October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2013

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Ten Years, Five Weeks, One Theme: Cybersecurity is Our Shared Responsibility

First launched in 2004 as a broad effort by government and industry to help all Americans stay safe and secure online, National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) commemorates its 10th anniversary this October.

NCSAM has grown significantly under leadership from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), reaching consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses, corporations, educational institutions, and young people across the nation. Today, NCSA and DHS also co-lead STOP. THINK. CONNECT., the national cybersecurity education and awareness campaign.

The collaboration between NCSA, comprised of 17 industry leaders, and DHS exemplifies the type of public-private partnerships that we believe are so critical to cybersecurity. The Internet is a shared resource and securing it is our shared responsibility. That’s why Our Shared Responsibility has been the overarching NCSAM theme since 2009. No individual, business, or government entity is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use.

EDUCAUSE, I should note, has exemplified “shared responsibility” in action. From its year-round coordination with member colleges and universities to ensure all have the resources to give NCSAM a presence on their campuses, to student-centered initiatives like The Information Security Awareness Video & Poster Contest, EDUCAUSE demonstrates how one organization can engage many constituencies to create a culture of online safety. I applaud EDUCAUSE for its longtime support of NCSAM and efforts to raise cybersecurity awareness.

As we reflect on the progress that has been made to educate the American public about online safety and security practices this October, we also remain vigilant. As “The Internet of Things” grows – the idea all facets of our lives are going online, from cars to coffee shops – practicing safe online habits and sharing online safety resources has never been more paramount.

This look back, and look ahead at the challenges to come, is a key element in the first of our five weekly themes for NCSAM 2013. These weekly themes help us better address the most immediate cybersecurity issues and allow many NCSAM supporters to raise cybersecurity awareness in the ways most meaningful to them.

2013 NCSAM Weekly Themes
Week 1 (Oct. 1-6): Ten Years & Beyond: General Online Safety & STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

As we celebrate NCSAM’s 10th anniversary, Week 1 also aims to raise online safety awareness among all Americans and reinforce the simple measures everyone should take to be safer and more secure online.

Week 2 (Oct. 7-13): Being Mobile: Online Safety & Security

We take the convenience and productivity of the Internet everywhere we go these days. Week 2 highlights the need to maintain a focus on safety and security wherever we use the Internet.

Week 3 (Oct. 14-20): Education

Building a workforce of capable, ethical, and innovative cybersecurity professionals is essential to creating a more cyber-secure nation. Week 3 highlights the importance of developing a prepared cyber workforce, including advancement and opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.

Week 4 (Oct. 21-27): Cybercrime

Increased connectivity brings increased risk of theft, fraud, and abuse. Week 4 will highlight how people can protect themselves from cybercriminals and find resources if they become a victim.

Week 5 (Oct. 28-31): Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure

The Internet underlies our financial transactions, transportation systems, electrical grid, emergency response systems and many other essential services. Week 5 highlights the need to take every step necessary to protect our critical infrastructure.

STOP. THINK. CONNECT., will host a Twitter chat on each week’s theme every Thursday in October at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT. We invite you to join the conversation by using the hashtag #ChatSTC.

We also encourage everyone to promote NCSAM on social networks throughout October. You can find daily social media messages to share, as well as profile icons and background images, at www.StaySafeOnline.org/NCSAM. Help us get the word out by using the hashtag #NCSAM on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter all month long.

We hope you become an active participant in National Cyber Security Awareness Month. If each of us does our part – implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating young people, training employees – together we will become a safer and more resilient online society.