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National Cyber Security Alliance Wants to Help You Avoid Getting Tricked

Don't click the link in that e-mail! And consider using a filter to protect your children. If Halloween is almost here, then it must be National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Halloween pumpkinWe know, October is already spooky enough, what with black cats and vampire bats and witches and ghosts. There's a jack-o-lantern with a crooked smile almost everywhere you turn, and is it really just the wind stirring the dry leaves on the sidewalk as you go down the block on that late night fitness run?

 

Even scarier than a skeleton dancing a seasonal jig in the picture window in the front room, however, is a computer window that freezes, crashes, or coughs up some sinister message about getting your data back — for a fee. Halloween tricks are harmless fun, but cyber crime, in all its various manifestations, can do real, sometimes permanent harm.

 

So while America seems to have a day, week, month, or what have you, for almost everything under the sun, National Cyber Security Awareness Month is deserving of being taken a little more seriously than say, Buy a Doughnut Day (Oct. 30, in case you're wondering) or National Nachos Day (Nov. 6). And, yes, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

 

There are many things that each of us can do to improve overall cyber safety and promote awareness of cyber security. If you're looking for an all-in-one NCSAM epicenter, then look no further than StaySafeOnline.org, the official cyber security awareness site of the National Cyber Security Alliance.

 

StaySafeOnline.org has a wealth of ideas and suggestions, as well as opportunities to join in the neverending work of assisting others and promoting improved cyber security for all. You can read up on valuable cyber security advice, volunteer to teach a cyber safety class (or engage in other efforts), or learn how to improve the security of your business.

 

Business and government data breaches get all of the news headlines, but cyber crime affects everyone. A 2012 report by security technology provider Symantec estimated that 18 adults become victims of cyber crime every second. And many cyber criminals aren't just looking for adult victims. Even criminals who don't directly target children are likely to have an easier time getting to the family computer when a junior user is online.

 

With the odds stacked so heavily against you, leaving your computer unprotected is kind of the same thing as leaving it on the sidewalk in front of your house overnight. Maybe it will still be there in the morning, but even if it doesn't get carried off, how likely is it to still be 100 percent sound and functional?

 

So while you're getting the Halloween costumes ready, and stocking up on "fun"-size candy bars, take a moment to think about what you can do to make your computer experience safer and more secure. The more people who engage in the basics of safe computer use, the better off all of us are likely to be.