In October, when most people are thinking of pumpkins and changing leaves, we’re thinking of cybersecurity and we’re not alone.  Joining with other members of the industry, government and non-profit organizations, we’re celebrating National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Earlier today, I participated in the official kickoff event for the month, the 2011 Michigan Cyber Summit, which AT&T sponsored.  The event was hosted by Governor Rick Snyder and included speakers such as Secretary Janet Napolitano, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, and Congressmen John Dingell, Mike Rogers, and Hansen Clarke.

The theme for this year, which was echoed throughout the event, is “shared responsibility” – everyone can play a role in helping our cyberspace stay secure.  We agree and that’s why we not only work hard to keep our networks safe, but we make sure consumers have the information and tools they need as well to help themselves stay safe online.

During a panel discussion with representatives from Google, Comcast and Symantec, I mentioned how cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving.  But as those threats are evolving, we’re constantly innovating.  We’re investing significant resources to increase the security of our customers’ private information, our networks and our portion of the nation’s infrastructure to protect against cyber threats.  Our goal is to stay one step ahead of the hackers.

Cybersecurity is so important to us that we’re using this month as an opportunity to remind our customers once again about the importance of making sure they (and their information) are safe online.

We’re including awareness messages in both English and Spanish on consumer billing statements throughout October and November.  And we’ll be distributing the National Cyber Security Alliance PSAs via our U-verse TV platform.   Another way we’re having an impact in the community is by engaging our employees to help spread the word through NCSA’s C-SAVE program, enabling employee volunteers across the country to teach children and adults important online safety practices.  And to help state and local government customers better secure citizen and government data, AT&T sponsored the development of a cybersecurity guidebook.

We take our part of shared responsibility seriously and we’re proud of the work we do to keep our customers safe online.  Cybersecurity is an issue that goes beyond one month, but October provides a good opportunity to focus public attention on the issue and make sure all parties who share in the responsibility are engaged.  It’s events like today’s that encourage us to see how all the many parties – industry, government, non-profit organizations and consumers — can work together in making sure we keep a safe and secure cyberspace for everyone.

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