About Us

Learn about the campaign and what we hope to achieve

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is the global cybersecurity awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online.

The message was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, non-profits and government organizations with leadership provided by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) and National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). 

The campaign was launched in October of 2010 by the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, a non-profit 501c3 public chartiy established to curate Messaging Convention intellectual property assets and manage the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ campaign worldwide.

APWG leads the propagation of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ campaign globally, establishing operating agreements with multilateral treaty organizations and nation-states that have acceded to the Messaging Convention and adopted the campaign.

Goals and Objectives

We will encourage all Internet users to be more vigilant about practicing safe, online habits; ensure that Internet safety is perceived as a shared responsibility at home, in the workplace, and throughout our communities; and transform the way the public and private sectors and the U.S. federal government collaborate to make cybersecurity a reality.

Our goal is to help people understand not only the risks that come with using the Internet, but also the importance of practicing safe online behavior.

We aim to:
  • Increase and reinforce awareness of cybersecurity, including associated risks and threats, and provide solutions for increasing cybersecurity.
  • Communicate approaches and strategies for the public to keep themselves, their families and their communities safer online.
  • Shift perception of cybersecurity among the American public from avoidance of the unknown to acknowledgement of shared responsibility.
  • Engage the public, the private sector, and state and local governments in our nation's effort to improve cybersecurity.
  • Increase the number of national stakeholders and community-based organizations engaged in educating the public about cybersecurity and what people can do to protect themselves online.

Institutional History

By Spring, 2009, APWG and NCSA already had a large number of multinational, retail-facing companies as sponsors and members who were expressing an interest in these organizations' work in consumer education.

APWG Secretary General Peter Cassidy, in collaboration with NCSA's Aimee Larsen-Kirkpatrick, authored a program prospectus called Optimizing Counter-eCrime Consumer Education Through Unified Online Safety Messaging, calling for the development of a unified messaging scheme that would be shared by industry and government agencies, enhancing resonance and retention and reducing apparently conflicting messaging.

APWG circulated the prospectus among its sponsors and members and organized the coalition from companies and agencies that expressed interest in the project.

The first Messaging Convention meeting, in June 2009 at Fox Interactive Media in Beverly Hills, California, almost immediately catalyzed the group and its sense of mission. Striking was the fact that with personnel from around 20 companies, the initial group was able to agree on the core principles for the message identified by afternoon session. A consensus was struck that the work represented a reasonable proposal, and that it should continue to completion.

This coalition of industry, government and non-profits, the Online Consumer Security and Safety Messaging Convention and now known as the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Messaging Convention, embarked upon an intensive collaborative effort to develop a message that would resonate with the general public and ultimately change behavior toward safer online habits.

After a yearlong process of member meetings, research, focus groups, opinion polling and industry and government collaboration, the Messaging Convention selected the phrase STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ and its associated logography.

About the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, Inc.

The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, Inc. is the global manager of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. cybersecurity awareness campaign. APWG incorporated the Messaging Convention, Inc. in Georgia in October, 2014 and applied for non-profit status for the NGO in the United States of America. 

The United States Internal Revenue Service issued a letter of determination in February 2015, advising the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, Inc. that the company was found to be qualified as a tax-exempt public charity under section 501c3 of the IRS code.

Foundations and commercial sponsors with an interest in underwiting the work of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, Inc. can contact the Convention at development.hq@stopthinkconnect.org for further information about supporting the global cybersecurity awareness campaign. 


About the APWG 

APWG is the coalition unifying the global response to cybercrime across industry, government and law-enforcement sectors and NGO communities. APWG’s membership of more than 1800 institutions worldwide is as global as its outlook, with its directors, managers and research fellows advising: national governments; global governance bodies like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Telecommunications Union and ICANN; hemispheric and global trade groups; and multilateral treaty organizations such as the European Commission, the G8 High Technology Crime Subgroup, Council of Europe's Convention on CybercrimeUnited Nations Office of Drugs and CrimeOrganization for Security and Cooperation in EuropeEuropol EC3 and the Organization of American States. APWG is on the steering group of the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative at the Commonwealth of Nations.

The APWG, founded in 2003 as the Anti-Phishing Working Group, is a global industry, law enforcement, and government coalition focused on eliminating the identity theft and fraud that result from the growing problem of phishing, email spoofing, and crimeware.Membership is open to qualified financial institutions, online retailers, ISPs, the law enforcement community and solutions providers. 

The APWG's website offers the public and industry information about phishing and email fraud, including identification and promotion of pragmatic technical solutions that provide immediate protection. 

About the National Cyber Security Alliance

The National Cyber Security Alliance is a non-profit organization. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors, the mission of the NCSA is to empower a digital citizenry to use the Internet securely and safely protecting themselves and the technology they use and the digital assets we all share.

NCSA works to create a culture of cyber security and safety through education and awareness activities. Visit www.staysafeonline.org for more information.