NCSA threat list warns of trouble ahead

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In 2006, chief security officers will have to battle ever more sophisticated viruses engineered to target applications such as instant messenging and text messaging, a new report produced jointly be the Department of Homeland Security and National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has warned.

According to the 2006 DHS and NCSA Emerging Internet Threat List, wireless devices, such as PDAs and cell phones, are also becoming increasingly vulnerable to hackers and viruses. The study also predicts that phishers will continue to be an "ongoing threat" to consumers as they become more prevalent and sophisticated in obtaining consumers' personal and financial information.

The report from the NCSA, in consultation with the department, identifies the top emerging internet threats. It also suggests online preparedness best practices for consumers to stay secure while conducting online activity in 2006.

"Over the past year, NCSA has worked closely with the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security to increase awareness and education about staying safe online by identifying the most prevalent and emerging cyber threats that could plague consumers in 2006," said Ron Teixeira, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "Arming consumers with a list of emerging threats is just the first step to educating consumers about the ever-evolving online security environment, it is critical that we also empower users with the how-to practices to protect themselves against these risks."

The five best practice suggestions made by the study to help consumers fight off cyber thieves and avoid becoming victims of internet crime include:

  • Practice the core three protections - install, configure, regularly update
  • Do not open unexpected emails
  • Do not download attachments in unsolicited emails
  • Take precautions to protect your mobile devices
  • Reporter Internet crimes to proper authorities
  • A not-for-profit organization, the National Cyber Security Alliance is a central clearinghouse for cyber security awareness and education for home users, small businesses and the education community. A public-private partnership, NCSA sponsors include the DHS, the Federal Trade Commission and many private-sector corporations and organizations.

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