FCC Launches Cybersecurity Education Initiative

The FCC Monday launched a cybersecurity awareness program, including 10 cybersecurity tips. That came as the White House was announcing a number of cybersecurity initiatives.
The effort was kicked off at an FCC forum on cybersecurity and small businesses Monday, though a new 10-item tip sheet could apply to businesses big and small.

The FCC effort includes a new section on its Web site with cybersecurity advice for small businesses -- its initial target - -as well as the tip sheet, which it will distribute through various outside groups including SCORE and the Urban League, cybersecurity companies McAfee and Symantec, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The FCC is also joining the public/private National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), which runs the "Stop. Think. Connect." campaign.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski also used the forum to put in a plug for broadband deployment, saying that was why the FCC was revamping the Universal Service Fund -- to support broadband -- and trying to free up spectrum for wireless broadband, saying that was why it was pushing for incentive auction legislation, which the Senate Commerce Committee is trying to vote out of committee by the end of this month.

But the forum's focus was on what small businesses could do to leverage the Internet without getting hammered by malware or viruses or phishing expeditions. The forum included the very personal story of a construction company official whose business had been caught in a financial info phishing expedition.

The chairman said his key take-away from the event was the statistic that half of small businesses don't have a cybersecurity plan. Given that two-thirds of the new jobs in the last 15 years were created by small businesses and that those businesses generated "13 times more patents per employee than large ones," he suggested getting with the plan, as it were, was key to continued job creation and innovation, two of his key talking points in the broadband push.

The FCC proposed a number of cybersecurity steps in the National Broadband Plan, including expanding reporting of network outages to VOiP and other broadband phone service platforms. The FCC took action on that item at its public meeting last week.

For the record, the 10 cybersecurity tips were 1) train employees in security, 2) protect yourself from virus and malware, 3) have a firewall, 4) install those software updates and upgrades, 5) make backup copies of information, 6) control physical access to computers, 7) secure Wi-Fi networks, 8) require employees to have user accounts, 9) limit employee access and 10) change passwords regularly.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.