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MADISON, Wis. - Experts are concerned that the United States is becoming a nation of cyber-security "haves and have-nots" - those who take steps to protect their sensitive information and those who remain vulnerable.
The long list of companies that have seen massive cyber-security attacks in recent months includes credit-monitoring company TRW, Sears and Sony. A recent survey found that 90 percent of Americans are concerned about the security of their personal information and want to know more about online safeguards.
"So, we've got a market out there of people who are open to hearing the messages," said Jared Albracht, senior communications specialist for the Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection, "and we're trying to get the word out to people that there are all these different things that they can do, ways to approach their online accounts, ways to approach getting online, making sure their computers and their devices are secure, making sure their passwords are secure."
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and the state's consumer-protection agency is releasing daily tips on cyber security. Find them on the agency's Facebook page at Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection, and on their Twitter account, @WIConsumer. Albracht said there are almost daily reminders in the news of the need to be vigilant about online activity - but there also are plenty of tools available online that can help.
"With all the information that we're putting online through our devices and all of our different social-media accounts, our email accounts, and all the different accounts we have - different businesses and government agencies - it's important for everyone to know that there are steps that we each need to take to try to shore up that information as best we can," she said. Albracht said a good place to start your personal cyber-security review is online at stopthinkconnect.org.
More information is at staysafeonline.org, and the study can be read here.