Hazards: Cyber Security


Cyber Security icon

Cybersecurity involves preventing, detecting, and responding to cyber incidents. Unlike physical threats that prompt immediate action, cyber threats are often difficult to identify and comprehend.

Among these dangers are viruses erasing entire systems, intruders breaking into systems and altering files, intruders using your computer or device to attack others, or intruders stealing confidential information.

What to Do

There are some simple steps you can take to protect your computer and personal information:

  • Keep Your Firewall Turned On: A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to gain access to crash it, delete information, or even steal passwords or other sensitive information. Software firewalls are widely recommended for single computers. The software is prepackaged on some operating systems or can be purchased for individual computers. For multiple networked computers, hardware routers typically provide firewall protection.
  • Install or Update Your Antivirus Software: Antivirus software is designed to prevent malicious software programs from embedding on your computer. If it detects malicious code, like a virus or a worm, it works to disarm or remove it. Viruses can infect computers without users' knowledge. Most types of antivirus software can be set up to update automatically.
  • Install or Update Your Antispyware Technology: Spyware is just what it sounds like—software that is surreptitiously installed on your computer to let others peer into your activities on the computer. Some spyware collects information about you without your consent or produces unwanted pop-up ads on your web browser. Some operating systems offer free spyware protection, and inexpensive software is readily available for download on the Internet or at your local computer store. Be wary of ads on the Internet offering downloadable antispyware—in some cases these products may be fake and may actually contain spyware or other malicious code. It's like buying groceries—shop where you trust.
  • Keep Your Operating System Up to Date: Computer operating systems are periodically updated to stay in tune with technology requirements and to fix security holes. Be sure to install the updates to ensure your computer has the latest protection.
  • Be Careful What You Download: Carelessly downloading e-mail attachments can circumvent even the most vigilant anti-virus software. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don't know, and be wary of forwarded attachments from people you do know. They may have unwittingly advanced malicious code.
  • Turn Off Your Computer: With the growth of high-speed Internet connections, many opt to leave their computers on and ready for action. The downside is that being "always on" renders computers more susceptible. Beyond firewall protection, which is designed to fend off unwanted attacks, turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker's connection—be it spyware or a botnet that employs your computer's resources to reach out to other unwitting users.

File a report with the local police so there is an official record of the incident.

The spectrum of cyber risks is limitless; threats, some more serious and sophisticated than others, can have wide-ranging effects on the individual, community, organizational, and national level. These risks include:

  • Organized cybercrime, state-sponsored hackers, and cyber espionage can pose national security risks to our country.
  • Transportation, power, and other services may be disrupted by large scale cyber incidents. The extent of the disruption is highly uncertain as it will be determined by many unknown factors such as the target and size of the incident.
  • Vulnerability to data breach and loss increases if an organization’s network is compromised. Information about a company, its employees, and its customers can be at ris
  • Individually-owned devices such as computers, tablets, mobile phones, and gaming systems that connect to the Internet are vulnerable to intrusion. Personal information may be at risk without proper security.

Related Information



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