WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Susan Collins congratulated a Maine volunteer organization, MyMainePrivacy, for winning the 2010 Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Challenge in the category of Best Local/Community Plan. The Maine initiative tied for first-place with a submission from San Diego, California.
As DHS noted in its awards statement, “Both proposals offered innovated strategies for grassroots collaborative approaches with state and local government, public and private sector, and the academic community through their online classroom style trainings.”
Senator Collins praised the Maine group for its Yankee ingenuity, innovation and spirit of volunteerism. “Having an initiative from Maine win one of these top national awards truly says something significant about the technological sophistication of our state,” she said.
As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Collins is at the center of significant cybersecurity proposals. She and Senators Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Tom Carper, D-Del., introduced comprehensive, bipartisan cybersecurity legislation to protect the nation’s digital assets. The legislation, “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act,” (S.3480) was approved unanimously by the Committee on June 24 and will promote unparalleled coordination among law enforcement, intelligence agencies, our military, and the private owners and operators of critical infrastructure.
“I am very proud of the Maine people involved in MyMainePrivacy for having the creativity and initiative to develop an award-winning plan that will make a difference in our communities and in our state,” Senator Collins said. “Their teamwork shows the civic magic that can happen when a group of dedicated people get together to have a positive impact. I salute them and their good works.”
The awards were announced last week by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano at the White House. The National Cybersecurity Awareness Challenge called on members of the public and private sector companies to develop creative and innovative ways to enhance awareness of the importance of cybersecurity and safeguard America’s computer systems and networks from attacks.
“Everyone has a stake in cybersecurity, and everyone has a role to play in keeping our networks safe,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The winners of the Cybersecurity Awareness Challenge are being recognized for their unique, innovative ideas to raise public awareness about one of our nation’s most pressing security threats.”
The National Cybersecurity Awareness Challenge received more than 80 proposals, from which seven were selected and recognized at the White House ceremony. The winning proposals will help inform the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign.
Led by DHS, the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign is designed to engage the American public, the private sector and state and local governments in efforts to guard against cyber threats and communicate strategies for the public to help keep themselves, their families and communities safer online.
The Campaign will kick off in October 2010, in conjunction with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Angelo Castigliola III, Systems Analyst at Unum, accepted Maine’s award. He described MyMainePrivacy as a voluntary committee of Maine professionals and university students organized to discuss cybersecurity with the local community and state. Partnering with 172 different organizations and businesses, the MyMainePrivacy campaign plans to reach out to 400,000 Maine residents during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is this October.
He said the award “really shows that Maine is on the cutting edge of these important issues surrounding technology. I think it really says a lot about the state of Maine to win an award such as this.”
He said the initiative’s primary focus is to “educate Maine residents and businesses about cybercrime prevention and to reduce undue fear of cybercrime, by providing accurate information about risks. Our secondary focus is to promote a sense of security and community spirit, particularly among the more vulnerable members of the community. We will reach our primary and secondary focus through voluntary activities and awareness campaigns.”
The group also is working with the Maine 4-H, the Small Business Administration, the Maine Small Business Development Center, Maine Business Works, Unum, Gorham Savings Bank, and others to promote National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Other top winners in different categories included Deloitte, Penn State and Cisco Systems.