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Expands Beyond U.S. Borders with Public Safety Canada Partnership for "Get Cyber Safe" Campaign

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As leaders of the national STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Campaign on cybersecurity awareness, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which leads the effort in the Federal Government, today announced that the public-private partnership has achieved significant growth since its launch on October 4, 2010 in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

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Among many celebrated achievements – including continued expansion of the use of STOP. THINK. CONNECT. messaging by founding companies and DHS's creation of a National Network of supporting organizations – is the expansion beyond U.S. borders through new partnerships. This includes a recently signed Memorandum of Cooperation with Public Safety Canada and its Get Cyber Safe Campaign.  The partnership will align efforts from both campaigns as they strive to increase the understanding of cyber threats and empower Internet users to be safer and more secure online.

"As we begin National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we're excited to celebrate the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Campaign's continued expansion," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "We are proud that this message has reached millions of people and thankful for the continued support we receive from government and industry to bring the online safety messaging to larger audiences."

APWG Secretary General Peter Cassidy said, "The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Campaign is now well on its way to gaining a global footprint, as it should to achieve maximal effectiveness. The countries and multilateral treaty organizations, trade groups and standards bodies we're working with today will quickly propel the campaign to global deployment."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security leads efforts to cultivate the campaigns National Network of groups and organizations that advocate and promote cybersecurity messages. Through the National Network, the campaign works with several national youth-serving organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), YWCA, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) America, National 4-H Council (4-H), InfraGard and Girl Scouts of the USA to provide training and resources related to online safety and encourage their membership to spread the campaign messages related to cybersecurity, cyber safety, and cyber responsibility with kids and teens.

The White House continues to show support for the campaign as well. For the third year in a row, President Obama has encouraged people to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. through a recently released proclamation for National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/10/01/presidential-proclamation-national-cybersecurity-awareness-month-2012). NCSAM is a national month of awareness held each October focusing on the need for improved online safety and security for all Americans.

Local government has also shown widespread support through organizations like the National Association of Counties. NACo's current president: Douglas County (Nebraska) Commissioner Chris Rodgers, has made cybersecurity a priority for county governments with the organization's Cybersecurity Task Force adopting STOP. THINK. CONNECT. as an education and awareness message.

Commissioner Rodgers added: "County governments play an important role in homeland security and are increasingly targets for hackers and viral attacks that could shut down county airports, water systems, electrical grids, and courthouses. I am pleased that the nation's counties are part of this important campaign to help all of us better understand potential cyber threats and strengthen our cyber security efforts."  

In the private sector arena, the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Campaign is supported by many consumer-facing organizations that promote the campaign's messages in their own various ways. This includes efforts in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month from:

  • AT&T – the company's efforts for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month are centered around KEEP A CLEAN MACHINE, a component of the broader STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign focused on raising consumer awareness and helping computer users keep their machines free from malware and botnets.  AT&T will be including KEEP A CLEAN MACHINE (both English and Spanish) on many of its wireline consumer bills during October.  AT&T is also supporting the broader awareness month through a variety of social media tools and is engaging employees through a series of events and training programs during October.
  • Radio Disney's "The Download" powered by STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and NCSA – "The Download" is a special program designed to help middle school students stay safe online through a fun and interactive game show format. The program launched in conjunction with the NCSAM kick-off event in Omaha, Nebraska at local area schools and touches on topics including posting photos, distributing passwords and personal information, and speaking to strangers online. Radio Disney will continue to host "The Download" in middle schools across Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Seattle and Portland, Maine beginning in November 2012.
  • McAfee – the company continues its efforts to support STOP. THINK. CONNECT. by educating parents, teachers, and school kids about cybersafety through its Online Safety for Kids program. Now in its third year, the program has reached more than 25,000 school-age kids and McAfee plans to reach 50,000 in 2012 – 2013 in North America, Latin America and in locations where its employees live and work. To show its support of NCSAM, McAfee partnered with NCSA on a major survey examining Americans' online safety posture that reveals a substantial disconnect between perceptions and practices concerning online safety; it also joined forces with Everloop to use its leading, kid-friendly online social network to help reinforce online safety messages and will recognize partner support for the Online Safety for Kids program at the upcoming Partner Summit (FOCUS 2012) with its first Community Service Award for McAfee's partners.
  • Microsoft – the company has been active in STOP. THINK. CONNECT. since its inception.  As a founding member of the initial convention formed in June 2009, Microsoft has made a number of unique contributions. This includes the production of five informative STC videos, one which was honored by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.  AT&T and Verizon also published these important videos on their websites.  Microsoft links to the STC website from its own key safety and security website, and includes the STC brand and message on many of its safety and security resources. It champions STC with governments, industry, and businesses around the world, and encourages individuals to exercise safer habits and practices when they go online. Microsoft is proud to continue serving as the industry representative for the STC board.

STOP. THINK. CONNECT. is experiencing strong momentum across the globe, which is a testament to the efforts growing momentum. In recent weeks Public Safety Canada, The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT) have all joined the campaign. Canada has adopted STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and OAS and AP CERT joined as promotional collaborators to introduce member countries to the campaign.

The campaign's Partner Program aims to address the worldwide problems of online security and cybercrime by harmonizing messaging across the globe. Efforts thus far include translating the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. slogan, tips, and advice into 13 languages and making these materials available to international communities along with establishing domain names for the STC Campaign under more than 30 regional and national Top Level Domains.

The campaign's messages were created by the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention – a public-private partnership established in 2009 to develop the awareness effort. Information about founding STC Messaging Convention members is available at: http://stopthinkconnect.org/about-us/founders/.  

The campaign's three easy, actionable steps: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. are easy to understand and apply. NCSA also advises all Internet users to take security measures, understand the consequences of their behavior and actions and enjoy the benefits of the Internet. Here are some additional tips and advice:

  • Keep a Clean Machine: Keep all critical software—security software, Web browsers and operating systems—up to date.
  • Protect Your Personal Information: Secure your accounts by making passwords long, strong and unique.
  • Own Your Online Presence: Set security and privacy settings to your comfort level of sharing.
  • When in Doubt, Throw it Out: If an email, social network post or text message looks suspicious, even if you know the source, delete it.
  • Be a Good Online Citizen: Post only about others what you would have them post about you.

The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Campaign's aforementioned accomplishments along with many others will be widely celebrated across the U.S. throughout National Cyber Security Awareness Month. NCSA is also releasing an infographic today in conjunction with STOP. THINK. CONNECT. that explores online safety practices of adult Internet users. The infographic is available for download at: http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/resources/ The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Web Portal is available at www.stopthinkconnect.org and STC supporters can get the latest news and updates on Facebook and Twitter at https://www.facebook.com/STOPTHINKCONNECT and at @STOPTHNKCONNECT.

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 protecting themselves and the technology they use and the digital assets we all share. NCSA board members include: ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, 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 the APWG
The APWG, a coalition of more than 2100 institutions, is the global industry, law enforcement, and government coalition focused on unifying the global response to electronic crime. APWG's www.apwg.org and education.apwg.org websites offer the public, industry and government agencies practical information about cybercrime. APWG also manages the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, the global online safety public awareness collaborative www.stopthinkconnect.org.  

The campaign was developed by the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, a public-private partnership established in 2009 and led by The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) and National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) to develop and support a national cybersecurity awareness campaign.  The Department of Homeland Security provides the Federal Government's leadership for the campaign. Industry, government, non-profits and education institutions participate in STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Learn how to get involved at the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/STOPTHINKCONNECT, on Twitter at @STOPTHNKCONNECT, and the campaign website at www.stopthinkconnect.org.

SOURCE National Cyber Security Alliance

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