The Stay Safe Online Blog
One area of cybersecurity that the public rarely thinks about but is of great concern to government, hardware and software manufacturers, and others concerned with the integrity of cyber space is ensuring that software is free from hidden threats.
At NCSA we believe it's important for everyone to have some understanding of cyber attacks since in fact almost any computer can be used to facilitate such attacks through the use of botnets.
While it may be difficult to prevent other people from publishing or even losing data about you, what you post about yourself is under your control.
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the site peoplesdirt—a site designed specifically to amplify rumors, slander, and negative comments between high school students-- and its lack of any redeeming social value.
In many cases, we discuss websites and technology that can be used for many positive purposes but sometimes, without user education, get used to facilitate negative online behaviors as an unintended consequence. Some common examples include providing excess amounts of personal information on a social networking site and putting yourself at risk of identity theft, or the use of email, IM, or texting to forward private information about another person.
An article in today's Washington Post about sexting (sending sexually explicit photos by cell phone) accurately portrays the difficulties schools, law enforcement, and prosecutors have when new uses of technology don't necessarily fit into laws and polices already on the books. Often young people embrace technology and find new, and sometimes negative uses, before parents, schools, and the community have the opportunity to proactively respond.
As we have seen during the financial crisis and recent natural disasters, scam artists, phishers, and other cyber criminals use the day's headlines to lure people to sites that deposit viruses and malware (malicious software such as spyware) or try to get you to reveal personal information or buy something you don't need or can get somewhere else for free.
The Cyber Security Awareness Volunteer Education Project is an effort to help fill the tremendous gap in K-12 education of Internet safety and Security. NCSA is calling all IT professionals who want use their expertise to give back to their community to get involved.
At NCSA, one of our major focus areas is encouraging small and medium size businesses to do more to secure their business data, customer data, and intellectual property. Sometimes it's easy for a small or medium size company to think we really don't have anything of value, we are small and we won't be target, or the cost of securing our systems is not worth it.
One of the main arsenals we have to fight cybercrime and cyber criminals are collaborative, coordinated efforts between tech companies, law enforcement, and prosecutors. Cybercriminals, like all criminals, are opportunistic. If they see an opportunity to get away with a crime because it won't be investigated or prosecuted, they will seize it.
Phishing is still a thriving criminal enterprise. The release of the 2008 RSA Online Fraud report confirms the ongoing problem of phishing in cyber space (disclosure: EMC is a NCSA Board member and RSA is an EMC company). According to the report the volume of phishing attacks during 2008 grew 66% over those attacks detected throughout 2007.
At NCSA, we are true believers about the capacity of the Internet to be transformative to our daily lives. Whether it's the convenience of online banking, shopping at 3 AM in pajamas, networking with friends and family, or starting a new web-based business, the Internet has opened up new worlds.
Today, NCSA is pleased to announce the launch of a new partnership with CyberSmart! The CyberSmart! Cyberbullying Package is a positive and empowering suite of K-12 lessons provided free to schools.
By taking a few simple steps as you get started you can make your new PC as safe as is fun.
When it comes to cybersecurity, our nation's students and teachers are flying blind and have not received the basic education needed to keep them safe online.
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