The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency launched its first public service announcement Tuesday with a short video that reminds the public to use basic cybersecurity protections to keep themselves safe online.
“We want to make keeping information safe a habit, just like buckling a seat belt,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly.
The campaign focuses on the four simple steps that will be promoted during the 20th annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October:
- Use strong passwords and a password manager.
- Turn on multifactor authentication.
- Recognize and report phishing.
- Update software regularly.
The Wes Anderson-flavored PSA focuses on a family and a small business, illustrating how they adopt these practices in their daily lives. “These stories remind us who we’re empowering to secure our world,” said Alaina Clark, CISA’s assistant director for stakeholder engagement, who led the campaign’s development.
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Citizens Must Take Part in Securing Technology Against Attacks
Titled “Secure Our World,” the campaign — which will continue beyond Cybersecurity Awareness Month — recognizes the interconnectedness of today’s world, where 7 billion people rely on cellphones, 230 million emails are sent every minute and 360 million people use dating apps, Easterly said.
“It’s critical that every one of us take responsibility for keeping ourselves safe online,” she said. “It’s the obligation of every digital citizen.”
Ron Green, the chief security officer at Mastercard, one of the campaign partners, illustrated the need for those tools with the story of how his young son unwittingly gave up sensitive financial information to a scammer in a gaming chat.
“I’m immersed in security during the day at work; I talk to security specialists all the time,” he said. “But how often did I talk to my son about fraudsters? ‘Secure Our World’ gives us the ability to leverage those tools and communication skills and take it home.”
And that’s the point of the campaign. “We’re not securing the technology. We’re keeping the users safe as they use the technology. We’re protecting our way of life,” said Steve Faehl, federal security CTO for Microsoft.
CISA’s website provides information tailored to individuals and families, small and medium businesses, and manufacturers. “Technology manufacturers must create products that are secure by design to take that burden off individuals,” Easterly said.