America’s cybersecurity is inextricably linked to our nation’s economic vitality – IT systems are interdependent, interconnected and critical to our daily lives – from communication, travel, and powering our homes, to running our economy, and obtaining government services. Private industry owns and operates the vast majority of the Nation’s critical infrastructure and cyber networks. Therefore, protecting critical infrastructure and cyberspace – including the systems and networks that support the financial services industries – requires a full range of partners.
Yesterday, I met with representatives from the financial services sector at the NASDAQ MarketExchange to discuss how government and the private sector can increase coordination and information sharing to protect cyber networks and information systems through risk assessments, hardening IT architecture, exchanging lessons learned and successes, and reporting cyber incidents to authorities. In addition, government colleagues and I reaffirmed the Department of Homeland Security’s commitment to continually improving cybersecurity education and awareness while improving recruitment, training, and retention of cybersecurity professionals.
For business owners, protecting cyberspace is part of their bottom line. Cyber crime can mean financial loss for businesses both large and small. To address emerging cyber threats, we must acknowledge our shared responsibility to ACT -- Achieve Cybersecurity Together.
National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a great opportunity for businesses – as service or product providers, community members, and employers – to educate and empower their employees and consumers to practice safer online habits. Throughout this awareness initiative and beyond, businesses can take concrete steps to improve online safety:
- Host a Stop.Think.Connect. cybersecurity awareness event at your facility to engage your community in promoting awareness about the dangers Americans face online.
- Establish security practices and policies to protect the sensitive information of your organization and its employees, patrons, and stakeholders.
- Educate employees to the Internet security guidelines and procedures.
- Download and distribute cybersecurity materials in your workplace.
- Use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on all computers.
- Secure Internet connections by using such technologies as firewalls and encrypting information.
- Require employees to use strong passwords and regularly change them.
We all have a role to play in preventing cyber crime and protecting cyberspace as businesses and consumers alike. Find more information on National Cyber Security Awareness Month here, and more information on cybersecurity for your business here.