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National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
Howard A. Schmidt
12:52 PM EST
Today, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation designating October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. On Friday, I will be speaking together with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano at the official kick-off event for the month at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. In the following weeks, the Department of Homeland Security will be hosting events across the nation to bring cybersecurity awareness to your state and your community. Every company, school, and family should use October as an opportunity to focus on cybersecurity – update training, attend or host an event, or talk to your children about responsible use of the Internet.
Cybersecurity is of course not something we can pay attention to for only one-month each year. It is a shared responsibility each and every day. That is why last year we began the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign – Stop. Think. Connect., an ongoing effort to educate Americans about risks in cyberspace and promotes simple steps that everyone can take to protect themselves online.
I’d also like to highlight the re-launch of OnGuardOnline.gov, the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online. The site is a resource for parents, educators, and individuals who want to learn more about cybersecurity. Managed by the Federal Trade Commission, OnGuardOnline.gov is a partner in Stop. Think. Connect. and part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. I encourage everyone to visit these three sites to learn more about what you can do to be safe online.
As this is the eighth National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it is a fitting time to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still need to go to secure this nation in cyberspace. At the start of the Obama Administration, we released the Cyberspace Policy Review, which issued a near term action plan to improve cybersecurity. I am pleased to say that our progress looks pretty good. In the last year, we issued two strategies that address major items on the action plan. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace described a private-public partnership that will improve the way online transactions are conducted by moving beyond passwords toward secure, reliable online credentials. The federal government is now working to implement this vision on our own networks and encouraging the private sector to do so as well. We also released the first comprehensive International Strategy for Cyberspace, calling for prosperity, security, and openness in a networked world. The strategy lays out the Administration’s vision for the future of the Internet and an agenda for partnering with other nations and peoples to realize this vision. Yet still more must be done. Working with the private sector, we expect to finalize the National Cyber Incident Response Plan shortly. The interim version of this plan has served our government well in managing cyber incidents over the last year. The revised plan has benefited from this experience.
Over the next year, we will continue progressing on the President’s vision of an open, interoperable, secure and reliable Internet. This month, stay tuned for the release of a strategic plan that will outline how we will develop the next-generation of game-changing technologies for cybersecurity and for the release of the Department of Homeland Security’s strategic plan for securing the homeland security enterprise in cyberspace.