The world wide web is the unrestricted, uncensored connection of computers all over the world. People bank, get government information, and send personal information such as emails, images and more back and forth to friends and businesses daily.

With the amount of financial transactions taking place on the internet, it was only a matter of time before criminals began finding ways to intercept this information.

Called cyber-criminals, they have developed techniques and software to get inside your personal computer, take control of it and siphon off all the valuable information and files it may contain. They may even use your computer to invade other computers.

While there are threats to your security, just as there are in everyday life, there are ways to protect yourself, your family and your information. One of the best and most effective ways is with internet security software such as Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG, both of which offer a FREE download available from their respective websites. It is advised to acquire an up-to-date antivirus software immediately if you are going to be on the internet.

Also, if children are going to share the connection, you should learn about potential threats and the reality that they may be exposing their lives to malicious strangers. Below is a list of organizations and government entities that can help you learn more about safe practices on the web.

Kids and the Internet

Safekids
http://www.netsmartz.org/
Teaching children what to watch out for when surfing the internet with fun and interactive games.

http://www.ftc.gov/infosecurity
The FTC offers tips for consumers and businesses on computer security and protecting personal information.

http://www.getnetwise.org/
GetNetWise allows users to be only “one click away” from the resources they need to make informed decisions about their family’s use of the Internet.

http://www.cybersmart.org/
The CyberSmart! School Program offers the first professionally developed curriculum for elementary and middle schools, promoting responsible and effective computer and Internet use. Provided free of charge, this curriculum includes 65 original, standards-based teacher lesson plans with student activity sheets developed by educators and curriculum specialists. Tips for high school students on safeguarding their computer and America's cyber-infrastructure, and CyberSmart! Professional development for teachers are also provided.

Government and Industry Resources

http://www.sans.org/top20.htm
The SANS Institute.
The Twenty Most Critical Internet Security Vulnerabilities (Updated)

http://www.cio.com/research/security
Security and Privacy Research Center. The right information for the right people.

http://www.cybercitizenship.org/
The Cybercitizen Awareness Program educates children and young adults on the danger and consequences of cyber crime. By reaching out to parents and teachers, the program is designed to establish a broad sense of responsibility and community in an effort to develop smart, ethical and socially conscious online behavior in young people.

http://www.giantcomm.net/pdfs/09ROVI1204-User-i-Guide-Manual-R29.pdf