October Declared Cyber Security Awareness Month

Appropriately for a month that concludes with a holiday designed around scary things, October has been declared Cyber Security Awareness Month. President Obama recently signed a proclamation and urged everyone to back up files, keep Internet-surfing children safe, and “play an active role in securing the cyber networks we use every day.”

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is part of a campaign organized by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and backed by the Department of Homeland Security. The government agency said, “America’s competitiveness and economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on effective cybersecurity.”

STOP | THINK | CONNECT

NCSA said October’s designation is part of the first Global Online Safety Campaign, called STOP | THINK | CONNECT, which began Monday. The public-private partnership is intended to “help all digital citizens employ universal behaviors to protect themselves,” the organization said.

Several companies have initiated specific security-related measures in support of the month.

Digital security firm McAfee, for instance, announced Monday it will expand its initiative to fight cybercrime. The McAfee initiative includes an Online Safety for Kids program, in which its employees and partners volunteer to teach schoolchildren about safety and security online. It also made a cybercrime grant to the National White Collar Crime Center to train more law-enforcement personnel to detect, investigate and arrest lawbreakers.

The cybersafety education program was piloted last year in more than 100 schools, and the company reports it has reached more than 3,000 children. It’s being expanded this fall to more schools in the U.S., as well as to other countries.

The initiative was originally announced by McAfee two years ago this month. It includes awards to individuals and organizations, an online resource portal, and an advisory council.

Safety Recommendations

Security software provider CyberDefender has issued guidelines to keep families safe. The recommendations suggest that families set up separate…

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