“About Cybersecurity Awareness Month”
National Cybersecurity Alliance, June 28, 2022
By National Cybersecurity Alliance
“Cybersecurity Awareness Month – observed every October – was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online.”
Since its original inception under leadership from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cybersecurity Alliance, Cybersecurity Awareness Month has grown exponentially, reaching consumers, small and medium-sized businesses, corporations, educational institutions and young people across the nation. Now in its 18th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to build momentum and impact co-led by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA).
Cybersecurity Awareness Month was launched by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October 2004 as a broad effort to help all Americans stay safer and more secure online.
When Cybersecurity Awareness Month first began, the awareness efforts centered around advice like updating your antivirus software twice a year to mirror similar efforts around changing batteries in smoke alarms during daylight saving time.
Since the combined efforts of the National Cybersecurity Alliance and DHS have been taking place, the month has grown in reach and participation. Operated in many respects as a grassroots campaign, the month’s effort has grown to include the participation of a multitude of industry participants that engage their customers, employees, and the general public in awareness, as well as college campuses, nonprofits, and other groups.
Between 2009 and 2018, the month’s theme was “Our Shared Responsibility.” The theme reflected the role that we all – from large enterprises to individual computer users – have in securing the digital assets in their control.
In 2009, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano launched Cybersecurity Awareness Month at an event in Washington, D.C., becoming the highest-ranking government official to participate in the month’s activities. In subsequent years, leading administration officials from DHS, the White House and other agencies have regularly participated in events across the United States.
In 2010, the kickoff of Cybersecurity Awareness Month also included the launch of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign. President Obama’s proclamation for the month includes STOP. THINK. CONNECT. as the national cybersecurity education and awareness message.
Also in 2010, the National Cybersecurity Alliance began moving the launch of the month to sites around the country. The month has been launched in Seattle and Bellevue, WA, Ypsilanti, MI, Omaha, NE, Boston, MA, Nashville, TN, and Washington, D.C.
Starting in 2011, the National Cybersecurity Alliance and DHS developed the concept of weekly themes during the month. This idea was based on feedback from stakeholders that the many aspects of cybersecurity should be better articulated, making it easier for other groups to align with specific themes. Themes have included education, cybercrime, law enforcement, mobility, critical infrastructure and small and medium-sized businesses.
The collaboration of the National Cybersecurity Alliance and DHS on Cybersecurity Awareness Month is one of the many successful public-private partnerships that are so critical to cybersecurity.
About the Author:
The National Cybersecurity Alliance is a non-profit organization on a mission to create a more secure, interconnected world. We advocate for the safe use of all technology and educate everyone on how best to protect ourselves, our families, and our organizations from cybercrime. We create strong partnerships between governments and corporations to amplify our message and to foster a greater “digital” good.
- “Oh Behave! The Annual Cybersecurity Attitudes and Behaviors Report 2022”
Each year, the National Cybersecurity Alliance releases research to better understand the public’s security behavior and to act as a call to action for better secure habits online.
This year, the National Cybersecurity Alliance partnered with CybSafe to take a behavioral lens for the 2022 research report.
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