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A Shared Resource is a Shared Responsibility
Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Question: What do most government agencies, public and private corporations, home based businesses, schools, seniors and students have in common? Answer: Access to the world through the use of technology via the World Wide Web.

As a reminder that all internet users are interconnected through online systems making them vulnerable to network intrusions and attack, the Department of Homeland Security has declared October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month. While America faces serious economic and security challenges, our prosperity and competitiveness in the 21st Century depends on effective cyber security. If you are an internet user, you have a personal responsibility in securing cyberspace by taking precautions and understanding the potential consequences of your actions and behaviors while online.

Some ways to start doing that include:

• Keep a clean machine by making sure your devices are malware-free and have updated software, web browsers and operating systems.

• Avoid sharing personal information with strangers by setting security and privacy settings.

• Downloading “free” stuff like games, ring tones or screen savers can hide viruses or spyware.

• Use peer to peer (P2P) file sharing services with caution. Make sure you install file-sharing software properly, and scan downloaded files with security software before you open or play them, or you could be sharing information your family expects to keep private – like your financial records.

• Make sure your browser meets industry security standards. Features such as the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypt your personal information as it is sent over the Internet. Most browsers are capable of SSL encryption and other security features.

• Check the URL displayed in the address bar to see if a website encrypts data before it is sent over the Internet. A site that encrypts will begin with the abbreviation “https” (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), while web pages that do not encrypt data only display “http” (no “s”).

• To completely delete unwanted e-mails from your machine - highlight the email, hold the shift key, and hit delete.

To arrange to have someone come out to your community to talk about this or another safety or security topic please contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Community Relations Section at (239) 477-1400. Media inquiries can call (239) 477-1037.