Grassroots Committee Teams with State Library to Provide Cyber Education

Cyber-in-a-Box Program Emerges

By the Wyoming State Library and the CyberWyoming Alliance

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming State Library and Wyoming CAN (Cybersecurity Action Network) Committee have teamed up to offer free “cyber-in-a-box” educational programs to libraries.

The Wyoming CAN Committee is a grassroots volunteer committee, now meeting for over a year, whose mission is to increase the overall level of cyber-hygiene in the state. 

“The Committee studied numerous public awareness campaigns, cybersecurity statistics, victim studies, and other state strategies.  A consistent message that came out of the research was that we all have a role to play in protecting our friends and neighbors, nobody is going to do it for us,” said committee member Tyler Neeriemer, IT Administrator for First Federal Bank & Trust.

The program is a monthly, ready-to-go 10-minute curriculum designed to be shared by local libraries and other organizations to increase cyber safety in Wyoming communities.

The digital age brings immense benefits, but also pitfalls when hackers and scammers prey on vulnerable Wyoming residents — particularly the elderly. In 2019, the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center recorded more than $8.1 million in reported losses in Wyoming due to cybercrime.

Knowledge of vulnerabilities and scams reduces the likelihood that a computer user will become a computer crime victim — which is where these easy-to-use programs come in. The first three for July through September cover webcam covers, home network security, and basic computer security.

 “More than 360,000 Wyomingites have library cards,” said Jamie Markus, Wyoming State Librarian and member of the Wyoming CAN Committee. “It just made sense to promote this great information through our local libraries and their outreach networks,” Markus continued.

The Wyoming CAN Committee started in June 2019 and is continuing to meet on a quarterly basis.  The goal was to create a public awareness campaign to address gaps in cybersecurity education for citizens, senior citizens, students, small business and small government.  The Committee created a communications plan and strategy and is currently looking for grant funding to build and implement the entire campaign.

“COVID-19 put a roadblock in our grant application timeline,” said Laura Baker, Executive Director of CyberWyoming and acting secretary of the Committee.  “But, we forged on with things we COULD do figuring we could continue along with searching for grant funding as we showed a few successes,” continued Baker.

The Committee decided local was better, meaning creating a local dialogue with experts and non-experts, friends, neighbors, and family was more meaningful when understanding cyber risks.  The group’s tagline is Wyoming CAN! Be Cyber Secure.

Members of the committee include: the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, the Wyoming Small Business Development Center, Wyoming Manufacturing Works, the City of Laramie, First Federal Bank & Trust, Campbell County Health, CyberWyoming, Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, Wyoming Rural Water Association, the Wyoming State Library, Wyoming Financial Insurance, UW IT Training Department, Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union, Cheyenne State Bank, and Jonah Bank of Wyoming.

For more information, visit Wyoming CAN’s website at www.wyocan.org

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