Posted by Eric Wenger 
Policy Counsel for Cyber Security, Standards and Interoperability

This morning, I had the privilege of attending the 2009 launch event for National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which featured Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as well as senior leaders from the White House, Department of Defense, U.S. Secret Service and FBI. The event was hosted by the National Cyber Security Alliance, of which Microsoft was an original member. 

President Obama today issued a proclamationrecognizing the importance of this effort, and earlier this week, the U.S. Senate agreed to a resolutionsupporting the goals of National Cyber Security Awareness month.

We all rely on computers and the Internet every day to organize our lives, conduct business, communicate with our government and socialize.  Given how important these electronic resources have become, we all need to be vigilant about cyber security throughout the year.  However, having a month dedicated to cyber security allows us to elevate awareness of the role each of us must play to keep our data and our networks secure. And so, every year since 2001, the Alliance mounts a national public awareness campaign in October to encourage individuals and businesses to protect their computers and our nation’s critical cyber infrastructure.

This year’s theme is, “Our Shared Responsibility.” The Internet is a network of networks.  We connect to it from computers in our homes, schools, libraries -- even from the phones in our pockets.  What makes the resulting network so resilient and powerful is that no individual, business, or government owns or controls it. But that also means there is no one person or entity responsible for securing it.  The responsibility is shared among all of us who connect to the Internet. We each need to secure the part of the network and those devices we own or control. 

Microsoft is working hard to protect our shared digital future by designing, assessing, and updating our products to make them as safe and secure as possible.  We are also taking concrete steps to help you do your part:

1)      Microsoft has been providing online safety information for over a decade.  We have recently redesigned our Consumer Online Safety Education site to focus on current topics that are of concern to the public.

2)      Earlier this week, Microsoft, in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Western Union announced a series of online public service announcements (PSAs) to help protect consumers from scams related to mortgage foreclosure rescue offers, credit repair and fake lotteries. The search advertising-driven PSAs will appear on Bing when users conduct searches using terms that could expose them to online scams.

3)      This week, Microsoft also announced that it is making available a free download to help users protect home PCs that are running Windows.  Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection that helps guard against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It takes minutes to install, is easy to use is updated regularly with the latest technology as new threats emerge.

We look forward to participating in additional events throughout the month.  For additional information about keeping your family safe online, please visit www.StaySafeOnline.org and www.onguardonline.gov.