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DHS and NCSA Launch National Cyber Security Awareness Month with National Press Club Event

The fifth annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was kicked off earlier today at an event held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The event featured a panel including DHS Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Communications Gregory Garcia, National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Executive Director Michael Kaiser, and Symantec Senior Director for Public Affairs Adam Rak.

Secretary Garcia described DHS efforts to improve cybersecurity and emphasize it as A Shared Responsibility. He cited increased government investment as a sign of the high priority given to cybersecurity by the federal government. The NCSA's Kaiser urged Americans to "keep up your defenses and hone your instincts". He explained that the NCSA will undertake a new "www" campaign in the coming months advising consumers to ask: who is asking for your information, what are they asking for, and why do they need it.

The event also featured the release of a new cyber security study by the NCSA and Symantec, makers of Norton security software. According to a press release, "a large number of Americans still fail to use basic Internet security tools and there remains a substantial gap between the protections people think they have and what is actually installed on their computers." Most notable is the finding that more than 80 percent of Americans claim to have a firewall -- designed to prevent hackers and criminals from stealing personal information -- installed on their computer. Yet, in reality only 42 percent had adequate firewall protection. More details about the study are provided in a Fact Sheet.

The NCSA targets home users, small businesses, k-12 schools, and higher education for its awareness campaigns. The EDUCAUSE/Internet2 Security Task Force takes the leadership for awareness efforts at our nations colleges and universities. A press release that described Cybersecurity Awareness A Priority for Higher Education was issued last week in advance of NCSAM.

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