Friday, June 5, 2015

Cybersecurity: A Shared Responsibility at Home and at Work

Guest Blogger: The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign

As a member of BDPA you already know that cyberspace and its underlying infrastructure are vulnerable to a wide range of risks stemming from threats both physical and cyber. Cyberspace is particularly difficult to secure due to a number of factors: the ability of malicious actors to operate from anywhere in the world, the linkages between cyberspace and physical systems, and the difficulty in reducing vulnerabilities in complex cyber networks.

To create a safe, secure, and resilient cyber environment individuals of all ages and all segments of the community—from government and law enforcement, to IT professionals in all industries, and most importantly, members of the public, must do their part to help protect against cyber threats.

Everyone Has a Role to Play, Especially at Work

June is Internet Safety Month, a time to focus on the importance of online safety. Even in a technologically advanced workplace or as an IT professional, you can help make a difference in keeping your workplace cyber safe and spread cybersecurity awareness with these simple tips from the Department of Homeland Security’s Stop.Think.Connect.  Campaign:

Read and abide: Know and adhere to your company’s Internet use policy.

Password rules: Construct your passwords using a combination of numbers, symbols, and letters (uppercase and lowercase), and be sure to change them regularly (every 45 to 90 days).

No sharing: No matter the circumstances, don’t share any of your user names, passwords, or other computer or website access codes.

Trusted sources only: Only open emails or attachments from people you know.

Consult IT: Never install or connect any personal software or hardware to your organization’s network or systems without permission from your IT department.

Back It Up: Make electronic and physical back-ups or copies of all your most important work.

Report It: No matter how trivial, be sure to report all suspicious or unusual problems with your computer to your IT department.

Start a Culture of Online Safety at Home

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, children and teens aged 8-18 devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes per day to electronic devices. If a child sleeps 8 hours a night, that means one-half the time he or she is awake is spent online. Below are some ways to keep your family safe while they’re there:

Add contacts and friends on social media responsibly: Only become friends on social media with people you actually know, and never share details like your address, your school, or even your last name with strangers.

Conduct safe searches: Perform Internet searches with very, very specific search terms so that they don’t yield unwanted results.

Use safety filters: Install safety filters that limit what kids can see and do online.

Investigate: Before your child visits a new website, check it out yourself.

Follow the Golden Rule: Parents and kids alike should remember, don’t say anything online about someone else that you wouldn’t want written about you.

Additional Resources:
• Sign up to receive alerts, tips, and other updates from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).

• Get involved in the Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community or C³ (pronounced “C Cubed”) Voluntary Program to assist your company in using the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. Learn more here.

• Get videos, presentations, and other educational resources for parents to discuss cybersecurity with kids and teens from NetSmartz, a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

• Find tips and resources on how to become a good digital parent from the Family Online Safety Institute.

• Start an internet safety dialogue with ebooks, events, articles, and more from ConnectSafely, iKeepSafe, and Savvy Cyber Kids.

BDPA is a partner in the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign, a national public awareness effort aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online. Visit to learn more.

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