Cybersecurity involves preventing, detecting, and responding to cyberattacks that can have wide ranging effects on the individual, organizations, the community, and at the national level. Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to access or damage a computer system. Cyberattacks can lead to loss of money, theft of personal information, and damage to your reputation and safety. Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to access or damage a computer system.
- Can use computers, mobile phones, gaming systems, and other devices;
- Can include identity theft;
- Can block your access or delete your personal documents and pictures;
- Can target children; and
- Can cause problems with business services, transportation, and power.
Protect Yourself Against a Cyberattack
- Keep software and operating systems up-to-date
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication (two methods of verification).
- Watch for suspicious activity. When in doubt, don’t click. Do not provide personal information.
- Use encrypted (secure) internet communications.
- Create backup files.
- Protect your home and/or business WiFi network.
Before a Cyberattack
You can increase your chances of avoiding cyber risks by setting up the proper controls. The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your property before a cyberattack occurs:
- Use strong passwords that are 12 characters or longer. Use upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Change passwords monthly. Use a password manager.
- Use a stronger authentication such as a PIN or password that only you would know. Consider using a separate device that can receive a code or uses a biometric scan (e.g., fingerprint scanner).
- Watch for suspicious activity that asks you to do something right away, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or needs your personal information. Think before you click.
- Check your account statements and credit reports regularly.
- Use secure internet communications.
- Use sites that use HTTPS if you will access or provide any personal information. Do not use sites with invalid certificates. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that creates a secure connection.
- Use antivirus solutions, malware, and firewalls to block threats.
- Regularly back up your files in an encrypted file or encrypted file storage device.
- Limit the personal information you share online. Change privacy settings and do not use location features.
- Protect your home network by changing the administrative and Wi-Fi passwords regularly. When configuring your router, choose the Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) setting, which is the strongest encryption option.
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (link)
- Cyberattack Information Sheet (PDF)
- DHS United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) (link)
- DHS Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign (link)
- United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force (link)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (link)
- Department of Justice (link)
- Federal Communications Commission (link)
- Internet Crime Complaint Center (link)
- Federal Trade Commission (link)
- National Cyber Security Alliance (link)
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline (link)
- Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (link)
- NetSmartz (link)
- iKeepSafe (link)
- iSafe (link)