the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Staying Safe Online

Summary: 
The White House Cybersecurity Coordinator joined leaders to discuss the importance of National Cyber Security Awareness month, and offers some basic steps to be more secure at home.

We depend on the Internet and digital tools for many aspects of our daily lives. This fundamental reliance is why our digital infrastructure is a strategic national asset, and why today I joined leaders from the Department of Homeland Security, members of Congress, and leaders from across New York and financial world to support National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign.

This month, we recognize the role we all play in ensuring our information and communications infrastructure is interoperable, secure, reliable, and open to all. NCSAM reminds us that being safer and more secure online is a shared responsibility. That’s why, during the month of October we pay special attention to “Achieving Cybersecurity Together.”

While increased connectivity has enormous benefits, it has also increased the importance and complexity of our shared risk. Many of our lives depend on technology, which makes cybersecurity one of our country’s most important national security priorities. Our economy and critical infrastructure depend upon the Internet, as nearly all public and private sector entities conduct business and store critical data on Internet-connected networks.

Emerging cyber threats require engagement from the entire American community. This morning, I met with public and private leaders from the financial sector – individuals in the vanguard for securing our online banking systems, financial transactions and e-commerce. This afternoon, I’ll engage with the U.S. Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Force to examine law enforcement’s coordinated efforts to combat cybercrime. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, from government and law enforcement to the private sector and members of the public, working together to create a safe, secure, and resilient cyber environment.

We know it only takes a single infected computer to potentially infect thousands and perhaps millions of others. It’s our goal to make basic cybersecurity practices as reflexive as putting on a seatbelt – using antivirus software, being careful which websites you visit, not opening emails or attachments that look suspicious. These basic measures can improve both our individual and our collective safety online.

At the White House, we are committed to achieving these shared goals, and we encourage you to take a few basic steps to be more secure: 

  • Set strong passwords, and don’t share them with anyone.
  • Keep a clean machine – install regular updates to your operating system, browser, and other critical software applications.
  • Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about Internet safety.
  • Carefully choose the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
  • Be cautious about what you receive or read online – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Please help us continue to spread the word about how to stay safe online.

For more information on NCSAM 2012 or the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign, visit www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month or www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.