WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign along with other government, industry and nonprofit organizations are encouraging everyone to improve their online safety habits. Now in its 10th year, National Cyber Security Awareness Month's theme is "Our Shared Responsibility," reflecting the role we all play in being safer online and making the Internet more secure for everyone.
During the week of October 14-20, the focus is cybersecurity education. In order to have a cyber-secure nation, everyone must have the essential skills to use the Internet safely, securely, ethically and productively as well as a workforce of cybersecurity professionals to defend our networks.
There are still gaps in basic behaviors that would protect people and their data. In a recent study commissioned by PayPal and NCSA, nearly 19 percent of Americans said they had never changed their password or pin for an online account without prompting by the service provider and only 34 percent lock their mobile phone with a PIN. These findings reflect the need for continued education and awareness activities around online safety. Full polling results are available at: http://www.staysafeonline.org/.
"The ability to use technology safely and securely is a fundamental life skill in the 21st Century," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of NCSA. "Since the Internet plays such a large role in modern America – from protecting critical infrastructure to creating jobs – each of us has a responsibility to continuously implement online safety best-practices."
Making sure young people adopt safe and secure online practices from an early age will be an essential element in our future cybersecurity posture as a nation. Parents can help children learn to use technology and the Internet in productive and safe ways. However, there is a need for resources and support as well. Many organizations have unveiled new educational materials to support parents during and beyond October including:
- iKeepSafe's BEaPRO™ Parent Resources and App for Children (Online): The BEaPRO™ framework addresses the six pillars of success for online digital citizenship: Balance, Ethics, Privacy, Relationships, Reputation, and Online Security. The BEaPRO™ Parent resources include an app to assess users' household, highlighting where gaps in behaviors and attitudes exist and offers expert online-safety advice and resources tailored to each parent's individual situation. Visit http://www.ikeepsafe.org/beaproparent for details.
- Growing Up Online – a Free eBook for Parents, Teachers and Kids, (Online): This eBook is the first release from NBCUniversal's "The More You Know" Learning Series, in collaboration with NBC News. The eBook is a media-rich two-part learning resource that provides easy-to-use information about navigating the digital world in a unique and engaging way. Part one includes safety tips, discussion questions and key takeaways for parents and teachers. Part two features four entertaining video comic books for children six and older, focused on real situations that may arise when kids go online. Growing Up Online is available as a free download for a variety of tablet devices in both English and Spanish. The eBook is also available online for desktop and laptop viewing at www.themoreyouknow.com/eBooks.
- ConnectSafely's New Parents' Guide to Sharing Safely on Instagram and SnapChat, (Online & In-print): Connectsafely.org has unveiled two free pamphlet and Web guides that provide parents with the clarity they need to talk with their kids about optimizing the apps for safety, privacy and reputation protection. They address the apps' minimum age, how to manage a profile (in Instagram), and how Snapchat photos actually can last more than 10 seconds. Both guides are available at ConnectSafely.org/guides along with a new Parent's Guide to Cyberbullying at http://www.connectsafely.org/cyberbullying/.
Additionally, the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. national cybersecurity education and awareness campaign is unveiling its Online Safety Quiz available for free at www.stopthinkconnect.org/resources. The quiz allows participants to assess their online safety proficiency through an interactive, scenario-based layout that focuses on security, ethics, privacy and other online safety topics. The quiz, in a presentation format, is designed for anyone including teachers, parents or volunteers to present online safety information to young people.
Kaiser added, "To be successful, we need a variety of organizations creating quality materials for people of all ages. We're pleased that so many organizations are rising to that challenge and investing time and resources toward these common goals."
Aside from these helpful cybersecurity education resources, the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign educates Internet users though basic security principles including keep a clean machine, own your online presence and protect your personal information. The common action step for all Internet users is STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Take safety and security precautions, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors and connect and enjoy the Internet.
More information and helpful tips are available at www.stopthinkconnect.org. You can also learn more information about staying safe online by participating in #ChatSTC Twitter Chats throughout October. A full listing of Twitter Chats is available at: http://www.stopthinkconnect.org/get-involved/twitter-chats/.
About The National Cyber Security Alliance
The National Cyber Security Alliance is a non-profit organization. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors, the mission of the NCSA is to educate and empower a digital citizenry to use the Internet securely and safely protect themselves and the technology they use and the digital assets we all share. NCSA board members include: ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast, EMC Corporation, ESET, Facebook, Google, Intel, McAfee, Microsoft, PayPal, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Symantec, Trend Micro, Verizon and Visa. Visit www.staysafeonline.org for more information and join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/staysafeonline.
About STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
STOP. THINK. CONNECT. is the national cybersecurity education and awareness campaign. The campaign was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, non-profits and government organizations with leadership provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). The Department of Homeland Security leads the federal engagement in the campaign. Learn how to get involved at the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/STOPTHINKCONNECT, on Twitter at @STOPTHNKCONNECT, and at www.stopthinkconnect.org.
SOURCE National Cyber Security Alliance