SAN DIEGO–October marks the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Established by presidential directive in 2004, the initiative—administered by the Department of Homeland Security—raises cyber security awareness across the nation by engaging and educating public and private sector partners through a variety of events and programs. The ultimate goal is to protect the country from cyber incidents and respond to them effectively if they do occur.
The FBI is heavily invested in protecting the country’s cyber interests. We lead the national effort to investigate high-tech crimes, including cyber-based terrorism, espionage, computer intrusions, and major cyber fraud. To stay in front of current and emerging trends, we gather and share information and intelligence with public and private sector partners worldwide.
But cyber security is a job for everyone. Every American who uses digital technologies at home or in the office needs to play a part in cyber security. If you open a virus-laden e-mail attachment at work, for example, you could infect your entire company’s computer network.
Here are a few basic steps you can take to be more cyber secure:
- Set strong passwords, and don’t share them with anyone.
- Keep a clean machine—your operating system, browser, and other critical software are optimized by installing regular updates.
- Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about Internet safety.
- Limit the amount of personal information you post online, and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
- Be cautious about what you receive or read online—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The FBI also runs several other cyber-related programs, including the Internet Crime Complaint Center—a partnership between the Bureau and the National White Collar Crime Center that serves as a clearinghouse for triaging cyber complaints and provides an easy-to-use online tool for reporting these complaints—and the Safe Online Surfing (SOS) program, a nationwide initiative designed to educate children about the dangers they face on the Internet and to help prevent crimes against children.