October 5, 2015

October is “Cybersecurity Awareness Month”


President Obama has once again designated October as “Cybersecurity Awareness Month,” which, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s website, is “designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident.”

Launched in the same spirit as the If You See Something, Say Something campaign, which encourages the public to report “suspicious activity,” the month-long cyber awareness campaign dates back to 2004. Last year, President Obama issued a proclamation that “call(ed) upon the people of the United States to recognize the importance of cybersecurity and to observe this month with activities, events, and training that will enhance our national security and resilience.”

The campaign is an extension of Stop.Think.Connect., a global cybersecurity campaign launched in 2010 “to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online.” Stop.Think.Connect was organized by a coalition of private companies, non-profits, and government organizations led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).

Exactly what the month-long cyber awareness campaign means for the average American is somewhat difficult to discern, but the organizers have designated themes for each week of the month. The first week, for example, is focused on General Cybersecurity Awareness, with an emphasis on promoting cybersecurity as a shared responsibility and providing tips “to empower all Americans to be safer online.” The second week will focus on “Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity at Work,” by shining a light on “common threats businesses and employees are exposed to and provid[ing] resources for business and employees to stay safer online and enhance their existing security plans.” The third week’s theme,“Connected Communities: Staying Protected While Always Connected,” will highlight best practices for mobile devices and social media. The fourth week, “Your Evolving Digital Life,” will reinforce the value of educating citizens on cybersecurity in an increasingly connected world. And the final week will emphasize “Building the Next Generation of Cyber Professionals,” and will “look to the future of the cybersecurity workforce, focusing on cybersecurity education and awareness in schools at all levels, and emphasizing the need for properly trained cybersecurity professionals.”

Activities related to the different themes include weekly Twitter chats and a series of keynote presentations in Washington D.C. To learn more, see http://www.stopthinkconnect.org/ and http://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month.

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