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News > Commentary - October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: what users can do
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: what users can do

Posted 10/20/2011   Updated 10/20/2011 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Air Force Maj. Scott O'Malley
673d Communications Squadron

10/20/2011 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Home computers are a common target of cybercriminals.

Home users keep large amounts of personal data on their computer, such as tax records, banking information, and lists of contacts.

In addition, home computers have become the family archive of photos, documents, and other sentimental items that, if lost, would be devastating.

There are actions you can take to help protect your family's privacy and decrease your odds of a cyberattack.

Consider doing the following during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month:

Be Web Wise
Stay current.

Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online.

Check trusted Websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be Web wise.

Think before you act: be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.
Back it up: protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

Be a Good Online Citizen

Safer for me, more secure for all: what you do online has thepotential to affect everyone - at home, at work and around the world.

Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.

Post only about others as you would have them post about you.

Help the authorities fight cyber crime: report stolen finances or identities and other cyber crime to the Internet Crime Complaints Center at, the Federal Trade Commission at (if it's fraud), and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.

Another way to stay cybersafe is to ensure you have the latest Anti-virus software on your computer.

The Air Force Portal has instructions for Air Force employees to download Symantec or McAfee antivirus software free of charge.

(Editor's note: O'Malley is the commander of the 673d Communications Squadron.)

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