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National Cyber Security Awareness Month

October 2011 National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Today, we are more interconnected than ever before. Not only do we use the Internet to stay connected, informed, and involved, but we rely on it for all of our day-to-day needs. The nation’s critical infrastructure relies heavily on the Internet for  everything from submitting taxes, to applying for student loans, to following traffic signals, to even powering our homes. Can you imagine our lives without the Internet?

Yet, for all of its advantages, increased connectivity brings increased risk of crime – thus making cybersecurity one of our country’s most important national security priorities. Recognizing the importance of cybersecurity, President Obama designated October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). NCSAM is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. October 2012 marks the ninth annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC).

Our Shared Responsibility

NCSAM reminds us that being safer and more secure online is a shared responsibility. Emerging cyber threats require engagement from the entire American community—from government and law enforcement to the private sector and most importantly, members of the public – to create a safer cyber environment. Throughout NCSAM and beyond, DHS encourages Americans to ACT – Achieve Cybersecurity Together – reflecting the interconnectedness of the modern world and the responsibility each of us in securing cyberspace

Through a series of events and initiatives across the country, NCSAM engages public and private sector partners to raise awareness and educate Americans about cybersecurity, and increase the resiliency of the Nation and its cyber infrastructure.

NCSAM 2012 will focus on a different critical cybersecurity issue each week in October.

Stop Think Connect logo

Week One: 

Emphasizes general cybersecurity awareness and the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign

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Week Two: 
Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity

Focuses on national and local efforts to prevent identity theft and other cyber crimes
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Week Three: 
Industry Efforts in Cybersecurity

Highlights strategies and tools businesses of all sizes – including small business – can use to bolster their own cybersecurity defenses

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Week Four: 
K-Life: Digital Literacy Efforts

Showcases the urgent need to develop cyber education programs to train the next generation cyber workforce

Do Your Part

While each week of NCSAM highlights a different element of cybersecurity, the overarching theme is the same. Together, we can maintain a cyberspace that is safer and more resilient, and that remains a source of tremendous opportunity and growth for years and years to come. To get involved in NCSAM 2012:

  • Find or register a local National Cyber Security Awareness Month event on the official calendar.
  • Get information on how your government, law enforcement, business, school, or organization can take action during NCSAM.
  • Teach elementary, middle, and high school students about Internet safety and security.
  • Post cybersecurity tips, news, and resources highlighting NCSAM on social media sites.

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.
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