Cybersecurity Awareness

shared responsibiklity.pngCybersecurity is our shared responsibility and we all must work together to improve our Nation’s cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is not just the responsibility of governments, companies, groups, or individuals. Everyone shares the responsibility for cybersecurity – from the average smartphone user to a corporate CEO.

Cybersecurity is a cross-cutting, cross-sector problem, so we have got to tackle it together. The Nation’s increasing dependence on networks and digital systems has brought with it a rise in both the variety, quantity, and sophistication of cyber-threats. The Internet is critical for businesses, the government and individual users, so its security has become a bigger priority. We are all connected in cyberspace and each has a role to play in cybersecurity. Cyber-criminals are inventive, but by ensuring every citizen has the resources and information he or she needs to be a responsible cyber citizen, we will make the Internet more secure for all.

Keep a clean machine. Keeping your internet-connected devices free from malware and infections makes the internet safer for you and more secure for everyone. Regularly scan your personal and office devices for viruses and spyware along with keeping your software up to date. For additional ways to protect your devices please visit:
Avoid oversharing online. As a young professional, it may be very exciting to share what you do at work with others. Remember your organization’s security standards and be careful what you say, especially in public settings. You never know who may be overhearing your conversations. Also, put away your work identification or badge when out in public and when using public transportation. For additional tips to keep safe online visit:
Protect your password. Create a password with eight characters or more and a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and don’t make it easy to guess. Additionally, always opt to enable stronger authentication when available, especially for accounts with sensitive information including your email, medical files, or bank accounts. For more tips and tricks to protect your password, visit:
Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot – like on an airplane or in an airport, hotel, or café – be sure to confirm the name of the network and login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. If devices on your network are compromised for any reason, or if hackers break through an encrypted firewall, someone could be eavesdropping on you—even in your own home on encrypted Wi-Fi. For more useful tips about secure Wi-Fi visit
Play hard to get with strangers. Cyber criminals will often offer a financial reward, threaten you if you don’t engage, or claim that someone is in need of help. Don’t fall for it! Keep your personal information as private as possible. Cyber criminals can also use social engineering with these details to try to manipulate you into skipping normal security protocols. For more information, please visit:
Report any cybersecurity incident. Report computer or network vulnerabilities to the National Cybersecurity Communications and Integration Center (NCCIC) at 1-888-282-0870, or at Forward phishing emails or websites to NCCIC at
Do your part in protecting critical infrastructure. Our nation’s critical infrastructure runs on the Internet. The systems that enable us to live our daily lives—the electrical systems, financial institutions, transportation systems, and more—are all dependent upon a digital ecosystem. As cybersecurity breaches continue to rise in frequency and scale, it is critical for all Americans to understand their role and take steps to protect our critical infrastructure. For more information on how you can help, please visit
Use the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) website for resources on all things related to the cybersecurity workforce, from K-12 curricula, to professional development tools, NICCS is a one-stop shop with something for everyone. Visit for more information today.
Resources from the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center  
The West Virginia Intelligence/Fusion Center provides information to help the citizens of our state defend themselves and their families from all types of threats. The following reports inlclude ways to protect yourself and your family while online.
Internet Safety Resources for Parents
Social Networking Sites: Online Friendships Can Mean Offline Peril
Social networking sites are websites that encourage people to post profiles of themselves—complete with pictures, interests, and even journals—so they can meet like-minded friends. Most also offer chat rooms. Most sites are free; some restrict membership by age. 
These sites can be appealing to child sexual predators, too: all that easy and immediate access to information on potential victims. Even worse, kids want to look cool, so they sometimes post suggestive photos of themselves on the sites.
How pervasive is the problem? Even with all the media attention on the dangers of social networking, we still receive hundreds of complaints per year about children who have been victims of criminal incidents on social networks. These incidents include but are not limited to:
  • Adults posing as children who are about the same age as the victim who later travel to abuse the child; and
  • Adults posing as children who convince the child to expose themselves and/or perform sexual acts over webcam and later extort the child to perform additional acts.
According to an Internet safety pamphlet recently published by NCMEC, a survey of 12 to 17 year olds revealed that 38 percent had posted self-created content such as photos, videos, artwork, or stories. Another survey of 10 to 17 year olds revealed 46 percent admit to having given out their personal information to someone they did not know. The likelihood that kids will give out personal information over the Internet increases with age, with 56 percent of 16 to 17 year olds most likely sharing personal information. 
Social networking websites often ask users to post a profile with their age, gender, hobbies, and interests. While these profiles help kids connect and share common interests, individuals who want to victimize kids can use those online profiles to search for potential victims. Kids sometimes compete to see who has the greatest number of contacts and will add new people to their lists even if they do not know them in real life.
Children often don’t realize that they cannot “take back” the online text and images they post. They may not know that individuals with access to this information can save and forward these postings to an unlimited number of users. Kids also may not realize the potential ramifications of their online activities. They can face consequences for posting harmful, explicit, dangerous, or demeaning information online, including being humiliated in front of their families and peers, suspended from school, charged criminally, and denied employment or entry into schools. 
What can you do to keep your children safe, especially if they are visiting networking sites?
  • Most importantly, be aware and involved:
  • Monitor your children’s use of the Internet; keep your Internet computer in an open, common room of the house.
  • Tell your kids why it’s so important not to disclose personal information online.
  • Check your kids’ profiles and what they post online.
  • Read and follow the safety tips provided on the sites.
  • Report inappropriate activity to the website or law enforcement immediately.
  • Explain to your kids that once images are posted online they lose control of them and can never get them back.
  • Only allow your kids to post photos or any type of personally identifying information on websites with your knowledge and consent.
  • Instruct your kids to use privacy settings to restrict access to profiles so only the individuals on their contact lists are able to view their profiles.
  • Remind kids to only add people they know in real life to their contact lists.
  • Encourage kids to choose appropriate screen names or nicknames.
  • Talk to your kids about creating strong passwords.
  • Visit social networking websites with your kids, and exchange ideas about acceptable versus potentially risky websites.
  • Ask your kids about the people they are communicating with online.
  • Make it a rule with your kids that they can never give out personal information or meet anyone in person without your prior knowledge and consent. If you agree to a meeting between your child and someone they met online, talk to the parents/guardians of the other individual first and accompany your kids to the meeting in a public place.
  • Encourage your kids to consider whether a message is harmful, dangerous, hurtful, or rude before posting or sending it online, and teach your kids not to respond to any rude or harassing remarks or messages that make them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused and to show you the messages instead. 
  • Educate yourself on the websites, software, and apps that your child uses.
  • Don’t forget cell phones! They often have almost all the functionality of a computer.