It's National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2016, So STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

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This October marks the 13th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), a collaborative online safety awareness and education effort led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). NCSAM emphasizes our shared responsibility to take basic steps to make the Internet safer, more secure, and more trusted.

Happy #CyberAware Month

As technology advances and we connect to more people and things online, cyber attacks become more prevalent and sophisticated. Educational institutions store many kinds of valuable student and employee information, which can be valuable to cybercriminals. It is important for everyone on campus at a college or university to take steps to protect themselves online – and make the Internet more secure for everyone.

NCSAM is designed to help everyone understand the role they can play in promoting online safety, and it all starts with STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, the global online safety education and awareness campaign. NCSAM 2016 will highlight STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and provide tips, infographics, videos, social media content, and other resources that you can use and share at home, at work, and in the community.

EDUCAUSE has been a strong partner of NCSA for years and is extremely engaged in NCSAM. EDUCAUSE's efforts in educating institutions about cybersecurity and privacy help get the message out to several key populations — students, faculty, and staff. Online safety is a collaborative effort, and EDUCAUSE has played an integral role in promoting a safer Internet throughout the higher education community.

Each week in October will focus on a different cybersecurity issue or trend. We encourage you to participate in NCSAM and build your efforts around any or all of the themes that are most relevant to you and your campus.



2016 Themes

October 3–7

STOP. THINK. CONNECT. ™: The Basic Steps to Online Safety and Security

Staying safer and more secure online starts with STOP. THINK. CONNECT. ™ — it's simple, actionable advice anyone can follow. STOP: make sure security measures are in place. THINK: about the consequences of your actions and behaviors online. CONNECT: and enjoy the Internet.

October 10–14

From the Break Room to the Boardroom: Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity in the Workplace

Week two will focus on creating a culture of cybersecurity in the workplace through efforts like employee education, training, and awareness with an emphasis on risk management, resistance, and resilience.

October 17–21

Recognizing and Combating Cybercrime

Spotlighting awareness of the different types of cybercrime, week three will offer steps people can take to better protect themselves and address how law enforcement and others can collaborate to combat this critical issue.

October 24–28

Our Continuously Connected Live: What's Your "Apptitude"?

The Internet is evolving from a network to which individuals connect into a network that connects everything to the individual. As our digital world expands, creating these cutting-edge technologies in a safe and secure way is essential. Week four will examine our future in this interconnected world and provide strategies for security, safety, and privacy.

October 31

Building Resistance in Critical Systems

The Internet underlies nearly every aspect of our everyday lives and helps form our critical infrastructure, which keeps crucial systems like electricity, transportation, and communications up and running. October 31 will emphasize the importance of critical infrastructure and highlight the roles the public can play in keeping it secure.

Join the Greater Effort This October

  1. Get involved on social media: Use #CyberAware in your posts, follow NCSA on Facebook (/StaySafeOnline) and Twitter (@StaySafeOnline) and download memes and other social media content to share before and during the month.
  2. Become a NCSAM champion: EDUCAUSE and over 100 colleges and universities have already shown their support by signing up as NCSAM champions. Becoming a champion is easy; register your institution today!
  3. Join the #ChatSTC Twitter chats: Every Thursday in October at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT, @STOPTHNKCONNECT will host a discussion on Twitter. Join the conversation and learn about new tips and resources!

We hope your college or university will join us in making NCSAM 2016 the best one yet and help everyone to STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ this October and year-round.

Michael Kaiser is executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. He engages diverse constituencies 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 campaigns, National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Data Privacy Day and STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Follow @MKaiserNCSA on Twitter.

© 2016 Michael Kaiser. This EDUCAUSE Review blog is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 International license.