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National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2014: Engaging All Americans in Online Safety

Phyllis Schneck, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications, NPPD
Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications

This week marks the start of National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2014, a time to reflect on our cybersecurity practices and promote greater online safety for all Americans. Thanks to technology, the world is more interconnected than ever before. Through the Internet, people across the globe can connect to each other and conduct more of their business and personal activities online. People can bank exclusively online, stay in touch with family and friends, control their homes and cars from their smartphones, and work remotely from almost anywhere. But with the convenience of the Internet also comes potential threats to our personal information and security.

Being online exposes us to cyber criminals and others who commit identity theft, fraud, and harassment. Every time we connect to the Internet – at home, at school, at work, or on our mobile devices – we make decisions that affect our cybersecurity. Emerging cyber threats require engagement from the entire American community to create a safer cyber environment—from government and law enforcement to the private sector and, most importantly, members of the public.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. Throughout this month, DHS and its partners will host numerous events across the country and distribute of resources and materials to the public. Year-round, we also engage the public through the Stop.Think.Connect.™ campaign to encourage Americans to practice safe online behavior.  

Organizations can support National Cyber Security Awareness Month by hosting an event in their community or distributing cybersecurity tips and resources such as the Stop.Think.Connect.™ toolkit.

With a few simple steps, all Internet users can improve their cyber hygiene during October and throughout the year.  These include:

  • Set strong passwords and don’t share them with anyone.
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates.
  • Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about Internet safety.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
  • Be cautious about what you receive or read online—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Stay tuned for news and events throughout National Cyber Security Awareness Month. For more information, visit http://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month-2014.

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