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Microsoft Secure

Microsoft and others in the technology industry have long maintained that helping to keep individuals and families safer online is a “shared responsibility” – among industry, government, law enforcement, civil society, and consumers themselves.

This notion requires the collaborative commitment agreed to in the recently released 19-page report, “Involving Intermediaries in Cyber Security Awareness-Raising.”  This release follows a day-long information-sharing event in Brussels, sponsored by the European Commission and ENISA – the European Network and Information Security Agency.  Forty-five EU and U.S. representatives from the public and private sectors participated, where discussions centered on cross-border cooperation and the importance of public-private partnerships (PPPs).

I had the privilege of being the sole delegate from the United States, representing the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), one of Microsoft’s key online safety partners.  My presentation focused on the work of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the NCSA, most notably, National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and its signature STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ (STC) awareness campaign, a sterling example of a successful PPP.

The report’s recommendations focus mostly on actions for PPPs, including:
• Addressing cyber security as a cultural challenge and a matter of consumer behavioural change
• Approaching consumers with the appropriate tone and tenor, and crafting guidance that will resonate
• Engaging young users as strong promoters of online safety and security messages, and
• Beginning education early, “The sooner this starts, the better the Internet behaviour.”

Since 2003, the United States has supported and promoted October as NCSAM, 31 days dedicated to raising public awareness of online risks and informing individuals about what they can do to help mitigate those risks.  This October will mark the 10th anniversary of NCSAM and commemorate its recent international expansion to Canada and the European Union.  In 2012, eight European Union Member States – the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom – piloted a European Cyber Security Month to great success.  Beginning in 2014, the EU will add October as Cyber Security Month to its already active online safety and security calendar.  At the day-long workshop in Brussels last year, representatives from many of these Member States shared their successes and learning.

Microsoft is a founding member of NCSA, the organizer of NCSAM in the U.S., and one of the longest-standing members of the STC Coalition – a group of companies, government agencies and departments promoting a simple, actionable message to remind consumers daily to exercise care before going online.

Given the success of these efforts to-date, we encourage governments and companies worldwide to invest jointly in Internet safety and security by adopting and supporting programs aimed at increasing awareness and educating the public.  Microsoft calls this fostering digital citizenship, and we promote and share our work globally.  We create and offer free of charge a range of resources on our safety website, and we share the NCSAM and STC messages via our social media properties: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  Join the movement for creating a safer, more trusted Internet.