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

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January 2014 Update


  • Data Privacy Day: Safeguard Your Information Online 
  • Flat Stanley Helps the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign
  • Federal Spotlight: DHS Blue Campaign Fights Human Trafficking
  • Partner Spotlights
  • New National Network and Cyber Awareness Coalition Partners Welcome

Data privacy day

Data Privacy Day: Safeguard Your Information

With the rise of Internet use, many people choose to share information with their family, friends, acquaintances, and with companies that run websites, social networking sites, and mobile applications (apps). Sometimes this sharing of information is deliberate, but other times people are unaware of how much, or what type, of information they have agreed to share.

 To commemorate National Data Privacy Day, on January 28, the Campaign encourages everyone to take a step back and look at their “digital footprint.” How much information are you sharing on social media? Do you know what information the mobile device apps you have downloaded can access? Is the information you make available enough to allow someone to gain access to your accounts or steal your identity?

Data Privacy Day is an annual awareness day observed all over the world to encourage everyone to protect their personal information. In the United States, Data Privacy Day is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign’s co-leader.

To help secure your online information, follow the simple tips below: 

  • Secure your devices. Keep your devices from prying eyes. Set passcodes or pass phrases (long passwords) to be sure only you can access your smartphone, tablet or PC.
  • Secure your accounts. Passwords are no longer the only protection from would-be hackers. When possible, enable two-factor authentication to add another layer of security. Some sites, such as Google, allow you to opt-in to two-factor authentication, which means you need both your password, and a passcode sent via text or email, to log into an account.
  • Make passwords long, strong and unique. Passwords should be different for each account, have as many characters as allowed and include numbers, symbols and letters, capital and lowercase.
  • Think before you app. Before downloading a mobile app, understand what information (such as your location, access to social networks, etc.) the app accesses.
  • Back it up. Store digital copies of your valuable work, music, photos and other information on an external hard drive or trusted online service.

Americans are becoming more aware of the privacy implications of being online. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 86% of Internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email.

For more tips on how to stay safe online, visit

Did You Know? Data Privacy Day is not just for the United States. Data Privacy Day, or Data Protection Day, is also observed in Canada and 27 European countries. The United States began commemorating National Data Privacy Day in 2008. 

Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley Helps the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign

Recently announced via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blog: the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign is joining the Flat Stanley Project to help kids learn about the importance of cybersecurity. By downloading and using the Flat Stanley App, kids will be able to create their own “Flat Stanley” or “Flat Stella” character and send it on a tour of the Internet to learn about staying safer online and helping spread the word about cybersecurity.

The Flat Stanley App can be useful for kids, parents, and teachers to start a discussion about online safety. With kids spending more time than ever before on the Internet and social media, the partnership with the Flat Stanley Project allows DHS to further its efforts to raise cybersecurity awareness among young Americans.

Here are a few simple tips kids will find on the app to help them remember to stay safer online:

  • Be careful about what information you share online and always ask an adult first.
  • Don’t talk to strangers online and never agree to meet in person. Tell a parent or another adult you trust if a stranger contacts you in a chat room or through email or text message.
  • Avoid sharing your passwords with anyone other than your parents.
  • Don’t open emails or download attachments from strangers.
  • Keep your personal information private; if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Treat others online like you want to be treated.

Federal Spotlight: DHS Blue Campaign Fights Human Trafficking

President Barack Obama proclaimed January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Slavery and human trafficking occur everywhere in the world, including in the United States. Several departments and agencies within DHS work on efforts to help prevent, protect, and respond to human trafficking activity. The DHS Blue Campaign is the department’s unified voice for DHS human trafficking efforts

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigates human trafficking, arrests traffickers, protects victims, and provides short-term immigration relief for foreign victims;
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection interdicts traffickers, protects victims, and disrupts human trafficking schemes at our borders;
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides long-term immigration relief to foreign victims of human trafficking through its T and U visas; and,
  • The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center coordinates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Office of Health Affairs to develop online human trafficking awareness training for law enforcement and first responders.

The Internet plays a big role in human trafficking. Criminals use the Internet to recruit their victims and sell their services. One of the ways DHS combats cyber-based human trafficking is through the HSI Cyber Crimes Center. As part of the Cyber Crimes Center, the Child Exploitation Unit focuses its investigations on criminals who operate on the Internet, including the use of websites, email, chat rooms and file-sharing applications.

Visit to take advantage of human trafficking awareness training for individuals, educators, first responders, and law enforcement. This training helps individuals learn the signs of human trafficking and where to report potential human trafficking activity so victims can get the help they need.

Partner Profiles



The NetSmartz Workshop is an interactive, educational program that provides age-appropriate resources to teach children how to be safer online.

NetSmartz is a program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC), a not-for-profit organization that works to keep children safer from abduction and child exploitation. To help children learn how to be safer online, NetSmartz Workshop provides age-appropriate resources designed for children ages 5-17. NetSmartz content is organized by kids, tweens, and teens, parents and guardians, educators, and law enforcement. These resources to teach safer online behavior include over 40 videos, downloadable presentations and tip sheets, games and comics. The goals of the NetSmartz Workshop are to:

  • Educate children on how to recognize potential Internet risks
  • Engage children and adults in a two-way conversation about on- and offline risks
  • Empower children to help prevent themselves from being exploited and to report victimization to a trusted adult

To access free age-appropriate resources for children, teens, parents and guardians, and educators, visit

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also encourages anyone who has information about potential child exploitation to share their tips via

Federal Trade Commission logo

Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is celebrating National Data Privacy Day. FTC’s Director, Jessica Rich, of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, will give the keynote speech at the Data Privacy Day Kickoff Event on January 28, 2014. FTC will also promote Data Privacy Day through blogs and social media and is providing materials to the U.S. Census Bureau for distribution at their Data Privacy Day event. Additionally, FTC will announce a new online safety resource at

Furthermore, FTC and its partners promoted Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week (January 13-17, 2014). FTC has resources such as sample presentations, articles, social media messages, and tips for people to share.

FTC encourages Stop.Think.Connect. Friends and partners to learn how to protect against tax identity theft by sharing FTC tips and guidance. Find more information about Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, including shareable resources and information about events, at up to receive blog posts. 

Welcome New National Network and Cyber Awareness Coalition Partners

The Campaign would like to welcome the newest National Network and Cyber Awareness Coalition partners who joined in the last quarter of 2013:

Stop.Think.Connect. feedback


Stop.Think.Connect. Resources




Twitter: @cyber@dhsgov, and @STOPTHNKCONNECT

Updated: January 28, 2014 — 2:35 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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