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National Cyber Security Awareness Month Encourages Americans to STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

October is one of my favorite months of the year. The hot humid days of summer change to cool, crisp days and chilly nights. We have football to watch and beautiful fall foliage to enjoy. October is also the month of the year when everyone, not just information security professionals, reflects upon cyber security because October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) (http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/) .

NCSAM is a time to help the general public understand how to stay safe online, presenting an opportunity for information security professionals to educate the wide audience of information technology users about cyber security threats and best practices for securing their information.

The theme for this year’s NCSAM is “Our Shared Responsibility,” promoting the powerful message that everyone has a role to play to ensure the security of our shared information technology resources. In any kind of group, membership includes both benefits and responsibilities. We all benefit from the improved communications and rapid, flexible and extensive sharing that the Internet makes possible. However, as members of this digital society, each of us has the responsibility to ensure the availability and security of the Internet and our information technology resources.

This shared responsibility includes tasks for all of us, at every level. Information security professionals must continue to work to improve information security implementations and to continue to identify new vulnerabilities and threats facing their environments. We must educate those who rely upon and use the information technology about their responsibilities.

While it may seem simple, the motto “Stop, Think, Connect” includes three powerful steps that can improve the security of our shared Internet connected world. In our physical world, we are raised to understand vulnerabilities, threats and the risks they present. We are taught at a very young age, for example, to look both ways before we cross the street. We need to continue to teach everyone to recognize the vulnerabilities, threats and risks present in our Internet connected world and act accordingly.

As a information security professional, please do your part to help spread the message of “Our Shared Responsibility” during this year’s NCSAM: Stop, Think, Connect. Learn about how you can take part in NCSAM and get involved.

This is the first of a series of blog postings for NCSAM. Additional articles about security awareness will follow with some discussion about the threats as well as suggestions for mitigating the threats. I will also be sharing tips via Twitter at @AWildCSO.

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