In October 2010, STOP.THINK.CONNECT. (STC) was launched by the Department of Homeland Security. This initiative aimed to promote simple steps that people can take to increase their safety and security online. The aim was to create a coalition of private companies, nonprofits and government, led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
Today, Vircom is very proud to have joined the over 850 partners that are a part of the STC partner program. We are dedicated to improving cyber security through two primary means: 1) Our core email security products and solutions and 2) content, resources and support that informs and educates every person that comes into contact with our products. We’ve been working to educate and improve the security status of organizations of all sizes for more than two decades. That STC provides a wide range of resources to develop extensive public awareness, along with possessing the authority to drive a positive discourse around cyber security, makes us excited to be a partner.
The STC is focused on 6 pillars:
Lock Down Your Login: We usually discuss login protection from the perspective of a strong password. STC takes it further, suggesting you protect your login by the strongest authentication tools available – this could be biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Strong usernames and passwords are a must but may not always be enough to protect key accounts like email and banking.
Keep a Clean Machine: Keep all software on internet-connected devices –including PCs, smartphones and tablets – up to date to reduce risk of infection from Malware. We would also add that you ensure you have the right protective technology
Personal Information is Like Money. Value It. Protect It.: Information about you, such as purchase history or location, has value to cyber criminals. Be thoughtful about who gets that information, to who you allow permissions and how it’s collected and accessed by apps and websites. With the recent news coming out of Facebook, it’s as relevant as ever.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Cybercriminals often use links to try to steal your personal information. Links are increasingly becoming a tool that malicious actors are using for phishing. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, delete it. Email attachments are a common means to install ransomware or often can be used as means to launch a BEC attack.
Share With Care: Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it and how it could be perceived now and in the future. This isn’t only about the data, but the difficulty in scrubbing that painfully embarrassing picture from the internet.
Own Your Online Presence: Set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share Information (actually, it’s probably recommended – especially if you might be a prime target for the likes of BEC).
Nearly a decade since the STC was launched there are still many frightening trends we are watching. Are people more aware today than a decade ago? It’s hard to say empirically, especially considering that 1) many more people (and businesses) have come online since then 2) The criminals are always trying to stay just ahead of the victims.
There’s a lot left to do, and initiatives like STC, NCSAM, Global Centre for Cybersecurity, among many others, are all signs that the international prioritization of raising cybersecurity awareness in the general public is there and will continue to improve.
We are excited to be a part of the STC initiative, and will continue to help share the message to improve the overall state of cyber security awareness.
You can find free tip sheets, posters, videos, infographics and other useful resources stopthinkconnect.org.