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National Cyber Security Awareness Month Sample Kit

Do you find yourself trying to promote National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) at your college or university, with little time and few creative resources? This sample "kit" provides creative materials based on a 1950's horror theme, and outlines plans for their use that you can adapt to your institution's needs quickly. With a bit of a printing budget (or your own high quality printer) and some coordination, you can pick and choose which materials will best help you to increase your community's security awareness. Some of the materials are even provided in Spanish! These materials were created and used at Indiana University for National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2005. Indiana University grants permission for non-profit educational use, as long as the credit line and the copyright statement remain on the materials.

New Sample Resources!
Auburn University has developed a new NCSAM campaign each October since 2007. The first year was influenced by the 2005 IU campaign highlighted in this sample kit. Since then, Auburn has developed original themes and artwork every year: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. This year's campaign is inspired by Roy Lichtenstein's pop art. A new initiative that Auburn will try in 2013 is inviting students to submit a 15 second Instagram or Vine video related to one of the weekly topics; winners will be featured on the Keep IT Safe website. (See screen shot.)

Colleges and universities are welcome to use Auburn's artwork. Please be sure to add the credit line: "Auburn University Office of Information Technology."

The materials referenced on this site are available to view and download on Indiana University's website. The 2005 campaign was centered around 5 distinct topics: passwords, worms, phishing, attachments, and spyware. On the IU site, you will find posters, bookmarks, postcards, plasma screens, and KnowledgeBase documents (with blank versions of some materials in English or Spanish).

Getting Started

First, take a few minutes to fill out the worksheet "How Do We Plan for National Cyber Security Awareness Month". This will guide you as you choose which kit materials to use, and in what format.

Identifying Which Kit Materials Will Work for Your Institution

  • Question #1 on the worksheet asked you to identify your organization's cyber security awareness needs. This kit provides materials for five prepackaged messages:
    • Protect your password - "Invasion of the Password Snatchers"
    • "Beware of Worms and Viruses"
    • "Beware of the Phishing Scam"
    • Be careful when downloading or clicking - "The Thing from the Internet"
    • Keep your computer free of spyware - "Beware the Eye of the Spy"
  • Will one or more of these meet your local needs? Review the images and the text provided below. Plan which images/messages can be used as is or altered to meet your needs.
  • Question #2 on the worksheet asked you to identify your targeted population(s). To whom do you want to direct your security awareness messages? Think about the demographics of each of the audiences so that you can tailor the messages accordingly. For example, the posters in this kit are provided in Spanish as well as in English.
  • Questions #3 and #4 on the worksheet helped you identify what formats will work best in your environment and for the targeted population(s). For this kit, each of the messages has been provided in a number of formats to be distributed in various ways:
    • Posters - for posting in high traffic areas
    • Postcards - for mailing through campus mail
    • Plasma screens - for display in high traffic areas
    • Bookmarks - for distribution
    • Web page content - for posting on Web pages and/or for printing and distribution as handouts. Note that all the other materials can direct users to a Web site URL for more in-depth information on each topic

Altering the Materials As Needed

  • There are two versions of each poster:
    • One complete version containing the image, title, subtitle, supplementary text, URL for more info, credit line, and copyright info . that is, exactly how it was used at Indiana University. You may use the words Indiana University used, but please at least change the institution name to your own, and provide your own URL! The Indiana University URL no longer promotes this same awareness campaign.
    • One version with blank space for you to tailor the message as needed. These contain the image, title, subtitle, credit line, and copyright info.
  • In addition, multiple formats and additional information documents are available below.
  • Question #5 on the worksheet helped you identify the sponsoring office for your campaign. Consider crediting this sponsor on the materials.

Printing (if needed) and Distributing

  • Questions #6, #7, and #8 on the worksheet helped you determine how much money you have to spend, how many people can help out, and how much time you have. These parameters will guide your decisions in this phase of the project.
  • Plan your distribution schedule - You may want to use one message for the entire month, you may want to use one message per week during the month, or you may want to send out all of the messages at once to span the month.
  • Determine which format of material(s) you will post or distribute where, and how many you need to print:
    • Web site - one Web site to lead users to for awareness information is the ideal; put this URL on all the printed materials
    • Campus mail - printed postcards or bookmarks
    • Common areas around campus - printed posters
    • Plasma screens around campus - no printing costs, and it is usually free to ask owners of these screens to post these images!
    • Campus newspapers - will they print the image for you with information from the Knowledge Base text as an article with it?
    • Campus television
    • Campus radio announcements
    • Other common distribution outlets such as Deans and Director's lists, computer support personnel lists, your campus public relations office, etc.
  • Meet with each of the units that you will depend on to distribute resources (campus mailroom supervisor, campus display screen owners, high traffic area bulletin board owners, student computer lab managers, etc.) to get everyone on the same page. For instance, if you decide to use one message per week during the month, you may decide that the postcards need to be in everyone's mailbox every Monday of the month. It is important that you inform your campus mail service of your needs. This is especially essential if you intend to distribute the materials across multiple campuses. You might also want plasma screens, posters, and the Web site updated each Monday.
  • Get the materials printed. Solicit bids from print vendors to compare costs and turnaround time; alternatively, perhaps you have the equipment to print in house.
  • Distribute the materials across campus.
  • Finally, enjoy the reaction! This 1950's horror theme is a lot of fun, especially since NCSAM is in October!

How Did Indiana University Use These Materials?

Indiana University (IU) chose to feature one message per week. In 2005, Halloween fell on the fifth Monday of the month, so five messages were planned. They used:

  • Posters - one message per week posted in high traffic areas of each campus, including student computer labs
  • Postcards - mailed in campus mail to all faculty and staff on all campuses each week - over 20,000 were mailed per week!
  • Plasma screens - one message per week posted on plasma screens in high traffic areas of each campus
  • Website - was specially re-designed for the month. Each Monday, the thumbnail image for the message of the week was added, with a link to the IU Knowledge Base article about that topic. By the end of the five weeks, all five were displayed across the top of the website.
  • Messages in the campus information technology electronic newsletters - one special edition and an article each week that complemented the message for the week.
  • The student newspaper printed an article each Monday, with a picture of the image and much of the text of the corresponding Knowledge Base article.
  • IU also hosted NCSAM tables with materials and sweets on Halloween, in high traffic student areas!

Campaigns and Downloadable Media

Indiana University grants permission to non-profit educational institutions to use these posters, bookmarks, and other materials (either printed or electronically) and to adjust them as needed; however IU does request that the credit line and the copyright statement remain on the materials, and that Knowledge Base articles are credited with "Information supplied courtesy of the Indiana University UITS Knowledge Base". (See IU's copyright and licensing information for more details.)

How Did Your Institution Use These Materials?

Please let us know how you used these materials to promote awareness at your institution!

Questions or comments? Contact us.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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