Our Shared Responsibility

October is the time to raise cybersecurity awareness

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By Michael Kaiser

This October marks the 12th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a collaborative effort among government organizations, businesses of all sizes, educational institutions, nonprofits and consumers to ensure everyone has the resources they need to be safe online.

Under the leadership of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), NCSAM carries the theme "Our Shared Responsibility." The idea is to promote a safer, more secure and more trusted Internet.

The Identity Theft Resource Center reports that more than 670 million online records of Americans were exposed between 2005 and 2014. This onslaught of attacks — and the massive flow of stolen data to cybercriminals — has many people wondering how to protect their personal information and finances.

One of the main purposes of NCSAM is sharing real-world Internet safety tips to help everyone use the Internet safely and more securely. This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the global "STOP. THINK. CONNECT." online safety awareness and education campaign co-led by NCSA, DHS and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). NCSAM 2015 will highlight the overall message of STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and the message and main concepts of the campaign: "Keep a Clean Machine," "Protect Your Personal Information," "Connect with Care," "Be Web Wise" and "Be a Good Online Citizen."

Raytheon — a NCSA board member company and "STOP. THINK. CONNECT." campaign partner— has long been a valuable collaborator. The company's work to build cybersecurity awareness and help develop a solid next-generation cyber workforce is admirable, and we're thrilled to continue partnering with them this year.

2015 Themes
Each week in October, NCSA will focus on a different cybersecurity issue or theme. We encourage individuals, communities and organizations to engage with the themes that are most relevant to them and join the global effort to spread cybersecurity and online safety awareness throughout the month.

October 1-2
Five Years of STOP. THINK. CONNECT.: Best Practices for All Digital Citizens
NCSAM will launch with a focus on making STOP. THINK. CONNECT. a guiding principle to help us have safer, more secure digital lives.

October 5-9
Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity at Work
All businesses face cybersecurity challenges. This week will encourage businesses to proactively establish cultures of cybersecurity through employee education, risk management, planning and tools.

October 12-16
Connected Communities and Families: Staying Protected While We Are Always Connected
Cybersecurity means staying protected in all of the ways we connect. This week will share ways you can protect yourself and your family and what to do if you are a victim of a breach or cybercrime.

October 19-23
Your Evolving Digital Life
We are transitioning from an Internet of individuals connecting to technology to an Internet in which everything is connected. Securing this emerging Internet of countless devices is a challenge. This week will highlight how we can protect our evolving digital lives.

October 26-30
Building the Next Generation of Cyber Professionals
One of the greatest risks to cybersecurity is a shortage of professionals to protect the networks we are creating. This week will provide information about cybersecurity careers and showcase the need for ongoing Internet safety and security education to promote cyber literacy for digital citizens.

@STOPTHNKCONNECT will host a Twitter chat every Thursday in October at 3 p.m. EDT/12 p.m. PDT. Each chat will align with the week's theme, and we invite you to join the conversation by using the hashtag #ChatSTC.

We encourage you to support NCSAM on social media throughout the month by using the hashtag #CyberAware in your posts. Share advice with your friends and followers on how stay safe online. Learn how to get involved and find sample social media content you can download and share leading up to and throughout the month, including profile images, memes, infographics and more at staysafeonline.org/ncsam.

Raytheon, along with more than 430 other organizations, has already shown their support for the month by becoming NCSAM Champions. Join the list today at staysafeonline.org/ncsam/champions.

We hope you will join us in supporting NCSAM 2015 and help spread the word about how everyone can stay safer and more secure online.

Michael Kaiser is the executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). As NCSA's chief executive, Mr. Kaiser engages businesses, government and other non-profit organizations in NCSA's broad public education and outreach efforts to strengthen the nation's cyber infrastructure, including leadership of NCSA's premier outreach and awareness campaign, National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Published On: 09/29/2015
Last Updated: 12/12/2017