Stop. Think. Connect: Microsoft, government and industry join forces to promote online safety

Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere
Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications – Privacy & Online Safety

National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October is the designated time of year when individuals and organizations are encouraged to take stock of computing security and their online habits and practices, to help provide a safer, more secure and trusted experience – for themselves, their families, companies and businesses, even nation-states.

This year, NCSAM is even more compelling than years past, as it marks the launch of Stop. Think. Connect., a messaging platform that several members of the high-tech industry, businesses, government agencies, and non-profits will use when communicating about computing security, privacy and online safety.  These organizations will also be touting the notion:  Safer for me, more secure for all, to demonstrate that taking steps to help ensure personal online safety and security can reap rewards across cyberspace.

The messaging work started with a request from the White House; the President called for a national public awareness campaign for computing safety and security, similar to what Smokey Bear did for helping to prevent forest fires.   The White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly spearheaded the effort on the public side.  On the private side, it was the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) that led the Online Consumer Security and Safety Messaging Convention, now known as the “Stop.  Think.  Connect.” Messaging Convention.  

Here’s a current list of members:  ADP, AT&T, AVG, Costco, ESET, Facebook, Google, Intel, Intuit, McAfee, PayPal, RSA, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Symantec, Trend Micro, Microsoft, Verizon, VeriSign, Visa, Walmart, Yahoo!, and a number of federal agencies and departments, namely: the Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, and Justice; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service.

Agreeing to this framework was no small feat.  Take it from me, someone who’s worked on industry-wide messaging attempts in the past.  Even with the highest enthusiasm and the best intentions, such initiatives usually start, stop, restart (maybe), falter and fall through for various reasons – chief among them lack of leadership and insufficient funding.  But, Stop. Think. Connect., is – and will be – different.

The Convention is a shining example of public/private cooperation. With Stop.Think.Connect. I believe we’ll see member companies and new partners work to get the word out, and encourage individuals, families and organizations to ensure they are following certain steps to help get the most from their online experiences.

So, hats off to DHS, NCSA, APWG, and all the members of the Convention.  Now, it’s time to get people to take a moment to pause and think – to ensure they’re getting the most from their online experience.

Click here for a list of the Convention’s recommended online safety tips: Stop.Think.Connect Online Safety Tips.

To learn more about what Microsoft does to help keep you, your family and your business safer and more secure online, please visit www.microsoft.com/protect.  You can also follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/Safer_Online) and view some of our videos at www.YouTube.com/MSFTOnlineSafety.

About the Author

Microsoft News Center Staff