[ISN] U.S. Gov't Plans Internet Security Ads

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Fri Oct 24 2003 - 00:34:14 PDT

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    Forwarded from: William Knowles <wk@private>
    By Brian Krebs
    washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
    Thursday, October 23, 2003
    Consumers who ignore advice about how to protect themselves against 
    hackers, viruses and fraudsters online will soon find it harder to 
    tune out thanks to a nationwide media blitz being crafted by the 
    Department of Homeland Security and a group of high-tech companies.
    The advertising campaign is designed to educate home and small 
    business computer users about the importance of using firewalls and 
    anti-virus software, as well as defending against online fraud. It is 
    expected to debut next year on television and radio spots and in 
    magazines, newspapers and movie theaters throughout the country.
    The $1.8 million program is the brainchild of officials at the 
    Homeland Security Department and the National Cyber Security Alliance, 
    a group of more than 50 technology companies including America Online, 
    Apple, Cisco, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp. The group plans to begin 
    producing the campaign next year with the help of celebrities and 
    prominent spokespeople.
    The ads will hammer home a message that so far has eluded many 
    computer users, said Tatiana Gau, chief trust officer at AOL. The 
    alliance in a June study found that roughly 67 percent of high-speed 
    Internet users do not use firewalls. More than 60 percent of those 
    surveyed said they did not keep their anti-virus software updated 
    against the most current viruses and worms.
    "This is about getting into the home of the consumer so that they 
    can't turn a blind eye to this message anymore," she said.
    The campaign is producing the messages with the aid of the Ad Council, 
    which uses $60 million a year in donated advertising space to conduct 
    public service campaigns.
    So far, the alliance has raised more than $500,000. It announced today 
    that the Homeland Security Department will match contributions up to 
    $650,000. The matching funds will come from the department's 2004 
    Orson Swindle, a Republican commissioner on the Federal Trade 
    Commission, said the large number of people affected by online fraud 
    and the recent spate of viruses and worms show just how much education 
    needs to be done.
    "It's going to take a lot of repetition to get this message across," 
    Swindle said. "We've got to keep hitting them so that we capture their 
    attention at some time."
    The consumer education campaign is a key pillar of the Bush 
    administration's cybersecurity strategy, a document released in 
    February that favors industry-government initiatives over federal 
    regulation as the best way to shield businesses and consumers from 
    cyber threats.
    Mike Jacobs, former deputy director for information systems security 
    at the National Security Agency, said the program should help the 
    Homeland Security Department blunt criticism that its plan would do 
    little to protect the individual Web users from hackers and viruses.
    "The best the department can do is keep consumers reasonably well 
    informed about threats and risks, both online and offline, and DHS 
    would be in a position to command attention simply because of where 
    they sit and what their perceived role is," Jacobs said.
    The ads will steer consumers to the alliance's Web site which hosts a 
    variety of resources to help consumers protect themselves online.
    Richard Clarke, the White House's former cybersecurity adviser, 
    applauded the effort, saying more people need to understand that poor 
    security affects everyone because hackers frequently take control over 
    poorly secured computers to launch attacks against other systems.
    "Too many people have DSL and cable connections who don't have 
    firewalls installed or don't have current anti-virus because they 
    thought it came with the computer," Clarke said. "These people are 
    putting everyone at risk."
    "Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
    without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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