Internet Users Should Know Safety and Security are Vital

This article was originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on October 8th, 2013

This October marks the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which was launched by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance to promote awareness about using the Internet responsibly.

This year’s theme -- “Our Shared Responsibility” -- notes that the Internet is a shared resource and securing it is our shared responsibility. The simple message is “STOP. THINK. CONNECT.” Understanding the consequences of your online actions and behaviors will greatly reduce the hazards of using the Internet.

On the National Cyber Security Alliance’s website staysafeonline.org, weekly themes deliver awareness education in different focus areas:

>> Week 1 – Oct 1-6: General online safety and STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Reflections on cybersecurity accomplishments to date and what we need to achieve in the decade to come. Week 1 also aimed to raise online safety awareness among all Americans, reinforce the simple measures everyone should take and underscore that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility.

>> Week 2 – Oct 7-13: Being mobile: Online Safety and Security.

We take the convenience and productivity of the Internet everywhere we go. We work untethered from a physical location, stay connected as we travel and use portable devices to shop, bank, and manage our daily lives from anywhere. Week 2 highlights the need to maintain a focus on safety and security whenever we use the Internet.

>> Week 3 – Oct 14-20: Cyber Education and the Next Generation of Cyber Leaders.

To have a cyber-secure nation, we need a population that uses the Internet safely and ethically, and a workforce of cybersecurity professionals to defend our networks. To achieve this, we must teach everyone the essentials and develop the next generation of cyber leaders early. Week 3 highlights the importance of cyber education and workforce development, including the advancement and opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.

>> Week 4 – Oct 21-27: Cybercrime.

Today's world is more interconnected; yet for all its advantages, increased connectivity brings increased risk of theft, fraud and abuse. Week 4 highlights cybercrime prevention and how to get help.

>> Week 5 – Oct 28-31: Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure.

The Internet affects our daily life, even when we’re not directly using it. It underlies our financial transactions, transportation systems, electrical grid, emergency response systems and nearly every facet of the essential services we use every day. Week 5 highlights the need to take every step necessary to protect our critical infrastructure.

For more information, including a schedule of cybersecurity "webi-nars" and events, visit www.staysafeonline.org It’s a fantastic resource that’s available all year round, not just in October. For example, click on “I Want To Stay Safe Online” to find tips ranging from how to handle spam and phishing to what to do if your account has been hacked.

And remember: STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Hawaiian Telcom Information Security Director Beau Monday is a local cybersecurity expert. Reach him at Beau.Monday@hawaiiantel.com