Helping Consumers Stay Safe Online

Posted by: Chris Boyer on October 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm

For the past several months, I have represented AT&T on the board of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) — a public- private partnership focused on improving online safety awareness and education for consumers.  To kick off Cybersecurity Awareness month, the NCSA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security co-hosted an event this past Monday in Seattle, where White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt unveiled a new national cybersecurity awareness campaign called Stop. Think. Connect.

Stop. Think. Connect. is designed  to answer President Obama’s  call for the creation of a national public awareness campaign that would achieve for cybersecurity what the “Smokey Bear” campaign did for forest fire prevention.  For more than a year, AT&T, along with other members of the industry, government agencies and non-profit organizations have worked closely to develop uniform, simple easy-to-understand actionable messaging that consumers can employ to protect themselves online.

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It Takes a Village

Posted by: Chris Boyer on September 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Cybersecurity.  Cyberwarfare.  Cyber criminals. The words alone are unnerving and the issues they raise are challenging and deeply complex.  I’ve been working in this area for a while now and I’m still amazed by its ever-changing landscape.  Protecting our nation’s networks is critical and a top priority for network operators as well as regulators and lawmakers.  But the entire Internet ecosystem – and that includes applications, devices and users – play integral roles in effective cybersecurity.  Indeed, it takes a village.

As we approach Cybersecurity Awareness Month, you’ll be hearing a great deal more about the issue, from the government, industry, consumer groups and others.

At AT&T, cybersecurity is something we think about 24/7.  So, I thought today that I would highlight recent comments we filed on the matter with both the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  I’ll try not to get too far in the weeds but I want to draw attention to some important issues policymakers are grappling with and the potential effects they could have in this very sensitive area.

We agree with the cyber attack finding in this IBM report that the primary vulnerabilities occur at the software, application, device and user layers. And according to a study conducted by Verizon, 87% of data breaches were considered avoidable through the use of reasonable controls.

Cyber criminals are increasingly exploiting user carelessness and naïveté.  One of the top ten security threat trends for 2010 identified by Symantec was the use of social engineering.  Attackers are going directly after the end user and attempting to trick them into downloading malware or divulging sensitive information.  And the challenges are complicated by the evolving nature of cyber threats.  

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Cybersecurity and the National Broadband Plan

Posted by: Margaret Boles on March 18, 2010 at 8:19 am

Authored By Jim Bugel, AT&T Assistant Vice President, Public Safety and Homeland Security

BugelAs we continue to sift through the details of the FCC’s 300-plus page National Broadband Plan, one clear theme that stands out is the Commission’s commitment to address cybersecurity.  As more and more consumers gain access to broadband and incorporate it in their daily lives and as more and more applications in areas such as education and healthcare seek to realize broadband’s full potential, cybersecurity will become an even more important aspect of telecommunications policy.

Cybersecurity is an extremely complex challenge with many and varied dimensions.  It involves policy and social issues, as well as the ever-changing technology and architecture of the global digital infrastructure.   It involves not only our own networks for which we are responsible but the many varieties of end users’ devices and the applications and software consumers and businesses use, the access points that connect these devices to the global infrastructure, protocols which permit communication between applications and devices, and the content people want to post or access.

For AT&T, cybersecurity is a responsibility we take with extreme seriousness every second of every day.  Like our competitors, we have put in place robust systems within our core network infrastructure designed to detect and mitigate cyber attacks against our infrastructure and to tackle emerging threats.   We offer an extensive set of managed security services to our business and government customers, and we look to expand this capability to serve individual consumers as well. 

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