California Communities Take A New Approach To Fighting Cybercrime And Identity Theft

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New Think Security First! Initiative Focuses On Better Education And Awareness At A Community Level

Think Security First is a perfect example of how small communities with limited resources can come together to find a real answer to a global problem

As the cost of cybercrime and identity theft soar past the cost of the war on drugs, a group of concerned communities in the hills just 25 minutes east of San Francisco have come together to take on the challenge, and as a result may have sparked the biggest fight back against cybercrime and identity theft in the nation's history.

The initiative is called Think Security First, a new cybercrime fighting partnership between more than a dozen communities in the San Francisco East Bay. This new program is lead by Chambers of Commerce in partnership with nationally recognized security experts. Their weapon of choice is education and their goal is to create a security education blueprint that can be adopted by any community in the nation.

Think Security First will be launched in Walnut Creek California, the world's first Cyber Secure City, on April 20th 2009 and here's just a sample of what's brewing in the East Bay Hills:

  • On April 20th 2009 some of the world's top cyber security experts - including the nation's former Cyber Security Czar, the security chiefs of PayPal and MySpace, as well as victim's advocates - will be coming to the east bay to meet with Mayors, Chambers of Commerce, police chiefs, and school leaders from dozens of local cities in a day-long gathering to discuss how a united front by all these communities might be our best option in stemming this epidemic and creating a template for concerned communities nationwide.
  • More than a dozen cities will be stepping forward to be the first in the nation to declare April of every year to be Think Security First month - one city has already done so.
  • Local high school students will be meeting with security experts and law enforcement to learn why their interest in TV shows like CSI and NCIS could be a great foundation for exciting careers in the high tech law enforcement of the future, and why a focus on math and science could be the coolest way to an even cooler career.
  • InfraGard, an FBI security initiative representing more than 26,000 companies and security professionals nationwide, will be supporting Think Security First by announcing the launch of free online cyber security awareness training for the nation's 26 million small businesses

Think Security First is a call to every community to get involved in the fight against cybercrime and to focus on security education and awareness, and this is not the first time the San Francisco bay area has taken a lead role in protecting the nation.

For example, the city of Walnut Creek (population 64,000) in the heart of the east bay has been dubbed the world's first Cyber Secure City:

  • In November 2002 Walnut Creek hosted the nation's first Cyber Security Day, where more than 1,200 small business owners from 20 local cities were treated to a day of free cyber security training from experts from around the world. Experts included Jordan Ritter, the co-founder of Napster, who started his career in cyber security!
  • This was followed in 2003 with a one year experiment by the city of Walnut Creek to raise security awareness across the entire city. The program included the city's businesses, schools, residents, and law enforcement (even the Mayor took security classes) and was supported by the Department of Homeland Security, the US Secret Service, Microsoft, and many others.
  • Walnut Creek was the first city in the nation to train its entire police department in identity theft awareness.
  • In 2003 the city distributed security awareness DVDs free of charge to every resident and business in the city.

"Think Security First is a perfect example of how small communities with limited resources can come together to find a real answer to a global problem," said Neal O'Farrell, founder of Think Security First. "Our message to communities across the nation is that while they are not immune to cybercrime and identity theft, they are not helpless either."

About Think Security First
Think Security First is an all-volunteer partnership between a group of nationally recognized security experts and Chambers of Commerce to provide free training on cybercrime and identity theft for communities across the country.

Think Security First began in 2003 when the Walnut Creek CA Chamber of Commerce launched a one year experiment to raise the level of security awareness across the entire city. The award-winning initiative was supported by the Department of Homeland Security, the US Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft, Cisco, and McAfee, and resulted in the city proclaiming April of every year to be Think Security First month.

Think Security First is funded entirely by sponsors including Microsoft, Protect My ID (a part of Experian), F-Secure, SonicWALL, Mozy, and Panda Security.

For more information contact Neal O'Farrell, CEO of Think Security First, at (925) 914 0248. Or visit us online at

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