October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

A public-private partnership whose goal is to educate a digital citizenry to be secure and safe online, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), reminds us that this week is the beginning of the 7th Annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month. National Cyber Security Awareness Month is brought about by a team effort from the NCSA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MSISAC) and many, many educational institutions, companies, non-profit organizations and individuals who have a common mission, which is to improve online security and safety awareness and the education of U.S. businesses and citizens.

Whether you represent simply an individual person, or a business or government entity, this nation’s dependency on the Internet continues to expand. The NCSA focuses on aiding Americans, students and businesses come to grips with how to protect themselves, customers, communities and their families with standard secure and safe online practices.

Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA, says, "Our nation's online health is critical to our economic prosperity and national security. The highest levels of government and industry have recognized the role that cybersecurity and cyber safety play in our nation's ability to stay competitive and innovative. National Cyber Security Awareness Month provides a cyber education foundation that all Americans can use throughout the year."

NCSA encourages everyone in the US to use a handful of easy online safety practices:

  • Use all-encompassing security suites that have anti-virus, anti-Spyware, firewall and anti-Spam software. Of most importance, is to set up your security software so that it updates automatically.
  • Make a back up of your data and files regularly to avoid losses if there were a security failure.
  • Use only secure wireless connectivity that need passwords or other methods of security.

William Pelgrin, MS-ISAC president and chair and CEO of the Center for Internet Secuirty, says, "In this digital age, we are all connected, and each of us plays an important role in securing cyber space. We are pleased to once again join our partners in co-sponsoring National Cyber Security Awareness Month to help raise awareness across government, businesses, educators and citizens about cyber safety. Working together, we can improve our nation's cyber security preparedness."

Everyone –students, teachers, consumers, employers, and families- wanting to know more about online safety can access the National Cyber Security Awareness Month Website. The portal has a great quantity of resources and information for online safety and, including events, ideas for how to be involved, tip sheets and other resources to help individuals and organizations be a part of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

It offers materials you can print for consumers, law enforcement, government agencies, businesses and schools and electronic materials for organizations to include on their websites. All materials from NCSA are free and so are the event listings or endorsements. Among the resources you would find at the site are:

• Tip Sheets: With general safety tips for kids and parents, for social networking, mobile devices or playing games online.

  • Posters That Are Customizable: A poster for National Cyber Security Awareness Month you can customize with an association or company logo or some verbiage to promote activities in your area.
  • Forms to Endorse the Campaign: Government agencies, companies and organizations are encouraged to help by endorsing National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This can be done easily through an endorsement form online. People and/or organizations that endorse can be featured with their logo and URL on NCSA’s website.
  • Calendar of Events: A calendar of events for October, whose focus is on cybersecurity awareness and education, is kept by NCSA. Organizations can be included on the calendar by submitting events through a form NCSA provides online.

Shannon Kellogg, senior director of public policy at EMC and chairman of the NCSA Board of Directors says, "We have offered a wide variety of opportunities to learn more about cybersecurity and cybersafety. All of us need to make a personal investment to continually learn how to keep ourselves and our nation's online defenses safe and secure."

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