SAN FRANCISCO -- U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has issued a contest to the IT security community that asks for ideas on how to develop a public education campaign on cyber-readiness.

She asked IT professionals attending Wednesday's events at the annual RSA Conference on information security for help in framing a massive messaging campaign designed to make Americans more educated and diligent about keeping their own devices more secure.

"We want you to develop your own approach to a clear and compelling message for the American public," she said during an afternoon speech about the Obama administration's cyber-security efforts. "We would like to gauge in that approach with a competition to gather and share the most creative ideas for making the public more cyber-secure, more cyber-smart, more cyber-assured."

Details on the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign Challenge are available at Entries will be judged on teamwork and partnership, use of Web 2.0 technology and privacy protections. Finalists will be invited to a special event in Washington, D.C., this spring, and the DHS will put its power behind spreading the message that's chosen in an October launch. The contest closes April 30.

Napolitano told listeners that they should think big if they want to compete.

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Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  | 

Hilton Collins is a former staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines.