Citizens Need to be More Involved in Cybersecurity

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

In the University of Cincinnati’s Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the authors write “The general population must be engaged as active security providers, not simply beneficiaries of security policy, because their practices often create the threats to which government responds.” Somebody is saying to take personal responsibility and start doing things securely opposed to expecting it to all be done for you. What a revelation!

Just because everyone has access to the Internet, doesn’t mean they are using it securely. If a person decides to login, they should take some basic courses or read about how to login securely. And the education doesn’t stop there. New scams pop up every day and one has to be aware of their options. I write almost every day and there is never a shortage of topics for me to discuss.

The Internet can be a dangerous neighborhood with bad people around every corner. I got an email from a colleague today who is in the security business. He asked me if the email he received from Facebook to change his password was a fake or real. This is a smart guy, who obviously never heard of the Facebook phishing scam before.

NetworkWorld reports They cite the coordinated attack that overwhelmed U.S. and South Korean government sites last July as being the type of attack that individuals can unwittingly participate in by allowing their computers to be taken over by botnets, the authors say. The awareness they call for has to go beyond simply “if you do not protect yourselves bad things will happen to you” and create a sense that cyber security is a civic duty. Most users remain unaware that not only is their computer data vulnerable, but that their insecure access to cyberspace can be exploited by others turning them into unwitting agents of coordinated cyber threats [both criminal and disruptive attacks],”they say. “Cybersecurity must become a national civic responsibility.”

Frankly, we as citizens HAVE TO do something. Richard Clarke, the president’s cybersecurity adviser, recently wrote that the Department of Homeland Security “has neither a plan nor the capability” to protect the U.S.’s cyber infrastructure. He said companies and individuals “almost uniformly believe that they should fund as much corporate cybersecurity as is necessary to maintain profitability and no more.”

Whether you realize it or not, your computer is one of the biggest threats to your personal security. The Obama administration believes that your computer is also one of the biggest threats to national security.

The message is: Think before you click. Know who’s on the other side of that instant message. What you say or do in cyberspace stays in cyberspace — for many to see, steal and use against you or your government.

1. Get a credit freeze. Go online now and search “credit freeze” or “security freeze” and go to consumersunion.org and follow the steps for the state you live in. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes the SSN useless to the thief.

2. Invest in  Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. While not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, you can effectively manage your personal identifying information by knowing what’s buzzing out there in regards to YOU. (Disclosures)

3. Make sure your anti-virus is up to date and set to run automatically.

4. Update your web browser to the latest version. An out of date web browser is often riddled with holes worms can crawl through.

5. Check your bank statements often, online, at least once a week.

6. Visit US-Cert here

Robert Siciliano identity theft speaker discussing the mess of data security on Fox News

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