Jacqueline Beauchere, Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, writes on the Microsoft on the Issues blog:

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in the U.S. and around the world. This year's official launch is taking place in Ypsilanti, Michigan to coincide with the Michigan Cyber Summit 2011.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, other state officials, and I shared the stage just a few hours ago kicking off NCSAM 2011. I represented Microsoft, as well as the Board of Directors of the National Cyber Security Alliance, who are long-time sponsors of NCSAM and an important public-private partnership of which Microsoft is a founding member.

This year's NCSAM theme, “Our Shared Responsibility,” refers to the ongoing work each of us can do to help secure our own piece of cyberspace—because when it comes to making the Internet safer, no individual, corporation or government entity is solely responsible. Moreover, individual acts and omissions can have a combined impact. When we exercise safer habits and practices, we help make the Web more secure for all. If each of us does our part, whether it be implementing stronger security, raising awareness of risks, or educating youth—together we can create a more resilient digital world.

It all starts with STOP. THINK. CONNECT. (STC), a simple, action-oriented reminder for all of us to stay safer and more secure online. In fact, it was just one year ago that, the White House, DHS and a public-private coalition launched STC in Seattle as part of NCSAM 2010. In short, STC means:

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STOP: Before going online, learn about the risks and how to avoid potential problems.

THINK: Take a moment to check that the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions (or inactions) might impact your safety or security or that of your family.

CONNECT: Enjoy the Internet with increased confidence, knowing that you’ve taken some key steps to help safeguard yourself, your family, information and devices.

At Microsoft, we refer to these efforts as fostering “digital citizenship,” and we promote and share this work globally. Specifically, we create and offer, free of charge, a host of resources on our consumer safety website. These include a series of STC videos, one of which was honored by the White House and DHS earlier this year. We also help spread the STC message via our social media properties on Facebook and YouTube.

In the weeks to come, we will participate in other NCSAM events across the U.S., and hold our own forum in Washington, D.C., on October 27th. There, Trustworthy Computing will release new online safety research, as well as a toolkit of helpful resources for youth, parents, governments and educators.

Join us in our digital citizenship efforts to help create a culture of online safety where everyone embraces this shared responsibility.