Friday, October 02, 2009

It's Cyber Security Awareness Month!

DHS or the National Cyber Security Alliance or someone has declared October National Cyber Security Awareness Month. So if you aren't already aware of your personal information getting pillaged on Facebook by the "What Star Trek Character Are You" application -- or having your computer infected by the "Your Computer May Already be Infected - Download This Tool Now" pop up add," -- or that there is a deposed leader in Nigeria that wants to share $10 million with you -- NOW it a good time to become aware of such things!

And what better time to point out that the good folks at OnGuard Online (a joint effort of a bunch of federal agencies and NGOs) have just released their latest: NetCetera: Chatting with Kids about Being Online.
Net Cetera
In Net Cetera: Chatting With Kids About Being Online, OnGuard Online gives adults practical tips to help kids navigate the online world.

Kids and parents have many ways of socializing and communicating online, but they come with certain risks. This guide encourages parents to reduce the risks by talking to kids about how they communicate – online and off – and helping kids engage in conduct they can be proud of. Net Cetera covers what parents need to know, where to go for more information, and issues to raise with kids about living their lives online.

OnGuard Online encourages you to use this guide with your kids, in your school, at your PTA meeting, or anywhere else parents might gather. Feel free to order as many free copies as you’d like, put your own sticker on it, reprint sections in a newsletter or on a website, download a button or link to it, or even reprint it with your own logo. These materials are in the public domain.

To order free copies of Net Cetera, visit To find out more about reprinting the guide, contact

OnGuard Online is seeking to partner with school districts on a pilot program using this guide. If your school district might be interested, please contact us at

There are lots of worms, viruses and other beasties out there on the Internet. You can do a lot to protect yourself and decrease your risks. But ya gotta be smart. I am always amazed by my friends who get lots of telemarketing calls and then complain about them. I ask, "well, at the check out stand when they ask for your phone number, do you give it to them??" They pause with a dumb look on their faces. "Well sure, but..." I shake my head. Dont give no personal information to no one. Dont use your correct birthday. Dont list your actual height. In fact, pretty much make up an entirely fictional character and then live vicariously through it! (okay, joking). Be smart out there; it a dangerous marvelous Internet.
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