US’s huge new ‘Stop. Think. Connect’ campaign

By Anne Collier

Smokey Bear has been replaced. Well, at least his slogan. A broad coalition of federal government agencies, businesses, and cybersecurity advocates wants this slogan – “Stop. Think. Connect” – ringing in everybody’s ears as reflexively as “Only YOU can prevent forest fires” once did (I don’t want to admit that I remember that). Of course, not everyone finds the slogan compelling – see why it gets Wired’s thumbs down. The milestone public-awareness campaign that launched this week “stems directly from President Obama’s May 2009 pronouncement that the US will assume a leadership role in making the Internet safer,” USATODAY reports. “Overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, the coalition includes Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Intel, AT&T, Visa, PayPal, Wal-Mart, Costco, the Department of Justice and the IRS among its 28 founding members.” For its part, Facebook has created a little Security Quiz for users to test their security savvy. It’s not too hard, and anybody who takes it is a winner. [To the question about making one’s personal info available, make sure your kids don’t (sincerely) answer: “Provide whatever is necessary to see that hilarious video.”] Why, your kids might ask, make such a big deal about cybersecurity? Tell them, “We don’t want our household computers turned into zombies that criminals can control remotely. That could let malicious hackers steal from our family, businesses like banks and stores, and classified information from our government. We help our family and everybody if we’re smart about this.” USATODAY reports that “one estimate puts identity theft losses, much of it due to online scams, at $4.5 billion in the past two years, making it the fastest-growing crime in America,” and a new worldwide cybercrime study sponsored by Norton Online Family found that two-thirds (65%) of us Internet users worldwide have been affected by cybercrime.

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