Stop, Think, Connect to help stop cyber crime

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and a host of federal, state and local government and private organizations are focusing on how to keep ourselves safe online.

On Wednesday, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood issued a news release, reminding Mississippians to be aware of cyber crime. “Internet crime in Mississippi can range from child pornography or exploitation to identity theft, email phishing scams or illegal downloads,” Hood warned. “It is most imperative that we keep a close eye on what our children are doing online.”

According to statistics from Stop, Think, Connect, a cyber security working group, Americans are becoming more aware of cyber security.

  • 96% of Americans feel a personal responsibility to be safer and more secure online
  • 93% believe their online actions can protect not only friends and family but also help to make the Web safer for everyone around the world.
  • 61% believe that much of online safety and security falls under their personal control, and consistent with those feelings, 90% said they want to learn more about keeping safer on the Internet.
  • 48% feel their actions to stay safe and secure can have a positive impact on financial, economic, and national security of the country, indicating Americans are open to making the bridge between their own safety and the nation’s security.
  • Concern about identity theft rates slightly higher than fears of job and healthcare loss. 54% of Americans are extremely concerned about loss of personal or financial information. To place this is in context, 53% are concerned about losing their jobs, while 51% feared not being able to provide healthcare for their family.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the American public have heard, read or seen something about online safety and security issues recently. However, most of what the news they remember is negative: identity theft, privacy loss, and increased frequency of attacks.
  • When asked why they don’t always do all the things they can or should do to stay safer online, Americans said they simply lacked the information or knowledge (28%) – a surprising finding that surpassed other hurdles often cited by the media. Only 12% said online safety was too expensive, while just 5% said they were too busy to take the extra step.

Here are a few tips from Hood’s office to help parents keep their kids safe.

  • Talk to your child about their activities online and caution them not to share certain information over the internet.
  • Be familiar with popular chat rooms or social networking sites such as Facebook and always maintain access to your child’s online account.
  • Teach your child the responsible use of the resources on-line and show them how to delete and/or block harmful e-mails, photos or messages.
  • Keep computers in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom, and consider instituting a “media curfew” limiting the time they can use the computer or internet.
  • Report abuses or threats to the Attorney General’s office and your Internet Service Provider.

If you need to report a cyber crime, call the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit at 601-576-4281. Anyone who feels they have been targeted for identity theft or any other general scams, can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-281-4418. For more information on cyber crimes and consumer scams, or to fill out a complaint form, visit http://www.agjimhood.com.

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