Mesa, Homeland Security host cyber security summit - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Mesa, Homeland Security host cyber security summit

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Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 4:45 pm

Are your computers safe and secure? As part of the national Stop.Think.Connect campaign against cyber threats to computers in the private and public sector, the city of Mesa and the Department of Homeland Security are hosting a cyber security summit at the Mesa Arts Center on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

The program will feature a panel of cyber security experts focusing on how to protect one’s networking system from threats and how to combat the problems those threats bring as well as viruses.

Kelvin Coleman, U.S. Department of Homeland Security director of state, local, tribal and territorial cyber engagement, will be the keynote speaker. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and District 3 councilman and Mesa Public Safety Committee chair Dennis Kavanaugh also will offer comments and help to facilitate questions during the event.

The mayor said on Wednesday that interest in the summit is growing, and that there also will be numerous representatives of government from throughout the state and a member of the Secret Service attending the event.

“We use computers every day,” Smith said. “We don’t know how important computers are until they’re breached.”

At least twice last year, a group known as “Hackers without Borders,” reportedly breached the computers of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The hackers retrieved information from DPS officers’ emails that ranged from exposing people providing critical information to police as well as persons of interest for various crimes.

Smith believes that the summit comes at a crucial time as Arizona is battling a number of issues such as identity theft, and cyber security is a timely issue in an increasingly networking society.

“Mesa is honored to be hosting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for this summit, which is so timely and important to the Phoenix region and Arizona,” Smith added. “It is essential for individuals, business owners and local governments to be aware of current threats and know what to look for when conducting business online.”

Mesa became a member of the Cyber Awareness Coalition and pledged to help get the word out about the national Stop.Think.Connect. campaign designed to combat threats and raise cyber security awareness throughout the country. The campaign urges Internet users to:

Stop. Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.

Think. Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety or your family’s.

Connect. Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.

To register for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cyber Security Summit go to www.mesaaz.gov/cybersummit/default.aspx. For more information about Stop.Think.Connect. go to www.stopthinkconnect.org.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or msakal@evtrib.com

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