TIPS: Stop.Think.Connect. April Update (DHS)


April 2013 Update


  • DHS Spotlight: Science and Technology Directorate Cyber Security Division 
  • Preparing Our Youth to Face the Challenges and Opportunities of an Interconnected World
  • Cyber Competitions—A New Way to Engage Students 
  • Stop.Think.Connect. Celebrates National Boys & Girls Club Week
  • Stop.Think.Connect. Commemorates National D.A.R.E. Day

Innovation Sign

DHS Component Spotlight: Science and Technology Directorate Cyber Security Division

Innovation is needed to protect the Nation’s critical networks and information and to promote the evolution of a healthy cyber ecosystem. Because cyber threats evolve at such a rapid rate, it is important to support the development of forward thinking solutions.

In support of cyber innovation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Cyber Security Division provides coordination and research and development leadership among federal, state, and municipal government, international partners, the private sector, and academia to improve cybersecurity research infrastructure.

In 2011, S&T’s Cyber Security Division received a National Cybersecurity Innovation Award for the Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) project. DNSSEC technology protects the public by ensuring that websites visited are real and not phony. The S&T Cyber Security Division was recognized for its innovation in promoting “research that pays off through a process that continually calls upon researchers to focus on work that can result in real products and real risk reduction.” Read the official press release.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a crucial piece of Internet infrastructure that serves as the Internet’s phonebook translating human-readable host names into IP addresses. By blocking bogus page elements and flagging pages whose DNS identity has been hijacked, DNSSEC technology helps prevent theft of users’ login names, passwords, and other personal information. Read more about theDNSSEC project.

S&T’s Cyber Security Division contributes to enhancing the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure and the Internet by driving security improvements to address critical weaknesses, discovering new solutions for emerging cybersecurity threats, and delivering new, tested technologies to defend against cyber security threats.

The Cyber Security Division’s work serves a wide range of customers by coordinating and cooperating with partners within DHS and at other federal agencies, state and municipal administrators and first responders, private sector companies in a wide range of industries, Internet security researchers around the world, and universities and national laboratories.

To learn more about S&T’s Cyber Security Division, visit:

Student raising hand

Preparing Our Youth to Face the Challenges and Opportunities of an Interconnected World

Some of us may remember life before the Internet. The youth of today, however, will have a hard time imagining life without it. In the 21st century almost all aspects of society rely on computers and the Internet making us more interconnected than ever before.  

The Internet offers a world of opportunity for the rising generation. From endless sources of news and information to various platforms for sharing photos and videos – children and teens are sharing and accessing information from various devices including smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, laptops, and desktop computers.  

As technology rapidly advances, it is important for parents, educators, community youth leaders, and law enforcement to help students understand the potential risks online. Additionally, it is our responsibility to help develop a technologically savvy cybersecurity workforce capable of competing on a global level and sustaining America’s leadership position in the world. All of us can take part in the shared responsibility to educate our youth about online safety. 

The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign commends its youth-serving National Network partners for their efforts to promote safer and more secure online behavior among America’s children and teens. For example, the National Association of Secondary School Principals uses the Digital Principal Award to encourage technology innovation in the classroom by recognizing principals who exhibit bold, creative leadership in their drive to harness the potential of new technologies. Non-profit organizations, such asBoys & Girls Clubs of AmericaD.A.R.E. AmericaGirl Scouts of the USANational Association of Secondary School PrincipalsNational Association for School CouncilsNational Honor Society, and4-H, have incorporated Stop.Think.Connect. messages into their youth-focused programs. Ongoing efforts such as these will help provide today’s youth with opportunities for a better tomorrow.

Helping protect our next generation of leaders goes far beyond the streets and playgrounds; it includes virtual Internet communities. Take time to start an ongoing Internet safety dialogue today using the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit.

Cyber Competition Students

Cyber Competitions—A New Way to Engage Students

According to a July 2011 report by the Department of Commerce, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations, which are often correlated with cybersecurity careers, are projected to grow by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations.

The report also states that “STEM workers are also less likely to experience joblessness than their non-STEM counterparts.” Although these findings reflect an optimistic future for STEM students, many become disillusioned by the vision of working a lifetime in front of a computer.

So what can you do to make sure students actually enjoy learning about cyber or STEM? Simple: cyber competitions!

Cyber competitions are interactive, scenario-based events or exercises that help participating individuals develop cybersecurity skills and increase interest within the cybersecurity field. They foster talent in potential cybersecurity professionals who might otherwise be unidentifiable through traditional academic means and encourage mentor-led atmospheres where participants can practice and hone cybersecurity skills in a controlled, real-world environment.

For sponsors, cyber competitions are cost-effective ventures that yield a high return on investment by providing employers the opportunity to find potential candidates through observing students’ “visual résumés.”  Through cyber competitions, observers can evaluate the students’ skills in practical, stressful, competitive, real-time action.

Additionally, cyber competitions bring students, educators, and academic administrators together in a collaborative environment where cutting edge practices, technology, and advancements can be shared and discussed. Cyber competitions are growing in popularity, and the U.S. houses some of the largest competitions in the world. Cyber competitions will become increasingly important as the demand for cybersecurity professionals continues to expand. Cyber competitions are an investment in the skills of the future cybersecurity workforce.

Learn more about cyber competitions or find one near you by visiting the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) Portal at

Boys & Girls Clubs Week

Stop.Think.Connect. Celebrates National Boys & Girls Club Week

For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs have opened doors to a brighter tomorrow. Through a mix of fun, educational, and character-building programs, as well as guidance from caring adults, Boys & Girls Clubs help kids realize their full potential. During National Boys & Girls Club Week, we celebrate the profound power of Clubs to build great futures for kids.

As a member of the Stop.Think.Connect. National Network since 2011, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has promoted cybersecurity awareness education to youth across the country, helping them make smarter and safer online decisions. Some efforts include:

  • Working with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, NetSmartz, and NS teens programs to teach Internet safety skills through multimedia activities and offline interaction with Club professionals.
  • Providing resources to train Club professionals and leaders to promote safer Internet and media use at Clubs, including social networking and cell phone use.
  • Celebrating Internet safety month in June with promotion, grants, and events at local Clubs.
  • Hosting, a fun, safe teen website with information on media safety.
  • Collaborating with Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign to host interactive focus groups at its National Keystone Conference and other events.

Join the celebration and take a virtual tour of a Boys & Girls Club by clicking here. For more on Boys & Girls Clubs of America, click here. For cybersecurity tips, visit  

D.A.R.E. Logo

Stop.Think.Connect. Commemorates National D.A.R.E. Day

National D.A.R.E. Day is an event that encourages Americans to work together to raise a safer and healthier generation of 21st-Century leaders. Commemorated annually since 1988, National D.A.R.E. Day is a nationwide effort to promote drug abuse education for today’s youth.

In recognition of National D.A.R.E. Day, the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign would like to thank all D.A.R.E. officers for working to keep American communities safer, both online and off.

D.A.R.E. America has been a member of the Stop.Think.Connect. National Network since 2011 and has worked to increase cybersecurity awareness across the country by coordinating school events in Miami, Florida; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Stop.Think.Connect. has trained over 1,500 D.A.R.E. officers on teaching cybersecurity in the community. Additionally, the Campaign has worked with members of the D.A.R.E. Youth Advisory Board Members to become cybersecurity advocates to their peers.

Stop.Think.Connect. offers the following tips for families, educators, and law enforcement to help make the Internet a safer and more secure place for everyone.

  • Create an open and honest environment with kids; start conversations regularly about practicing online safety.
  • Emphasize the concept of credibility: not everything they see 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 visit. These settings are frequently updated so check back regularly.

For more on D.A.R.E. America, click here. For more cybersecurity tips,

Feedback BoxStop.Think.Connect. Resources

Updated: April 17, 2013 — 11:07 am

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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