October Reminds Us Cyber Security is Our Shared Responsibility

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When the White House proclaimed October 2004 to be National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), Americans connected to the Internet very differently than they do today. Facebook was only a few months old, and no one had heard of the iPhone or Twitter. They didn't exist yet.  Thumbnail image for NCSAM-Champion.jpg

Smartphones and social networks have dramatically changed how Americans go online. According to separate 2013 studies by Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 56 percent of all American adults have a smartphone, and 72 percent of online adults use social networking sites - even 43 percent of those ages 65 and older! Americans young and old are communicating more frequently, with more people, and sharing more personal information online than ever before.

An online society offers greater convenience, but it also poses serious risks - to our devices in the form of viruses and malware, and to our own mental and physical wellbeing as crimes like identity theft and stalking proliferate online. That's why practicing safe online habits and sharing sound cybersecurity advice has never been more important as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. 

This October, National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2013 has five weekly themes: General Online Safety & STOP. THINK. CONNECT. (Oct. 1-6), Being Mobile: Online Safety & Security (Oct. 7-13), Education & Workforce Development (Oct. 14-20), Cybercrime (Oct. 21-27) and Critical Infrastructure (Oct. 28-31).

These weekly themes give us a chance to reflect on how the Internet has changed the ways we live, work and play, and also discover new resources to help us stay safe and secure online.

Protecting our online society is a shared responsibility. No individual, business, or government agency is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. Individual actions have a collective impact, and when we use the Internet safely, we make it more secure for everyone.

If each of us does our part--implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating young people, training employees--together we will create a safer and more resilient online society.

You can learn more about how to participate in National Cyber Security Awareness Month at StaySafeOnline.org/NCSAM. Get the latest Stop. Think. Connect. online safety resources at StopThinkConnect.org and on Twitter at @STOPTHNKCONNECT.

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