Mary Ann Borgeson, chair of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Cyber security Task Force, hosted the first of four cybersecurity webinars to kick off  National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Presenting were Erin Meehan, a deputy director in the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division; Kristin Judge, executive director of the Trusted Purchasing Alliance at the Center for Internet Security; and Chris Boyer of AT&T, who is National Cyber Security Alliance board president.

The focus of the initial webinar was something called the "Stop, Think, Connect" campaign, a sort of "Smokey the Bear" unifying message  for cybersecurity, according to Boyer. The idea is to avoid clicking on everything that comes your way, to stop and think about it, and thus help prevent the spread of viruses, phishing scams, malware and other security troubles.

The webinar was short on specific tools and long on how to raise awareness, but that seemed to be the right approach to start. Attendees heard a lot about various campaigns, proclamations, posters, and other helpful materials to inform consumers. Presenters emphasized that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, that every computer user has a part to play in guarding against threats. Presenters also talked about basic precautions such as keeping anti-virus software up to date and using strong passwords.

Attendees asked several questions about templates, guides and safeguarding wireless connectivity. Judge recommended  the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center's resources. In addition, there is a new White House guide for "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) that helps to safely integrate personal mobile devices into IT systems.

Government Technology's December issue will contain a "Cybersecurity Guide for Cities and Counties." The next NACo webinar in the series is Oct. 10, and will focus on cyber crime, policy and law enforcement.

Wayne Hanson  |  Staff Writer and Editor of Digital Communities

Wayne E. Hanson has been a writer and editor with e.Republic since 1989, and has worked for several business units including Government Technology magazine, the Center for Digital Government, Governing, and is currently editor and writer for Digital Communities specializing in local government. Hanson was a juror from 1999 to 2004 with the Stockholm Challenge and Global Junior Challenge competitions in information technology and education. He self-published three books of fiction and lives in Sacramento with his wife, Jeannie.