October Sets Annual Cyber Security Awareness Month In Motion
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division is sponsoring the fifth annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month this month, designed to educate the public on the shared responsibility of protecting cyberspace. The department will recognize this important initiative through a series of events aimed at raising awareness of the ways in which citizens and businesses can better safeguard themselves in cyberspace.
“Cyber attacks are increasing in sophistication and frequency every day. They include a broad spectrum of nefarious activity – from an individual hacker, to an organized criminal group stealing information or identities, to nation states engaged in cyber espionage,” says Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “We have embarked on a massive effort to guard federal systems and to work with industry to defend our critical infrastructure. Because no single entity owns the Internet, the federal government needs the cooperation of both the private sector and everyday citizens to protect against a range of cyber threats.”
DHS says practicing good cyber security in homes and offices is as simple as installing virus detection software and updating it as necessary, creating strong passwords and frequently changing them, backing up important files and ignoring suspicious e-mails or Web sites.
DHS employs numerous strategies to increase the security, resiliency and reliability of the nation’s information technology (IT) and communications infrastructure:
U.S. Computer and Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) – The department’s 24-hour watch and warning center for the federal government’s Internet infrastructure.
EINSTEIN Program – Intrusion detection tool that identifies malicious activity on our federal networks. DHS is currently developing an updated version of this software, EINSTEIN 2, which will be able to detect intrusion in real time.
National Cyber Security Center – A networked partnership of the federal agencies responsible for cyber defense, created to leverage their strengths and promote best practice sharing and coordination.
National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force – Team of federal agencies, including the United States Secret Service, charged with coordinating, integrating and sharing pertinent information related to cyber threat investigations.
Cyber Security Exercises – In March, the department led the nation’s largest cyber security exercise, known as Cyber Storm II, during which participants from all levels of government, the private sector and the international community engaged in a simulated cyber attack on several critical sectors of our economy.
Expanded Cyber Education – DHS engages in partnerships with academia and industry to expand cyber education for all U.S. government employees, particularly those specializing in IT, and to continue recruiting a capable and knowledgeable workforce to combat emerging threats.
Increased Funding – The President’s FY 2009 Budget requested $7.2 billion for IT efforts, a $600 million increase over last year’s budget.