The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is recognizing October as National Cyber Security Month. Floridians are encouraged to educate themselves about Internet safety and review tips for keeping children safe online.
“Every year we spend more and more of our time online with laptops, tablets, and smart phones.” said Special Agent Supervisor Mike Phillips of FDLE’s Computer Crime Center. “Let’s all use this month as a reminder to talk to our employees, families, and friends about cyber security. Simple steps, such as having a strong password and keeping it private, can protect us from a number of risks like identity theft and cyber bullying.”
Parents are encouraged to discuss the dangers of the Internet with their children and develop guidelines for using it safely. Some helpful tips include:
· If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.
Cyber crooks are everywhere. Scams occur in nearly every auction, dating, and classified site on the Internet. Social networks are especially targeted. Be vigilant and do some research before you buy or sell online. And keep in mind that wiring money to online acquaintances is very risky.
· Avoid responding to emails from strangers, or strange emails from people you think you know.
Cyber crooks often try to trick you into sending them money or your personal information by pretending to be someone else. These attempts used to be crude, but they have become very sophisticated and difficult to identify.
· Use strong passwords.
Don’t make your password easy to guess, easy to find, or easy to lose.
The only way your computer knows who you are is by your password. Make sure your confidential information is protected by a password that is long and complex.
· Use antivirus and keep it up-to-date.
Antivirus software can protect you from a number of different cyber attacks. But you have to keep it updated. Selecting “automatic updates” is a good way to insure that all the patches get installed.
· Know what your kids do online.
Your kids are still learning what is safe and they need your guidance.
Find ways to talk about the Internet with your kids and use it with them whenever you can.
FDLE recommends Floridians visit www.secureflorida.org or www.missingkids.com to learn how to minimize the potential risks of instant messaging, social networking, online gaming, and more. Citizens may also go to www.flsexoffender.net to search an e-mail or instant message address to determine if it may belong to a registered sexual predator or offender. Florida’s Sexual Offender/Predator Registry is maintained by FDLE and currently houses data on more than 57,000 registered sex offenders and predators. Florida law requires all registered sexual offenders and predators to register their e-mail and instant message addresses prior to using them. Additional tips for keeping children safe online may be found at http://www.netsmartz.org.
In 2010, the Florida Computer Crime Center (FC3) worked 68 major investigations, made 46 arrests, managed 869 requests for assistance and provided computer crime investigation training to 336 law enforcement personnel. In addition, FC3 provided Internet safety training to approximately 3,500 Floridians.
FDLE is an active member of the three Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces in Florida. There are 63 federally-funded task forces nationwide created solely to investigate Internet crimes against children that include the online sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.
For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Keith Kameg or Kristi Gordon
FDLE Office of Public Information