Column: October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month
Last year at this time, I was organizing the national kick-off event for NCSAM. Washtenaw County was proud to host the Governor’s Cyber Security Event with Secretary Janet Napolitano as our featured speaker. More than 630 people came to the event and attended educational sessions. Facebook live-streamed the event, and more than 10,000 people have watched. People are paying attention to this topic.
If we all take just a little time to get involved this October, we can make a difference in the lives of our family, friends and co-workers. Won’t you make a commitment to spread the word about online safety? Here’s how to get involved.
Each week of October will have a theme with messaging and events to coincide. Everyone can do something to help share in the activities. The prep work has already been done.
Week One Theme: Stop.Think.Connect.tm
Social media is now a part of our lives in a way that still surprises me. Facebook has only been in existence for eight years, but already 955 million people are active users; LinkedIn has 100 million users and Twitter is at 140 million. Understanding the reach of social media, NCSA created Twitter feeds and Facebook posts for each day in October, and they are sharing those with all of us! The work has been done to create the content, now all you need to do is post.
Find the resource here: http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/get-involved/social-media
Here is an example of a Twitter feed:
Day 2: National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a time to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Learn more: http://bit.ly/MXMNmA #ncsam
Week Two Theme: Law Enforcement and Cyber Security
In my community, our local law enforcement officers spend much of their time on community education and awareness on many topics. Law enforcement officials have a special leadership role in arming the public with the knowledge they need to prevent becoming a victim of cyber crime.
This handy guide was written by NCSA to outline activities local law enforcement can do right now: http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/get-involved/local-law-enforcement The Week Three theme is Industry Efforts in Cyber Security, and Week Four theme is Digital Literacy Efforts. I will write about those next time.
Today’s Quick Tips:
(Some come directly from the Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Security Awareness Month Website) http://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month
Americans can follow simple steps to keep themselves, their personal assets, and private information safe online. Here are a few tips all Internet users can do to practice cybersecurity during NCSAM and throughout the year:
• Set strong passwords and don’t share them with anyone.
• Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates.
• Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about Internet safety.
• Limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
• Be cautious about what you receive or read online; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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. Join CIS Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. for a free, one-hour webinar on how to stay safe from online scams, hackers, viruses and more! Details and registration: www.cisecurity.org. 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.
Kristin Judge is the executive director of the Trusted Purchasing Alliance, a division of the Center for Internet Security. She can be reached at email@example.com.