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Cybersecurity: Make it a Habit

Cybersecurity is the responsibility of everyone that uses the Internet.  To remind us of this important issue, October has been designated as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

The National Cybersecurity Division of Homeland Security is responsible for helping the protection of the cyber infrastructure.  Each citizen uses this cyber infrastructure each time we use the Internet.  By proactively educating everyone about cybersecurity, it will lower our Nation's vulnerabilities on the Internet and lower our collective risk. Securing cyberspace is a difficult strategic challenge that requires coordinated and focused effort from our entire society—the federal government, state and local governments, the private sector, and the American people.

By protecting yourself on the Internet, you also protect others.

How Do I Make Cybersecurity a Habit?

Start with the Basics: Three Core Practices

  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware programs and keep them up to date.
  • Install a firewall and keep it properly configured
  • Regularly install updates for your computer's operating system

Make Ongoing Learning Easy with US-CERT Tips

Cybersecurity is an evolving issue. The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) Security Tips provide advice on common security topics, such as privacy, email spam, and wireless protection.  The tips are sent to your e-mail once a month so that you can continuously stay up to date with changing technologies and threats. Visit US-CERT and sign up to receive US-CERT's Security Tips.

Additional reading resources available on US-CERT include

Check Your Updates: Make it a Habit

Making Cybersecurity a habit will help you protect your information and prevent your computer from being used to launch an attack.  Remind yourself and those around you about cyber protection measures with posters and booklets:

Visit OnGuard Online

OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.

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How Do I Fight Phishing Scams?

Sick of e-mail scams? Phishing is a scam where scammers send spam or pop-up messages to lure personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims. Take these steps to avoid getting swindled:

  • Stay safe: Don't reply to e-mail or pop-up messages that ask for personal or financial information. Don't click on links in the message. Don't cut and paste a link from the message into your Web browser. Scammers can make links look as though they go to a safe site, but will actually send you to a dangerous Web site.
  • Review the phishing information at OnGuardOnline.gov to avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam.
  • Report phishing e-mails to US-CERT to help fight phishing scams.

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This page was last reviewed/modified on October 20, 2008.