Last month the credit reporting agency Equifax disclosed that they had suffered a cyber-attack that endangered the personal information of 143 million U.S. users. Even before the Equifax hack, 64 percent of Americans had been personally affected by a major data breach or data theft incident, according to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center.
Throughout the month of October, the Public Library Association (PLA) and public libraries nationwide will celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). As the need for cyber security awareness grows, public libraries are stepping up efforts to provide critical digital literacy training and information. PLA is doing its part by highlighting cyber security material on DigitalLearn.org, a collection of self-directed, interactive online tutorials developed by the association to help users increase their digital literacy. At DigitalLearn.org, learners can take short, self-directed courses that help them recognize danger and stay safe online. These include:
- Accounts and Passwords. This course teaches the basics of creating online accounts, including creating secure passwords and keeping accounts secure.
- Online Scams. This course helps new computer users identify and recognize types of scams, how to avoid getting hurt, and how to report them.
- Internet Privacy. This course helps learners understand the level of personal, confidential information we can share on websites and via email, and take control of the information we are constantly sending and receiving.
In recognition of NCSAM, PLA encourages libraries to develop classes focusing on the basics of cybersecurity, covering topics like computer viruses, antivirus software, safe web browsing, and strategies for creating and remembering effective passwords.