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November 1, 2012

Every Internet user has a role to play in securing cyberspace and ensuring the safety of themselves and their families online. Use the following tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) to do your part.

Protect your personal information. 

Secure your accounts. Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.

Make passwords long and strong. Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.

Use separate passwords. Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. 

Keep it safe. Everyone can forget a password. If you write it down, keep your password list stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer. If you store your password list in an electronic file or database, make sure it is encrypted.

Own your online presence. When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It's smart to limit who you share information with. 

Connect with care. 

When in doubt, throw it out. Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it's best to delete or, if appropriate, mark as junk email.

Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots. Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.

Protect your money. When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with "https://" or "shttp://", which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. The "s" stands for secure. 

Be web wise.

Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information.

Think before you act. Be wary of communication that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true or asks for personal information.

Back it up. Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.