Celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month with Benefits.gov
Americans today are connected to the Internet through financial transactions, transportation systems, health care records, emergency response systems, personal communications, and more. If you live a digital life, you should know how to protect yourself against Internet fraud.

This October, Benefits.gov is joining in celebrating the 10th Annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. This event was created to ensure that every American has the resources they need to stay safe and secure online.

To you get started on the right foot, here are some helpful tips from the DHS website:
  • Use secure passwords and don't share them with anyone. When creating a password, try to avoid using common words, phrases, or personal information and be sure to update it regularly.
  • Keep your operating system (for example, Windows), Internet browser, anti-virus and other software up-to-date. There are security updates available for free from major companies that can help you.
  • Verify emails from companies asking for personal information. If you are asked to provide personal information via email, contact the company directly to make sure the request is real.
  • Pay close attention to website URLs. Malicious websites sometimes use similar but different spellings or different domains (for example, .com instead of .net) to trick computer users.

In addition to these tips, the NCSAM website can help you find out if you might be at risk of Identity Theft. You can start by trying the free Online Identity Risk Calculator, or by using one of the free Security Check-Up tools available to you. If you're a teacher, NCSAM provides lesson plans for all ages to help educate students on the basics of cyber security. You can also learn more about staying secure online by attending one of NCSAM's educational events in person. To learn more about events in your area see the events webpage.

For individuals or companies who are making measurable and constructive contributions related to basic and/or advanced research in the area of cyber security and information sharing, the annual $25,000 Homeland Security Award might be of interest. To find out if you may be eligible for this award, or any of the other more than 1,000 other benefits on our site, click "Start Now" on the homepage to use our confidential Benefit Finder.

Benefits.gov, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center want to make sure that you have the information you need to remain safe on the Internet.