History of Stop.Think.Connect.
In 2009, President Obama recognized the need to increase education and dialogue about cybersecurity. The President thereby issued the Cyberspace Policy Review, which has become the blueprint from which our nation's cybersecurity foundation will transform into an assured and resilient digital infrastructure for the future. As part of this policy review, the Department of Homeland Security was asked to create an ongoing cybersecurity awareness campaign–Stop.Think.Connect.– to help Americans understand the risks that come with being online.
"The Administration [cybersecurity] proposal helps safeguard your personal data and enhances your right to know when it has been compromised. In addition to educating you on how to protect yourself from cyber threats with the Stop.Think.Connect. campaign, we believe organizations should inform you when your sensitive personal information may have been compromised."
-Howard Schmidt, Cybersecurity Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President
Stop.Think.Connect. is a national public awareness effort to guide the nation to a higher level of Internet safety by challenging the American public to be more vigilant about practicing safe online habits. It will persuade Americans to view Internet safety as a shared responsibility–at home, in the workplace, and in our communities–and demonstrate that shared responsibility by bringing together a coalition of federal, state and local government entities, as well as private sector and nonprofit partners.
Through these partnerships, the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign is reaching thousands of Americans, providing tips on how they can protect themselves, their families, and the nation. Stop.Think.Connect. was the result of an intensive collaborative effort from the Online Consumer Security and Safety Messaging Convention, an effort organized by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), key industry leaders, government agencies, and nonprofits.
The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign launched on October 4, 2010, in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Led by the Department of Homeland Security, the Campaign raises awareness among the American public about the need to strengthen cybersecurity and to generate and communicate new approaches and strategies to help Americans increase their safety and security online.
The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign's overarching goal is to help Americans understand not only the risks that come with using the Internet, but also the importance of practicing safe online behavior. More specifically, the Campaign aims to:
- Elevate the nation's awareness of cybersecurity and its association with national security and the safety of our personal lives.
- Engage the American public, the private sector, and state and local governments in our nation's effort to improve cybersecurity.
- Communicate approaches and strategies for the public to keep themselves, their families and their communities safer online.
More and more, Americans are adopting new and innovative technologies and spending more of their time online. Our thirst for computers, smartphones, gadgets and being online seems to have no limits. At home, at work and at school, our growing dependence on technology, coupled with the increasing threat of cyber attacks and risks to our privacy, demands greater security in our online world.
A recent national study found that online safety is a personal priority for Americans. Ninety-six percent of Americans surveyed feel a personal responsibility to be safe and secure online, while 93 percent said their online actions could protect not only friends and family but also help make the Internet safer for everyone around the world 1.
But while research recognizes the importance of being safe online, it also demonstrates consumers could benefit from simple, easy-to-understand resources and tips to help ensure their safety and security. Access to this type of information can give Americans the tools they need to make more-informed decisions when using the Internet.
The Department of Homeland Security is actively working with the public and private sector to promote cybersecurity and leading the effort to engage and educate Americans to help them understand the importance of online safety. Whether it's protecting ourselves from identity theft and cyber crime or protecting the nation from a cyber attack, we all must share the responsibility for promoting a safer cyberspace.
To raise awareness among the American public about the need to strengthen cybersecurity and to communicate new approaches to help Americans increase their safety and security online, the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign's primary objectives are to:
- Increase and reinforce awareness of cybersecurity, including associated risks and threats, and provide solutions for increasing cybersecurity among the public.
- Increase the number of national stakeholders and community-based organizations engaged in educating the public about cybersecurity and what Americans can do to protect themselves online.
- Shift perception of cybersecurity among the American public from avoidance of the unknown to acknowledgement of shared responsibility.
Stop.Think.Connect. is part of an unprecedented effort among federal and state governments, industry, and non-profit organizations to promote safe online behavior and practices. The Campaign aims to guide the nation to the next level of cybersecurity in the 21st Century. Stop.Think.Connect. will challenge the American public to be more vigilant about practicing safe, online habits; ensure that Internet safety is perceived as a shared responsibility at home, in the workplace, and throughout our communities; and transform the way the federal government and the public and private sectors collaborate to make cybersecurity a reality.
1Heart + Mind Strategies Online Consumer Security & Safety Messaging Convention, National Consumer Quantitative Survey, May 2010.