CINCINNATI - October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is urging citizens to protect themselves.
Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned America of a possible "cyber-Pearl Harbor," stating that foreign computer hackers could affect the nation's critical infrastructure networks, transportation system and financial networks.
"As Ohioans continue the use of cellphones, tablets and the Internet both for business and to keep connected with family and friends, I want to remind everyone to be careful and use good safety practices in cyber space," said Attorney General DeWine.
To keep you and your family safe online, be proactive and follow the tips released by Attorney General DeWine below:
- Remind children anything sent via the Internet or a cellphone can be recovered or forwarded. Senders of certain inappropriate images can potentially face school discipline, loss of academic scholarships or criminal charges in some cases.
- If children receive inappropriate material on their phone or in an email, they should not delete it and then tell a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher or law enforcement officer.
- Never send personal information to strangers or agree to personally meet with someone encountered online.
- Report when children are being cyberbullied and approached by potential predators to law enforcement, cellphone and Internet providers and cybertipline.com .
- Watch out for "phishing" – scammers pretending to be a bank, or government agency, and in an email or text message ask you to provide your account information. Never respond to unexpected requests for personal or private information.
- If you receive text messages that you've won a prize or a gift card, even from well-known companies, they are likely scams. Do not respond to the messages.
- Anytime a website asks you for sensitive information, you need to be able to identify if the page is secure. Normally, a web page address will begin with the letters "http." However, a secure connection's address display should begin with "https" – note the "s" at the end. Or you should see a "lock" icon at the bottom of the page.
- Make sure your anti-virus, firewall, and other personal computer security applications are up-to-date. Change your passwords regularly. For example, the NCSA study indicated that 42 percent of computer users have never changed the passwords they use on social media sites.
- Do not trust caller ID. Scammers can use the Internet to trick caller ID into showing any number or area code.
- If your personal information has been stolen and you believe you are a victim of identity theft, first file a police report. You also can visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or call 800-282-0515 to learn about assistance available to help restore credit harmed by identity theft.
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