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Is Your Computer Safe? Use the US CERT Website

written by: Steve Mallard•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 7/4/2011

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team at us-cert.org is a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the public and private sectors. Everyone should utilize this resource as a early warning system for their computer networks.

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    What is US CERT?

    Security and the public and private sectors. Information Technology professionals should utilize this resource as a early warning system for their computer networks. This CERT organization was founded in 2003. The organization offers downloads that include posters and reports for US companies that brings awareness to organizations. US-CERT has established a collaboration of groups and programs that offer information sharing on cyber security issues among government agencies at the local, state and federal levels.

    US CERT Logo US-Cert offers a national cyber alert system that emails cyber alerts or exploit information to system administrators in a technical or non-technical format. These alerts focus on security for businesses and home users. Alerts can be for any area of software.

    Security publications include information about the securing of your computer including recovering from an internet or email attack, general internet security, distributable materials including monthly and quarterly reports.

    There are four products in the National Cyber Alert System that offer a variety of information for users with varied technical expertise from the technical expert to the novice user. These variations allow for all users to utilize the information in US-Cert. With technical cyber alerts along with bulletins, and cyber security tips, the US- Cert site becomes a powerful and rich resource for all users.

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    OS Vulnerability and Exploit Alerts

    The technical cyber security alerts allow for emails to reach the end user in a timely manner. These alerts cover vulnerabilities, exploits and security issues for all operating systems and software.

    The cyber security bulletins give patch information on a weekly basis. This prevents overwhelming emails coming on a daily basis. Each bulletin gives links and summaries that can be quickly scanned. Unlike other newsletters that provide too much information, these bulletins are written in a low impact format that allows the user to glance over the information. Links in the emails provide detailed information when needed.

    Immediate cyber security alerts contain information that covers current information technology security issues, exploits and vulnerabilities of software and operating systems. These alerts contain information that outlines steps and actions that home users or corporate users can take to correct the aforesaid problems.

    The fourth area covers tips that provide advice for common issues faced by the public. These tips guide typical users through a step by step guide of protecting their computer.

    One of the best features of US Cert is the National Vulnerabilities Database at http://nvd.nist.gov/nvd.cfm this database allows for the searching of exploits and vulnerabilities. This information gives links, information and corrective action needed to correct these flaws. US Cert is a member of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST is a federal technology agencies).

    US Certs also offers an online form to report any vulnerabilities or flaws in software, hardware, operating systems or attempted intrusions. Reporting these items allows for the review and distribution of corrective action to subscribers.

    Who should sign up to receive these tips? Everyone. Communication in today's world, is sometimes overwhelming but, it is important to protect assets whether they are personal or a company's digital assets.

    http://www.us-cert.gov/