The majority of cybercriminals do not discriminate; they target vulnerable computer systems regardless of whether they are part of a government agency, Fortune 500 company, small business, or belong to a home user. However, there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of an incident:
- Set strong passwords, change them regularly, and don’t share them with anyone.
- Do not include your name, your kids' or pets' names, or other well-known information about yourself in your password;
- Avoid using common words in your passwords or passphrases. Instead, break up words with numbers and punctuation marks or symbols. For example, @ can replace the letter "A" and an exclamation point (!) can replace the letters "I" and "L"; and
- Use a combination of upper and lower case letters.
- Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates.
- Maintain an open dialogue with your friends, family, colleagues and community about Internet safety.
- Use privacy settings and limit the amount of personal information you post online.
- Be cautious about offers online – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The extent, nature, and timing of cyber incidents are impossible to predict. If you are a victim of a cyber incident, follow the steps below to respond and recover from the incident.
If at Home
If at Work
If at a public place (school, library, etc.)
After taking immediate action, notify the proper authorities:
- File a report with the local police so there is an official record of the incident.
- Report online crime or fraud to your local United States Secret Service (USSS) Electronic Crimes Task Force or Internet Crime Complaint Center.
- Report identity theft and consumer fraud to the Federal Trade Commission.