[October 07, 2013]SPRINGFIELD -- Whether through a
computer at home, school or work, or with a mobile device, millions
of Americans access the Internet each day. The Internet provides
almost limitless opportunities while creating risks that can range
from mere inconveniences to serious threats such as identity theft
and child safety.
Throughout October, which is National Cyber Security Awareness
Month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will highlight cyber
safety to help people understand online risks and what they can do
to prevent problems.
"The Internet is part of our everyday life," said IEMA Director
Jonathon Monken. "With the click of a mouse, we can make purchases,
communicate with friends and family around the world, and perform a
myriad of business functions. We want people to understand how to
protect their computer, personal information, business operations
and, most importantly, their children from cyber risks."
Monken said the Ready Illinois website,
cyber safety section that provides information and links
to dozens of resources for the safe use of computers and the
Internet at home and businesses, as well as guidance for parents and
children about online safety.
The site also offers information technology "best practices,"
including an IT policy template, sample policies and guidance on how
to avoid risks associated with the storage of information on
photocopiers, fax machines and printers.
Online shopping is just one of the many uses of the Internet that
is rapidly growing in popularity. U.S. online retail sales are
estimated to top $252 billion in 2013. While shopping on the
Internet is convenient, it's important to ensure your computer has
the latest security software, Web browsers and operating system to
provide the best defense against viruses, malware and other online
Other tips for protecting yourself while shopping online:
Check out sellers in advance to ensure
they are reputable. Search for online reviews of the merchant
and note phone numbers and physical addresses of vendors in case
you have a problem with your transaction or billing.
Make sure the site
is legitimate before you enter your personal and financial
information. Look for a closed padlock on your Web browser's
address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https.
This indicates the purchase is encrypted or secured.
Use safe payment
options. Credit cards are generally the safest option because
they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the
product isn't delivered or isn't what was ordered.
Print and save
records of your online transactions, including the product
description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale and copies
of any email exchange with the seller.
Turn your computer off when you're
finished shopping or when it's not in use. Leaving your computer
on gives scammers 24/7 access to your computer to install
malware and commit cyber crimes.
For more online safety tips, visit the Ready Illinois website at
In addition to cyber safety information, the website is a one-stop
location for information about disaster preparedness, what to do
during a disaster and steps for recovery after a disaster.