Play Your Part in Cyber Security Campaign

Information and tips for National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Internet Scambusters #564

Everyone has an important role to play in promoting cyber security — or, more simply, online safety.

That’s the message for National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which runs throughout October.

In this week’s issue, we explain what the campaign is all about and how you can get involved.

And now for the main feature…

Play Your Part in Cyber Security Campaign

It may sound a bit of a mouthful but National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), which celebrates its 10th anniversary this October, is a critical event on the scambusting calendar — and you can play your part in making it a success.

NCSAM is an initiative from the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance — a technology industry group that runs the website.

The theme of this year’s NCSAM is “Our Shared Responsibility,” which puts emphasis on the role everyone has to play in making the Internet a safer place to work and play.

“We lead Internet-connected, digital lives. From our desks and homes to on the go, we work, learn and play online,” says the Alliance.

“Even when we are not directly connected to the Internet, our critical infrastructure — the vast, worldwide connection of computers, data, and websites supporting our everyday lives through financial transactions, transportation systems, healthcare records, emergency response systems, personal communications, and more — impacts everyone.

“Cybersecurity is the mechanism that maximizes our ability to grow commerce, communications, community and content in a connected world.

“The Internet is a shared resource and securing it is Our Shared Responsibility.”

We can help, the organization adds, by remembering and applying a three-word rule: Stop. Think. Connect. In other words: Take the time to think about the way you use the Internet, ensure you have good security arrangements in place, and then you can enjoy your online activities.

What’s Happening

The event has five, separate weekly themes:

  • Week 1 (October 1 to 6) — General online safety, reinforcing the Stop Think Connect theme.
  • Week 2 (October 7 to 13) — Mobile online safety and security, stressing the importance of safety and security wherever and whenever you’re online.
  • Week 3 (October 14 to 20) — Education, ensuring everyone understands the essentials of cyber security, including promotion of education in science, technology, education and math (STEM).
  • Week 4 (October 21 to 27) — Cybercrime in all its different aspects, from identity theft to fraud and abuse. The week will focus on how to protect ourselves and where to get help.
  • Week 5 (October 28 to 31) — Infrastructure. Rounding off the month, the campaign will highlight our reliance on the Internet for so much of our daily activity and essential services. How can we safeguard all of this?

Getting Involved

Thousands of individuals and organizations take part in NCSAM every year, posting tips about security on social networks, educating colleagues and customers, displaying posters and holding special events to highlight issues and solutions.

What can you do?

Here are three areas where we can all play a part:

Social Media: Post safety tips on social media networks, accompanied by the hashtag symbol (#) and NCSAM. This makes it easier for others to find. (You don’t need to understand why — just add #NCSAM at the end of your tips.)

The same page will also enable you to download an icon you can use to replace your Facebook cover image.

If you blog, you’re also encouraged to write about staying safe online.

At Home: Tell friends and family about NCSAM (forward a copy of this Scambusters issue if you received it by email).

Visit and print out their tip sheet.

Place it around the house, wherever family members go online.

Maybe even hold a family discussion on the topic of cyber security and what each of you can do to be safer online.

At Work or School: Get the NCSAM poster and display it wherever you can. (Don’t forget to ask permission if you need to!)

Or how about enrolling as a National Cyber Security Awareness Month champion, where you agree to play a more formal role in promoting the campaign?

Many state government and educational organizations will also be organizing their own events, with their own posters and awareness material, so look out for more details online, at libraries, community centers and schools.

Above all, please play your part.

“If you are concerned about making the Internet safer and more secure for everyone, we invite you to become an active participant in National Cyber Security Awareness Month” says the Security Alliance.

“Everyone can do something — even if you have less than one hour to devote to this effort!”

Time to close today, but we’ll be back next week with another issue. See you then!