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As data breaches continue to make headlines, it's essential that all Americans understand their role in protecting our critical infrastructure.

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As shoppers go online to find good deals, they are also exposing themselves to cyber criminals seeking to exploit the festive season. November 8, 2017Cyber attacks have emerged as a leading threat to our national security.Whether it's a fitness band to track our eating and exercise habits, an app to control the temperature in our homes, or a sensor to alert us when we need groceries, apps and connected devices are bringing a tremendous level of convenience and efficiency to our busy lives.Americans can embrace the advantages of these new technologies while also being cautious of the risks.Funded through grants from the National Science Foundation, these scholarships are meant to cover a full-time student's tuition and education fees as well as providing an annual stipend."The mentorship and guidance I received in the Scholarship for Service Program shaped my career path tremendously," said Patrick Kelly, an alumnus of the SFS Program."I didn't even know that a career in cybersecurity was a possibility until I heard about SFS."After completing their degree, scholarship recipients serve in a cybersecurity-related position in the government for a period equivalent to the length of their scholarship.As one of the Department's efforts, DHS partners with National Science Foundation to co-sponsor the Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service Program (SFS).

The SFS Program provides scholarships to students pursuing cybersecurity-related degrees at participating colleges and universities.

As the Department of Homeland Security transitions from October's National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) into November's Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month (CISR), we are highlighting the connection between cybersecurity and our Nation's critical infrastructure.

Critical infrastructure is the backbone of American society, and we all play a role in keeping it strong, secure, and resilient. Voluntary Program supports industry in increasing cybersecurity resilience, promotes awareness and use of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and encourages organizations to manage cybersecurity as part of an all hazards approach to enterprise risk management. Critical infrastructure enables our daily lives, whether we're taking a shower, using the internet, plugging in a phone, or turning on a gas stove.

I was surprised at how easy it was."To learn more about cybersecurity education and career development, visit gov/topic/cybersecurity-education-career-development.

To learn more about cybersecurity careers at DHS, visit gov/homeland-security-careers/dhs-cybersecurity.

Scammers and spammers view the holidays as a golden opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting online shoppers. For more holiday shopping tips, check our the Federal Trade Commission. Our Nation needs skilled cybersecurity professionals to defend our country from cyber criminals who threaten our security, economic stability, and American way of life.