“Stop,” “think” and "connect” are more than just words thrown together to grab your attention. Combined, they form the name of a global campaign by the National Cyber Security Alliance in conjunction with Cybersecurity Awareness Month—our favorite month of the year!
History of STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™
In 2009, then-President Obama recognized the need to increase education and dialogue about cybersecurity and issued the Cyberspace Policy Review, which would be the foundation of America’s cybersecurity and digital infrastructure moving forward. As part of this policy, Homeland Security was tasked with creating an awareness campaign to help citizens understand the risks associated with being online. This was the birth of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ (STC) campaign.
The campaign officially launched in October 2010 in conjunction with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. STC started out with 25 different partner companies and seven government agencies backing the project, and in the years since its inception, the campaign has grown immensely. Today, it has more than 300 partners that each take on the responsibility of teaching others how to make sure they’re secure when on the internet. The STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ campaign has even gone global, with partners from more than 50 countries on six continents.
Goals of STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™
So, just what are we stopping, thinking about and connecting to? The campaign’s website presents these basic steps:
- Stop and make sure that all security measures are properly in place.
- Think about the consequences of every online action.
- Connect and enjoy the internet!
But there’s more to it than that. According to its website, the campaign’s top five goals are to:
- Increase and reinforce awareness of cybersecurity, including associated risks and threats, and provide solutions for increasing cybersecurity
- Communicate approaches and strategies for the public to keep themselves, their families and their communities safer online
- Shift perception of cybersecurity among the American public from avoidance of the unknown to acknowledgement of shared responsibility
- Engage the public, the private sector and state and local governments in our nation's effort to improve cybersecurity
- Increase the number of national stakeholders and community-based organizations engaged in educating the public about cybersecurity and what people can do to protect themselves online
The STC campaign also boasts several sub-campaigns, each focused on a different cybersecurity, online safety and privacy topic:
To learn more about STC specifically or cybersecurity in general, check out the campaign’s resources page. It’s chock-full of tip sheets, videos, graphics and more, and addresses everything from wedding-related cyber-safety to public Wi-Fi etiquette (complete with cat memes!).
You can register your organization to become an official partner of the campaign for free, and after you sign up, you’ll receive a cybersecurity tool kit along with monthly newsletters, webinar invites and regular updates. Don’t forget to check the events page for the latest goings-on, including live Twitter chats, symposiums and webinars.
Overall, the most important thing you can do to ensure cybersecurity at your company and beyond is to spread the word. Cybersecurity Awareness Month may only last 31 days, but the principles associated with creating a safer cyber-environment for everyone are important all year round.