Column: October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month - last two weeks focus on business and school security
This October is the ninth annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The Department of Homeland Security, National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) work in partnership with public and private sector partners during October to send the message of Internet safety and responsibility to residents and businesses across the country.
Each week of October will have a theme with messaging and events to coincide. Everyone can do something to help share in the activities. Last week we learned about the STOP.THINK.CONNECT. Campaign and Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity.
The theme for Week Three is Online Safety for Business/Industry and Week Four is K-Life and Digital Literacy.
Our businesses are under attack. It is clear by the headlines every day how many companies are suffering online attacks on their networks and theft of their intellectual property. Fortunately, many large corporations are engaged in the solutions too. I have the privilege of working with some of the National Cyber Security Alliance board members companies. Just think how many people will be reached with the Keep a Clean Machine message when AT&T includes educational materials (English and Spanish) in customer billing information this October.
Microsoft created award-winning videos aimed at teaching kids online safety, and those videos were promoted on AT&T and Verizon websites. McAfee has reached more than 25,000 school-age kids with their Online Safety for Kids program. These are just a few examples of the cooperation between business and communities to help ensure everyone is learning about safe online behavior.
It is encouraging to me when I see the cooperation between the public and private sector. Protecting our country’s cyber infrastructure truly is our shared responsibility.
Staysafeonline.org has tips for businesses to take action. There are tips for things that can be done in one hour, one day, one week or longer. Here are some examples:
What Businesses Can Do
in less than One Hour:
Send an email to all business personnel announcing that October 2012 National Cyber Security Awareness Month with a link to the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. tip sheet. (Download at http://staysafeonline.org/stop-think-connect/tips-and-advice.)
Ask all employees to sign the Center for Internet Security (CIS) Cyber Pledge to learn about online safety—both at home and at work—and pledge your commitment to using these best practice tips. Cyber Pledge available at: www.cisecurity.org.
in less than One Day:
Use the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) cyber planner to help you chart a path to a more cyber secure business. (Find the tool at: http://www.fcc.gov/cyberplanner.)
Since Week Four is all about education, I wanted to share something K-12 teachers can do this month. All the materials are created and ready to go. As a former sixth grade teacher, I know how hard our educators work and want them to know they are not alone in combating this issue.
The C-SAVE curriculum was created after a study done by NCSA found that educators felt ill equipped to deal with cyber security issues in the classroom. I worked in education when HIV education was becoming a standard in public schools across America. It is my hope that cyber security education, which is also a matter of public health, will soon become a standard.
The C-SAVE curriculum is created for specific age groups from K-12 and includes lesson plans, activities and review questions to make sure kids understand the concepts being taught. To see the C-SAVE resources visit staysafeonline.org and search C-SAVE.
Today’s Quick Tips: (Keep a Clean Machine tips come from the Stop.Think.Connect.org website.)
Keep a clean machine
Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: In addition to computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
Plug & scan: “USBs” and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them. Visit CIS at www.cisecurity.org and check out many free resources, including daily tips and monthly newsletters, posters, bookmarks and calendars to help keep you and your family safe in cyber space.
Cyber security is our shared responsibility, and I hope you have been inspired to share in October National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2012.