Tuesday, October 5, 2010

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Stop. Think. Connect.

Technology connects billions of people daily. The Internet sees billions of exchanges and tracks trillions of dollars in bank transactions worldwide. And computers regulate everything from traffic lights and sprinkler systems to subway operations and plane landings.

But such systems are susceptible to computer malware, viruses and worms. Attacks on computer systems can freeze the networks, compromise confidentiality and endanger lives.

"We stand at a transformational moment in history, when our technologically interconnected world presents both immense promise and potential risks," said President Barack Obama as he announced the beginning of the 7th Annual celebration of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched their cybersecurity awareness campaign, a national, educational initiative to enhance public understanding of cyber threats. The campaign carries the title "Stop. Think. Connect.," hoping to better equip the public from these threats with cyber habits and tips on increasing security on the Internet.

The "Stop. Think. Connect." campaign is the first-ever coordinated message to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online.

DHS is the lead federal agency in defending critical cybernetworks. DHS works to lead a coalition of federal, state and local agencies and private industry to counter attacks. But this campaign is a coordinated effort among government agencies AND industry peers, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook. During this month, these companies, and more, will be putting extra emphasis on online safety to help Americans establish smart cyber habits that will lead to increased protection online.

"Stop. Think. Connect." includes cyber forums hosted in collaboration with the National Centers of Academic Excellence to bring together diverse groups of community, private and government participants for dialogues on cybersecurity issues; opportunities for members of the public to get involved and help spread the word by leading or hosting campaign activities; and a coalition for public and private sector organizations.

Last year, President Obama addressed the importance of cyber awareness and called for the creation of a public awareness program that specifically focused on cybersecurity. The growing number of attacks on America’s cyber networks has become, in President Obama's words, "one of the most serious economic and national security threats our nation faces." Hopefully, through the "Stop. Think. Connect." campaign and the month-long initiative to educate the public on cyber threats, citizens will gain a greater sense of cybersecurity.

AFA understands the importance of cybersecurity and holds it in its mission to promote education on the matter. Through the implementation of CyberPatriot, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing high school cyber defense challenge, AFA is investing in securing the nation’s cyber infrastructure. CyberPatriot calls attention to one of the nation’s most critical needs by exciting, educating and motivating the talent who will become the country’s next generation of cyber leaders.

To learn more about the "Stop. Think. Connect." Campaign, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s site, where you can find tips to stay active in enhancing cybersecurity 365 days a year.

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