All computer users, not just those working in government or industry, can play an important role in defending the country’s digital networks from cyberattacks, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano said during a Webcast yesterday.
The secretary's cyberaddress promoted DHS' 6th Annual Cyber Security Awareness Month. The theme this time around is "our shared responsibility"—a point Napolitano consistently emphasized.
While cyber security is an urgent national security priority, Napolitano said, protecting the nation’s interconnected networks requires all Americans. She noted that cyber infections often spread from one computer to other machines and networks, stressing how important it is for citizens to do their part to clean up their "cyber hygiene."
Businesses, schools, and home users can do this by taking some basic security steps to promote cybersecurity 365 days a year, including turning on computers’ automatic updating, ensuring that anti-malware programs are current, using firewalls, and backing up key files. (You can find Napolitano's basic precautions online as well as other ways to support national cybersecurity here
Napolitano also spoke of increasing efforts by the government and private sector to jointly combat cybercrime and cyberespionage. By some estimates, she said, 85 percent of the country’s networks are private-sector owned. The government needs the private sector’s talent and experience, she said. Earlier this month, DHS announced plans to hire more than 1,000 cyber security professionals for roles including analysis, incident response, and vulnerability detection and assessment.
♦ Graphic from DHS