News: DHS Stop. Think. Connect. – June 2012 Newsletter

Shared from the DHS email list of U.S. Department of Homeland Security @


  • · Stop.Think.Connect. Encourages Parents to Start an Internet Safety Dialogue with their Children 
  • · What Does Your Online Brand Say About You? 
  • · Stop.Think.Connect. Atlanta Cyber Tour to Occur in August 
  • · Increase Cybersecurity Knowledge by Attending GFIRST 
  • · DHS Spotlight: The Cybersecurity Education Office 
  • · Stop.Think.Connect. Shares Resources on Social Media


With the carefree days of summer upon us kids and teens will have more free time to be online. While the Internet provides a way to stay connected with friends, it also exposes us and our children to increased risks of cyberbullying, cyber predators, identity theft, fraud, and phishing. According to a study conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance, children ages 8 to 18 spend 7 hours and 38 minutes per day online. If a child sleeps 8 hours per night, that means one half of the time he or she is awake is spent online.

In order to protect yourself and your family from potential online dangers, it is important first to understand the risks. Did you know?

  • 20% of kids will have been a victim of cyberbullying by the time they graduate from high school according to the Cyberbullying Research Center. 
  • 79% of online teens agree that teens aren’t careful enough when sharing personal information online according to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. 
  • The Crimes Against Children Research Center warns that one in five U.S. teenagers who regularly log on to the Internet say they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the Web. 
  • 500,000 kid identities are stolen each year according to the Identity Theft Resource Center; in a MSNBC investigation, officials found a 9-year-old girl in default on utility bills; a teenager $750,000 in debt; and a 2-year-old with a pile of credit card bills. 
Protecting your children and helping them to make safer online decisions begins with a simple conversation and an ongoing dialogue about Internet safety. Use the Stop.Think.Connect. resources shown in the image to the right and follow the simple tips listed below to prepare yourself to talk with your children today. 
  • Create an open and honest environment with children and teens. 
  • Start conversations regularly about practicing online safety. 
  • Emphasize the concept of credibility: not everything on the Internet is true and people on the Internet may not be who they appear to be. 
  • Watch for changes in behavior- if your child suddenly avoids the computer- it may be a sign they are being bullied online. 
  • Review security settings and privacy policies for the websites kids frequent. 
  • Review your school’s acceptable use policy with them before they sign it.

If you or your child have been victimized online:
Notify your local authorities and file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at
If you think a site has collected information from your kids or marketed to them in a way that violates the law, report it to the FTC at

If someone has had inappropriate contact with your child, or a child you know, report it to and the local police.


As the 2012 graduation season is upon us, the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign reminds all grads on the job hunt to consider the information they share online.

Did you know 84% of U.S. recruiters think it’s proper to consider personal data posted online and to conduct online research using search engines and social networking sites when evaluating a candidate? In fact, 56% of companies acknowledge using social media sites to screen potential job candidates.

With newer digital applications on the rise, your schedules, hobbies, and even music tastes can be visible to others. As information shared on the Internet becomes increasingly accessible, it’s important to determine how you will portray yourself—your personal brand—online as you look for a new job.

Take the following steps to protect your online brand before you search and apply for jobs:

  • Rethink the Internet. The Internet isn’t a boundless cyber-playground for you and your friends to swap pictures and make weekend plans. Your former and future employers are likely surfing the web to find out more about you; even your grandparents may be online checking up on you. What you say and do is visible to others, and you can’t always take it back. 
  • Set-up Privacy Restrictions. Depending on your privacy settings, your social media network can have access to your photos, comments, check-ins, and status updates. Take the time to set up the appropriate settings for the various members of your network—keep your worlds separate by customizing what your close friends see versus what potential employers see. 
  • Manage your Online Brand. Perform an online search of your name. Consider setting up RSS feeds and alerts for searches on different variations of your name with your school(s), place(s) of employment, and other distinguishing details. On your social media accounts, regularly scan to see what pictures and content others are posting about you. 
  • For more information on how to manage your online brand, visit


The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign is collaborating with various organizations from academia, industry, and government—including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, D.A.R.E., InfraGard, 4-H, and YWCA—to plan and host interactive presentations, forums, and roundtable discussion to directly engage the greater Atlanta community in a dialogue about the dangers Americans face online. The Campaign invites all Georgians to play an active role in raising awareness about the cyber issues affecting the Atlanta metro community by taking steps to protect yourself, your family, and your community.

The Cyber Tours’ effectiveness depends on the willingness of communities to actively participate in Stop.Think.Connect.’s awareness efforts, and the Campaign encourages organizations as well as individuals to take leadership roles in the planning and implementation of Cyber Tour activities such as the ones listed below:

  • Work with DHS to host a Cyber Tour event at your organization. 
  • Invite DHS to attend and discuss cybersecurity at one of your organization’s existing events or meetings. 
  • Publicize Cyber Tour events and activities within your organization and community. 
  • Encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to attend and participate in scheduled Cyber Tour events. 
  • Collaborate with local public, private, or non-profit entities to promote Stop.Think.Connect. cyber tips and messages during and after the Cyber Tour. 
  • To date, Cyber Tours have been held in Massachusetts, Florida, and Minnesota. Upcoming Cyber Tours are scheduled for Atlanta, GA in August, and Omaha, NE in October as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. To get involved in Stop.Think.Connect. Cyber Tours, please contact the Campaign directly at


The Government Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (GFIRST) conference will be held in Atlanta, GA from August 19 – 24, 2012 and provides an opportunity for individuals with varying levels of technical knowledge to increase their understanding of cybersecurity and incident response. United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) sponsors the GFIRST conference that is designed to bring together public and private sector leaders serving in non-technical roles as well as information security and incident response practitioners that deal with cybersecurity issues.

The 2012 GFIRST Conference agenda includes a wide-range of classes addressing topics, such as introduction to control systems security, network security analysts training, and a cyber readiness exercise. The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign will be joining numerous other DHS speakers to participate in panel discussions, demonstrations, and hands-on learning activities. To view the complete agenda or register to attend, please visit

Cyber competitions—a new way to hire

According to the AARP, beginning on January 1, 2011, the first of the 76-million baby boomers began turning 65, making many of them eligible for retirement. However, when they leave the workforce, they take with them their extensive experience, leaving a potential knowledge gap. How do you fill that void and how can those who helped develop the cybersecurity field be replaced?

Cyber competitions are a fun, fast-paced, and innovative way to engage new talent. Competitions range in size, academic scope, duration and areas of talent. The excitement generated by these competitions also increases interest in cybersecurity careers and helps foster talent in potential cybersecurity professionals that might otherwise be unidentifiable through traditional means. Cyber competitions are cost-effective, expandable and provide a high return on investment. Companies that sponsor competitions have the opportunity to find potential candidates through “visual resumes,” essentially observing skills in action during competition. This can help build the future workforce because employers are able to see how individuals respond to real-life situations.

The DHS Cybersecurity Education Office is a champion for at least 35 competitions across the country and will work with its partners to launch the community repository to house a comprehensive list of all U.S.-based cyber competitions. The repository will open this list to the public via the National Institute for Cybersecurity Studies (NICS) Portal (coming in September 2012), which will be a government-developed cybersecurity website.

The NICS Portal will provide a way for potential participants to find specific competitions to test their skills, provide employers a means to locate competitions that test areas of talent they are interested in to hire from and sponsor, and for competition administrators to attract potential competitors and sponsors. In addition to building the repository, the Cybersecurity Education Office will analyze which cybersecurity skills and abilities the competitions test and align them to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Framework that is becoming the accepted standard for defining the cybersecurity field. Cyber competitions are an investment in the skills of the future cybersecurity workforce. To learn more, please contact Edward Nyack at


· “Like” the Stop.Think.Connect. Facebook Page at
· Follow us on the Department of Homeland Security’s Twitter accounts, @cyber to receive cybersecurity tips and resources and @dhsgov
· Visit for upcoming forum locations, cybersecurity tips, and new partnerships

Updated: June 19, 2012 — 6:42 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 24th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural southern Wyoming, just below the continental divide (long story, that...). Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, many social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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