Senior Internet Policy Advisor, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Hackers use software programs to search the internet for computers that aren’t protected by up-to-date security software. When they find unprotected computers, they try to install malware that allows them to control the computers remotely. Many thousands of these computers linked together make up a “botnet,“ a network controlled by hackers to steal people’s personal information or send spam. Millions of home computers are part of botnets.
On Monday, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation to recognize National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The White House Blog featured a post by Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, that highlighted a few government websites – including OnGuardOnline.gov – that everyone can use to help protect themselves online.
Assistant Director, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
The digital revolution has enabled us to connect to the internet virtually anywhere at any time. Even when we are not directly connected, the internet supports our everyday lives through our financial transactions, transportation networks, emergency response systems, personal communication and more. This reliance on the internet will only continue to increase as technology advances and access to the internet expands. To maximize the potential of a digital society, we must protect the resources that make it possible.
Imagine: You’re happily browsing the internet one day when a host of urgent pop-ups tells you that malicious software has been discovered on your computer. These messages urge you to download software right away to fix the problem.
If you pay for and download the software, the program tells you that your problems are fixed. The reality: there was nothing to fix. And what’s worse, the program now installed on your computer could be harmful.
Welcome to the new and improved OnGuardOnline.gov – the U.S. government’s site to help people be safe, secure and responsible online. It’s chock-full of practical tips and helpful resources, whether you're securing your computer at home; developing lesson plans for a school or community group; or planning a corporate training program.
OnGuardOnline.gov is a partnership of 15 federal agencies, led by the Federal Trade Commission. You’ll notice that we’ve linked up with the Stop.Think.Connect.™ campaign, managed by the Department of Homeland Security. We’ll have more to say about the Stop.Think.Connect. campaign’s activities and accomplishments in future posts – including its impressive partnerships with national organizations for youth.