A Maine volunteer organization is helping the Department of Homeland Security promote Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October.

My Maine Privacy put together a plan to organize local resources and raise public awareness of cybercrime. The group is working with 150 libraries, about 50 community television channels and other organizations, including Maine 4-H and the Small Business Administration, to disseminate information, said Angelo Castigliola, the program director of My Maine Privacy.

“Maine’s a unique state in that it’s No. 10 in the number of people using the Internet,” Castigliola said. “It roughly breaks down to 60 percent of Maine has access to the Internet. Our objective was to reach out to that 60 percent of Maine, that two-thirds of the state, really come out with a message for them: There are risks out there, and here are some resources to help you.”

My Maine Privacy was one of the winners in Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity Awareness Challenge. The group, along another from San Diego, tied for first place in the Best Local/Community Plan category. My Maine Privacy and Securing Our eCity San Diego both offered plans on how to promote collaborative, community approaches to cybersecurity.

The challenge drew more than 80 entries. The winning proposals helped inform the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign, which will begin in October.

Castigliola, who works in computer security for Unum, formed My Maine Privacy with six friends in response to the challenge. They designed their plan with the hope that other communities would be able to adopt the strategies.

The information will be distributed in various ways, including bookmarks, pamphlets, public service announcements and newsletter blurbs. The information is meant to promote good online habits, such as watching for phishing scams and not putting personal information online, among a general audience, Castigliola said.


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