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Cyber Awareness

Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

The theme for 2022 in the Commonwealth of Virginia is "We’re all in.” Because we are all in on cybersecurity in Virginia.

We want to empower you with the awareness and tools you need to protect your part of cyberspace. This includes information on implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating vulnerable audiences or training employees.

Grant Opportunities

Federal cybersecurity grants

As part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, the Commonwealth of Virginia has applied for federal cybersecurity grants to help state, local and tribal public bodies address gaps in government cybersecurity programs.

Actions taken by the Commonwealth of Virginia

Driven by the increase in cyber threats, the grants do require states to cover a percentage of the costs with matching funds. Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly appropriated those state matching funds, more than $4.9 million.

With the application process now complete, VITA and our partners including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) serving as the State Administrative Agency (SAA), are collaborating with the cybersecurity planning committee, which was created in response to grant program requirements. The committee is developing and will approve the cybersecurity plan and priorities.

Please visit our Federal Cybersecurity Grants page for more information, list of members, and meeting schedules.

 

Cyber Resources and Community Outreach

Cyber criminals do not discriminate; they target vulnerable computer systems regardless of whether they are part of a large corporation, a small business or belong to a home user.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility in which all Virginians have a role to play. Check out these resources for students, parents, educators, and localities.

Available online resources all in one place.

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CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS PROGRAM GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

In order to provide thousands of essential public services ranging from disaster assistance to social security to water and electricity, all levels of government must ensure their cyber infrastructure is safe, secure, and resilient. Below, find resources and materials for state and local government officials and employees to get informed about cybersecurity.

CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS PROGRAM STUDENT RESOURCES

Regardless of how fast your fingers fly on a keyboard or cell phone, the best tool you have to help avoid risks online is your brain. Stop before you post, share, or send: do you trust the site you're on? How would you feel if your information ends up somewhere you didn’t intend? Below are some resources and materials to help you learn about safe cyber behavior.

  • Download activity sheets, books, and other age-appropriate resources for preschool aged kids 3 to 7 years old on Savvy Cyber Kids.
  • Play games as you navigate through the islands of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Safe Online Surfing program for 3 – 8 grade students.
  • Take a bite out of cybercrime with the National Crime Prevention Council’s McGruff the Crime Dog and sign McGruff’s Internet Safety Pledge (PDF, 1 page, 23 KB).
  • Learn about the online issues affecting kids, tweens, and teens from NetSmartz, a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
  • Learn how to protect yourself, your family, and your devices with tips and resources from the National Cyber Security Alliance.
  • Check out the National Centers of Academic Excellence for information on higher education in information assurance programs to meet America's growing demand for cybersecurity professionals.
  • Follow ten simple, customized steps from the Federal Communications Commission’s Smartphone Security Checker to secure your mobile phone. In addition, learn how to safely use public Wi-Fi networks and what steps to take if your phone is stolen.

CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS PROGRAM PARENT RESOURCES

When your child wants to go over to a new friend’s house, you probably ask questions. Who else is going? Will the parents be home? We should be having the same discussion with our kids about their Internet use. Which websites are okay to visit? What kind of information is acceptable—and more importantly, what is not—to share online? Below, find resources and materials to help you start the discussion with your kids.

General Education Resources

  • Learn how to avoid scams, protect your identity, and secure your computer with tips from the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) OnGuard Online.
  • Get videos, presentations, and other educational resources for educators and parents to discuss cybersecurity with kids and teens from NetSmartz, a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
  • Find tips and resources on how to become a good digital parent from the Family Online Safety Institute.
  • Start an internet safety dialogue with ebooks, events, articles, and more from ConnectSafely, iKeepSafe, and Savvy Cyber Kids.
  • Protect yourself and your family from online fraud with tips from org, a project of the National Consumers League.

CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS PROGRAM EDUCATOR RESOURCES

Which websites are okay to visit? What kind of information is acceptable—and more importantly, what is not—to share online? Below, find resources and materials to help you start the discussion with your students.

School Resources

  • Integrate cyber education into your home or classroom through the Cyber Security Awareness Volunteer Education (C-SAVE) program’s scenario-based curriculum for K-12 students.
  • Request an Internet safety presentation for your school or community through Project iGuardian, an effort between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) directorate, NCMEC, and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
  • Get videos, presentations, and other educational resources for educators and parents to discuss cybersecurity with kids and teens from NetSmartz, a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

We’re all in

#CybersecurityAwarenessMonth2022

We are excited to share information for Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CSAM) 2022. 

As the month progresses, we’ll add resources that you can use to customize your CSAM activities and communications. If you have any questions, email us at vitacomms@vita.virginia.gov.

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