Homeland Security launches cyber security awareness campaign

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the “Stop. Think. Connect.” public cybersecurity awareness campaign Oct. 4 to promote simple steps the public can take to increase their safety and security online.

“We all share a responsibility to prevent cyber attacks and increase our nation’s resilience to cyber threats,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. The “Stop. Think. Connect.” campaign will help equip the public with simple information to keep themselves and their families safe and secure on the Internet.”

“Stop. Think. Connect.” is a national public education campaign designed to increase public understanding of cyber threats and how individual citizens can develop safer cyber habits that will help make networks more secure.

The campaign fulfills a key element of President Obama’s 2009 Cyberspace Policy Review, which tasked DHS with developing a public awareness campaign to inform Americans about ways to use technology safely.

“Stop. Think. Connect.” includes cyber forums in collaboration with the National Centers of Academic Excellence to join diverse groups of community, private and government participants for dialogues on cybersecurity issues. The campaign also includes opportunities for 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.

As part of the campaign, the department also launched a new “Stop. Think. Connect.” website, www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect that provides free, downloadable resources and materials to help the public increase online safety and security.

The “Stop. Think. Connect.” campaign was introduced in Seattle by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator and special advisor to the president Howard Schmidt. It came during remarks highlighting the beginning of the seventh annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the department’s continued commitment to making cybersecurity a shared responsibility.

They were joined by National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Executive Director Michael Kaiser.

“During October, we all have a shared obligation to reaffirm our own commitment to increasing cybersecurity whenever and wherever possible,” Schmidt said. “National Cybersecurity Awareness Month provides a platform for those of us in government, at the federal, state and local, levels, as well as our partners in the private sector, non-profit organizations, academia and internationally to help further educate all Americans and the global internet community about the importance of cybersecurity It is our shared responsibility to create a safe, secure and resilient cyber environment.”

The creation of “Stop. Think. Connect.” was the result of an intensive collaborative effort over the past year from the Online Consumer Security and Safety Messaging Convention, an effort organized by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), key industry leaders, government agencies, and nonprofit organizatons.

To learn more about the “Stop. Think. Connect.” campaign and download free online safety tips and resources, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect. For information about DHS’s other efforts to protect and safeguard America’s computer systems and networks from attacks, visit www.dhs.gov/cyber . Also see news release on the campaign.

Published 10-15-2010