In its fiscal year 2013, Symantec contributed more than $24 million in cash and software to nonprofits working within its four philanthropic focus areas: science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education; online safety; diversity; and environmental responsibility. Over the last few weeks, we've heard from several of our partners, including TechSoup Global, the Rainforest Alliance, Acterra, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Today we conclude this series, and mark the beginning of our series celebrating National Cyber Security Awareness Month, with a post by Michael Kaiser, Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance.
Today marks the beginning of the 10th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). NCSAM began in October 2004 as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the information they need to stay safer and more secure online. Today, as we are connected almost everywhere we go, that mission is more important than ever.
The overarching theme of NCSAM, as it has been since 2009, is that protecting the Internet is “Our Shared Responsibility.” No individual, business, or government entity is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use.
Individuals, organizations, and communities throughout the United States are promoting NCSAM and letting others know that all of us have a role in protecting the Internet. Thousands of NCSAM participants across the country will be doing their part by posting safety tips on social networks, displaying posters, educating their customers and employees, holding events, and much more.
At the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), we are thankful to Symantec for their commitment to cyber education and awareness. Symantec helped found NCSA 12 years ago, and since that time has joined forces with its customers, employees, government agencies, communities, and families to protect individuals and their information through outreach, education, research, and online tools. It was one of a small group of companies that saw the importance of making sure everyone knows the basics of online safety. They have maintained that commitment to NCSA over the years and supported many other organizations, as well, such as Common Sense Media, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), Cyber Safe Kids, and more. In October, like it has for the last decade, Symantec will be fully engaged in National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
If you are concerned about making the Internet safer and more secure for everyone, we invite you to participate in National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Here a few easy ways to do so:
- Send an email. Send an email to your family and friends telling them October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Encourage them to read and follow tips and advice from STOP. THINK. CONNECT., the national cybersecurity education and awareness campaign.
- Promote NCSAM on social networks. Use the hashtag #NCSAM on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter throughout October. Find prepared online safety messages to post and NCSAM profile images at http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/get-involved/social-media.
- Hold a family conference. Discuss how each member of the family can help to protect their devices from online threats and establish some family rules. Read through and discuss suggestions from STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
- Display the NCSAM Poster. Display the National Cyber Security Awareness Month poster in your school, office, library, or community center. Download the poster.
- Keep a clean machine. The best way to protect your devices from viruses and malware is to run the most recent version of your device's operating system, antivirus program, browser and apps.
Everyone can become an active participant in National Cyber Security Awareness Month. It starts by making sure you are staying safe online. If each of us does our part – implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating young people, training employees – together we will become a safer and more resilient online society.
Learn more about simple ways you can participate in raising cybersecurity awareness this October and year-round at http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/get-involved.
Michael Kaiser is Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. Symantec is an NCSA board member company.