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Minnesota National Guard
Stop, Think, Connect: Navigating the Cyber World Safely

Computer technicians ST PAUL, Minn-National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is observed every October and 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

The Minnesota National Guard is taking part in the awareness campaign, but it doesn't just stop there

"Though it is cyber security awareness month, our approach is to provide outreach continuously," said Col Stephanie Horvath, Chief Information Officer, Minnesota National Guard "We are constantly focused on improving situational awareness on cyber security"

Since its inception a decade ago under leadership from the US Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, National Cyber Security Awareness Month has grown exponentially, reaching small and medium-size businesses, corporations, educational institutions, and young people across the nation

According to Homeland Security, cyber security begins with a simple message everyone using the Internet can adopt: Stop Think Connect Take security and safety precautions, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors online and enjoy the benefits of the Internet

"Be vigilant about everything you do before connecting, understand the cyber threat is becoming more sophisticated," said Horvath "There are malicious persons and groups who are conducting intelligence, understanding your profile and sharing malware - the threat is global, without borders"

When you cross the street, you look both ways to make sure it's safe Staying safe on the Internet is similar It requires some common sense steps

Stop: Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems

Think: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or your family's

Connect: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you've taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer

Critical "digital infrastructures" encompass the global network of computers, data and websites that support everything from financial transactions, transportation systems and emergency response systems to health care records and personal communications in cyberspace

"We want to increase awareness so users know they should be more vigilant while on the network the goal is to reduce cyber security risks," said Horvath

Cyber experts say taking common-sense precautions can keep sensitive information secure while also preventing identity theft and fraud

For more information on National Cyber Security Awareness Month and how to keep safe online visit staysafeonlineorg

October 10, 2014
by Staff Sgt Johnny J Angelo III
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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