Cyber Security

Start with the Basics: Three Core Practices

  1. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware programs and keep them up to date.
  2. Install a firewall and keep it properly configured
  3. Regularly install updates for your computer's operating system
  • Treat Your Personal Information Like Cash
  • Check Out Companies to Find out Who You're Really Dealing With
  • Give Personal Information Over Encrypted Websites Only (https)
  • Protect Your Passwords
  • Back Up Your Files

NCSA's mission is to educate and therefore empower a digital society to use the Internet safely and securely at home, work, and school, protecting the technology individuals use, the networks they connect to, and our shared digital assets

As cell phones and PDAs become more technologically advanced, attackers are finding new ways to target victims. By using text messaging or email, an attacker could lure you to a malicious site or convince you to install malicious code on your portable device.

Evaluate your security settings - Make sure that you take advantage of the security features offered on your device. Attackers may take advantage of Bluetooth connections to access or download information on your device. Disable Bluetooth when you are not using it to avoid unauthorized access.

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Don’t respond to text messages or automated voice messages from unknown or blocked numbers on your mobile phone.
Treat your mobile phone like you would your computer…don’t download anything unless you trust the source.
Click here to learn more ( is the federal government's website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online. The Federal Trade Commission manages, in partnership with other federal agencies. is a partner in the Stop.Think.Connect. campaign, led by the Department of Homeland Security, and part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Identifying Hoaxes and Urban Legends

Chain letters are familiar to anyone with an e-mail account, whether they are sent by strangers or well-intentioned friends or family members. Try to verify the information before following any instructions or passing the message along.

There are two main types of chain letters:

•Hoaxes: Hoaxes attempt to trick or defraud users. A hoax could be malicious, instructing users to delete a file necessary to the operating system by claiming it is a virus. It could also be a scam that convinces users to send money or personal information.

•Urban legends: Urban legends are designed to be redistributed and usually warn users of a threat or claim to be notifying them of important or urgent information. Another common form are the e-mails that promise users monetary rewards for forwarding the message or suggest that they are signing something that will be submitted to a particular group. Urban legends usually have no negative effect aside from wasted bandwidth and time.

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Report suspicious cyber incidents to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team Incident Hotline: 1-888-282-0870

You can report phishing by sending email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you think your computer has malware, the Federal Trade Commission wants to know. File a complaint at

If you get unsolicited email offers or spam, send the messages to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To file an Internet crime complaint, visit the IC3 Web site at

Digital cameras often save "hidden information" (also known as metadata tags) along with the image. This information may include information about the image, camera, photographer and location. The data are saved in various formats. The most common include: Exif, GPS, IPTC, and XMP.

We request that any image submitted for posting have metadata removed. We do not recommend any particular software program to remove the metadata. You may want to search for software using such terms as "Exif Tag Remover", GPS metadata remover".

The National Cyber Alert System (NCAS) is America’s coordinated alert system for identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing emerging threats and vulnerabilities. We encourage you to register for technical and/or non-technical alerts by visiting the US-CERT website at: