In an open letter published in newspapers across the country in January, Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer, announced a new coalition to help educate the public on the dangers of scams. 

A group of nationally recognized, respected cybersecurity organizations in cybersecurity and consumer protection will launch a campaign to educate consumers about cybersecurity and the dangers of phishing scams. Target will invest $5 million in a multi-year campaign for this effort. 

“Target has a longstanding history of commitment to our communities, and cybersecurity is one of the most pressing issues facing consumers today,” said Gregg. “We are proud to be working with three trusted organizations—the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Better Business Bureau, Inc. (BBB)—to advance public education around cybersecurity."

Target will learn from the experts at these organizations who best understand the complexities and growing challenges associated with cybersecurity—particularly phishing scams—and how to educate consumers in trusted, accessible and understandable ways. 

The group convened for the first time in Washington, D.C., in January, followed by a second meeting Feb. 13 and 14 in Minneapolis, which was facilitated by Charlie Firestone, executive director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. At both meetings, the members discussed creating a culture of digital security and trust for consumers and empowering people to take action as smart digital citizens.

“This group aims for a culture of savvy digital consumers,” says Firestone. “I'm encouraged by the productive dialogue over the course of our time in Minneapolis and excited about the important work ahead.” The group will convene on a weekly basis to continue building the campaign. 

“Cyber-crime is increasingly complex and is constantly shifting patterns. It impacts all industry sectors and tech savvy consumers, especially with the evolution of the smart phone, Bring Your Own Device to work, the highly connected world and having an app for everything. Effectively addressing such digital crimes demands a new and collective response. Organizations from the public and private sectors must partner together,” says Maria Vello, CEO, National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance (NCFTA). “The NCFTA is very pleased and honored to join the coalition that Target is convening designed to raise awareness and educate the public on this serious issue.”

“The National Cyber Security Alliance applauds Target's substantial commitment to support education and awareness to make the Internet safer, more secure and trusted,” says Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “We are excited to work in collaboration with Target and our nonprofit colleagues to create and implement a far reaching campaign to get quality cybersecurity information to internet users. We believe that cybersecurity and online safety can only be achieved through sharing the responsibility and working together. This effort exemplifies that approach."

“Cybersecurity is fast becoming one of the biggest marketplace challenges for businesses, and a huge concern for their customers," said Mary E. Power, CAE, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. "For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been involved in educating consumers about how to avoid scams. In the 21st century many, if not most, of those scams are related to cybersecurity and identity theft. We look forward to working with the coalition to expand efforts to protect both consumers and businesses from this type of fraud.”

Watch for more updates on the group’s progress in the coming months.

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