite.com/
- European Cyber Security Month Launch, Friday, Sept. 30, European Banking Federation, Brussels, Belgium: The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the European Banking Federation and Europol will cohost the official launch of European Cyber Security Month.
- NCSAM U.S. Launch Events, Tuesday, Oct. 4 – Thursday, Oct. 6, Bellevue and Spokane, WA: DHS leadership and NCSA will officially kick off NCSAM on Oct. 4 at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue, WA, and follow the launch with a series of events in Bellevue and Spokane on Oct. 5 and 6 focusing on education, workforce development and small and medium-sized business initiatives. To learn more about and register for the Bellevue events, visit https://ncsamkickoffbellevue2016.eventbrite.com/. Spokane event details and registration can be found at https://ncsamkickoffspokane2016.eventbrite.com/.
- ICMCP West Coast Summit on Minority Underrepresentation in Cybersecurity, Symantec Headquarters, Mountain View, CA, Thursday, Oct. 6, 12:00-6:00 p.m. (PDT): Cybersecurity thought leaders will hold a series of expert panels and audience-driven discussions and examine ways to further the inclusion of underrepresented minorities in the field. http://icmcp.org/icmcpwest2016.
- National K-12 Cybersecurity Education Conference, Thursday, Oct. 6 – Friday, Oct. 7, Crystal City Marriott, Arlington, VA:The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education will host a conference that brings together educators, curriculum specialists, professionals, researchers, students, nonprofit organizations, government and industry to address the challenges and opportunities of cybersecurity education in elementary and secondary schools. http://csrc.nist.gov/nice/k-12conference/
- Two Steps Ahead: Learn to be safe at work and at home, Wednesday, Oct. 12, Wichita’s WSU Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 5015 East 29th Street N, Wichita, KS, 8:30-10:30 a.m. (CDT): The Council of Better Business Bureaus and its partners will offer a two-step authentication presentation followed by an expert panel on how to keep your business and personal information secure. http://twostepsaheadkansas.eventbrite.com/
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Fall Technology Series: Drones, Constitution Center, Thursday, Oct. 13, 400 7th Street SW, Washington, D.C., 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (EDT): While drones may generate significant economic benefits, the potential for information collection raises the prospect of consumer harm, including invasion of privacy, trespassing and harassment. This FTC seminar will explore several questions related to commercial uses of drones. https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/2016/10/fall-technology-series-drones
- Digital Citizenship Summit, Friday, Oct. 28, Twitter HQ, 1355 Market Street, San Francisco, CA (and livestream), 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PDT): The Digital Citizenship Summit is a major global event for digital citizenship, featuring well-known and diverse emerging voices discussing the safe, savvy and ethical use of technology. Kicking off U.S. Media Literacy Week, this year’s summit will focus on citizenship, literacy and advocacy. http://www.digcitsummit.com/
Learn more about upcoming NCSAM events (and submit your own events to the calendar) at https://staysafeonline.org/about-us/events/.
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 throughout October to discuss different topics and trends in cybersecurity. Tune in each Thursday at 3 p.m. EDT to join the conversation, and visit the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ website for the full chat schedule. NCSA has created sample social media posts, infographics, posters, memes and morethat you can download and share and encourages organizations and individuals to show their support for NCSAM and get the latest resources as they are available 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 13th year, NCSAM is co-led by the U.S. 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 NCSAM media room: https://staysafeonline.org/about-us/news/media-room/.
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 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and NCSA’s Board of Directors, which include representatives from ADP; AT&T Services, Inc.; Bank of America; Barclays; BlackBerry Corporation; Cisco; Comcast Corporation; ESET North America; Facebook; Google; Intel Corporation; Logical Operations; Microsoft Corp.; NXP Semiconductors; PayPal; PKWARE; Raytheon; RSA, the Security Division of EMC; Salesforce; SANS Institute; Symantec and Visa Inc. NCSA’s core efforts include National Cyber Security Awareness Month (October), Data Privacy Day (January 28) and STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, the global online safety awareness and education campaign cofounded by NCSA and the Anti-Phishing Working Group, with federal government leadership from DHS. For more information on NCSA, please visit staysafeonline.org/about-us/overview/.
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 the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). The U.S. Department of Homeland Security leads the federal engagement in the campaign. Learn how to get involved at stopthinkconnect.org.