Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Https

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

a man's hands holding a credit card and a mobile phone with a laptop

Cybersecurity

 

Cybersecurity involves preventing, detecting and responding to cyberattacks that can have wide-ranging effects on individuals, organizations, the community and at the national level.

Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to access or damage a computer or network system. Cyberattacks can lead to loss of money, theft of personal, financial and medical information that can damage your reputation and safety.

eyeball icon
Cyberattacks can occur in many ways, including:
  • Accessing your personal computers, mobile phones, gaming systems and other internet and Bluetooth connected devices.
  • Damaging your financial security, including identity theft.
  • Blocking your access or deleting your personal information and accounts.
  • Targeting children and adults.
  • Complicating your employment, business services, transportation and power grid.

Protect Yourself Against Cyberattacks

control icon
You can avoid cyber risks by setting up the proper controls. The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your property before a cyberattack occurs:
cybersecurity illustration
  • Limit the personal information you share online. Change privacy settings and do not use location features.
  • Keep software applications and operating systems up-to-date.
  • Using a password manager, use upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters, as well as, two-factor authentication (two methods of verification).
  • Watch for suspicious activity that asks you to do something right away, offers something that sounds too good to be true or needs your personal information. Think before you click, and when in doubt, do NOT click. Do not provide personal information.
  • Use encrypted (secure) Internet communications.
  • Protect your home and/or business on a strong, using a secure Internet connection and Wi-Fi network.
  • Use a stronger authentication such as a personal identification number (PIN) or password that only you would know. Consider using a separate device that can receive a code or uses a biometric scan (e.g. fingerprint scanner or facial recognition).
  • Check your account statements and credit reports regularly.
  • Only share personal information on secure sites (e.g. “https://”). Do not use sites with invalid certificates. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that creates a more secure connection.
  • Use antivirus solutions, malware and firewalls to block threats.
  • Regularly back up your files in an encrypted file or encrypted file storage device.
  • Protect your home network by changing the administrative and Wi-Fi passwords regularly. When configuring your router, use either the instruction manual or speak to your internet-cable provider, to setup the Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) setting, which is the strongest encryption option.

During a Cyberattack

  • Check your credit statement for unrecognizable charges.
  • Check your credit reports to be aware of open accounts and/or loans you did not open.
  • Be alert for soliciting emails and social media users asking for private information.
  • If you notice strange activity, (e.g. inappropriate pop-up windows), limit the damage by immediately changing all of your internet account passwords.
  • Consider turning off the device. Take it to a professional to scan for potential viruses and fix.
  • Let work, school or other system owners know.
  • Contact banks, credit card companies and other financial services companies where you hold accounts. You may need to place holds on accounts that have been attacked. Close any unauthorized credit or charge accounts. Report that someone may be using your identity.
  • Check to make sure the software on all of your systems is up-to-date.
  • Run a security scan on your computer/device to make sure your system is not infected or acting more slowly or inefficiently.
  • If you find a problem, disconnect your device from the Internet and perform a full system restore.

After a Cyberattack

badge icon
If you believe you have been a victim of a cyberattack, let the proper federal, state and local authorities know:

Additional Resources

Last Updated: 10/14/2020