Created on Thursday, 01 October 2015 12:40
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month
Governor Rauner issues proclamation encouraging Illinoisans
to stay safe when online
SPRINGFIELD – The Internet touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives. From computers and laptops at homes, schools and workplaces to smartphones and tablets that can be used anywhere, the ability to instantly connect with information and people around the world offers countless opportunities for everyone, including criminals.
Governor Bruce Rauner has proclaimed October National Cyber Security Awareness Month to highlight the importance of understanding and avoiding cyber risks. During October, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is joining with local emergency management agencies to increase awareness of online risks and provide tips on what people can do to prevent problems.
“Cybercrime is a serious problem throughout the world,” said Gov. Rauner. “Every day, criminals find new ways to steal valuable information from governments, businesses and individuals for financial gain or actions that could imperil our safety. Each of us has a responsibility to help maintain the security of cyberspace.”
Each week in October, IEMA will post information and tips on various cyber security topics on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov) to help people avoid cybercrimes. Tips and links to cyber security information also will be posted on the Ready Illinois Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter page (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois).
• Oct. 1-4 – Protect yourself against cybercrime
• Oct. 5-11 – Be mobile, but not a victim
• Oct. 12-18 – Don’t reuse passwords
• Oct. 19-25 – Don’t be too social
• Oct. 26-31 – Don’t take the bait on phishing scams
“Cybercrime can range from malware on a single computer to large-scale hacks of large corporations and governments,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We want to help people understand the risks and provide simple ways they can reduce the chance of being a victim of cybercrime.”
Joseph offered a few tips to help people minimize the risk of being a cybercrime victim including:
• Configure your computer securely Use privacy and security settings in your software, email system and web browsers. Regularly update your anti-virus software to identify and thwart new strains of malicious software.
• Keep software and operating systems updated Be sure to install all software updates as soon as they are offered; using the “auto update” setting is the best way to ensure timely updates.
• Use strong passwords Cybercriminals use automated programs that will try every word in the dictionary in a few minutes. When creating a password, use at least 10 characters, with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
• Be cautious about links and attachments Even communications you receive that appear to be from friends and family may contain links to malicious sites, so be careful when clicking on links in those messages. When in doubt, delete it.
• Protect your personal information Be aware of financial and sensitive information you give out. Personal information on your social networking pages can be clues to answers to website and bank security questions. Use privacy settings to limit who can see the details of your social network pages and be smart about what you decide to share online.
• Review your financial statements regularly Cybercriminals can find loopholes and your accounts may get hacked through no fault of your own. Review financial statements regularly and contact your financial institution immediately if you see any suspicious looking activity.
• What to do if you are a victim? Notify your bank and any other entities with which you have accounts to inform them that someone may be using your account fraudulently. Contact all three major credit bureaus to request a credit report and have a fraud alert and credit freeze placed on your account. Internet-related crime should be reported to appropriate authorities, including your local police department and the Illinois Attorney General’s office.
Created on Tuesday, 22 September 2015 09:32
Illinois Residents Encouraged to Register for ‘The Great ShakeOut’ Earthquake Drill
‘Drop, Cover and Hold On’ Drill Set for October 15
SPRINGFIELD – At 10:15 a.m. on October 15, millions of people across the U.S. and in several countries around the globe will take a few minutes to practice actions that could save their lives in the event of an earthquake. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies are encouraging people in Illinois to take part in the annual Great ShakeOut drill.
“The ShakeOut drill is a quick, easy way to practice earthquake preparedness,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “It takes very little time, so it works well for schools and office buildings. You simply drop down to the ground, take cover under a table or other piece of heavy furniture and hold on.”
Illinois has participated in ShakeOut drills for the past five years. In October 2014, nearly 578,000 Illinoisans took part in the nationwide earthquake drill. To date, more than 534,000 people in Illinois are registered for the October ShakeOut event.
Joseph noted that some of the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the U.S. happened a little more than 200 years ago in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which reaches into southern Illinois. That series of earthquakes lasted for several months and shaking was felt as far away as the East Coast.
Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at www.shakeout.org/centralus. Registered participants will receive additional information about the drill and earthquake preparedness. While the international drill will take place on Oct. 15, individual drills can be conducted anytime within two weeks of that date.
The drill focuses on the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” protective actions people should take when an earthquake begins: “Drop” down to the floor, take “Cover” under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and “Hold On” to the furniture item and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.
Additional information about the earthquake risk in Illinois and steps to take before, during and after an earthquake is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
Created on Monday, 14 September 2015 15:37
The ILACP partnered with 286 state traffic safety agencies, state, county and local law enforcement agencies, railroads, railroad police agencies, as well as, private companies during the week of September 14th. through September 20th in an effort to bring an increased awareness to the issue of rail safety.
The week focused on enforcement efforts. Officers across the state issued 1191 warnings and 712 citations for rail related traffic violations.
The week also focused on educational efforts which included:
•140 Operation Lifesaver Presentations
•176 Press releases
•Hundreds of television, newspaper, internet, social media and web page items.
By taking a statewide, all-industry approach the ILACP and our partners plan to build on existing programs and initiatives and bring greater public attention to these issues. In the end, we are hopeful that these partnerships and our efforts will reduce or eliminate injuries and or fatalities that occur at highway-rail crossings or on railroad property.
For more information checkout www.illinoisrailsafetyweek.org.
Created on Tuesday, 01 September 2015 15:21
IEMA Encourages People to Plan for Emergencies
‘Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today’ is Theme for National Preparedness Month in September
SPRINGFIELD – Since the beginning of 2015, Illinois residents have endured blizzard conditions, tornadoes, flooding, windstorms and excessive heat. For some, this weather caused temporary inconveniences, such as power outages or blocked roads. However, hundreds of others in Illinois are still working to get their lives back to normal after storms or flooding damaged or destroyed their homes and personal belongings.
While severe weather and other disasters can’t be prevented, having an emergency preparedness plan can help people stay safe and recover sooner after an event.
As part of National Preparedness Month in September, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies throughout Illinois are joining local, state and federal agencies across the U.S. in a nationwide push to encourage personal preparedness. The theme for this year’s national preparedness campaign is ‘Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.’
“Having an emergency plan and discussing that plan with others in your home is key to staying safe in an emergency,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “If a disaster occurs when your family is apart, does everyone know how to contact each other and where to meet? There’s no time like right now to have that discussion and make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected.”
Joseph said IEMA offers disaster preparedness information on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters.
In addition, throughout September IEMA will post daily preparedness tips on the Ready Illinois Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (@ReadyIllinois).
During disasters, IEMA uses the Ready Illinois website, Facebook and Twitter pages to provide critical information about the incident, including shelter locations, road closures, safety information, photos and more.
Created on Tuesday, 18 August 2015 14:11
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available in Illinois
Following Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Declaration
ATLANTA - The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that federal economic injury disaster loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes located in Illinois as a result of excessive rain and flooding beginning on June 1, 2015.
The disaster declaration includes all counties in Illinois except for Lake; the counties of Clinton,
Des Moines, Jackson, Lee, Louisa, Muscatine and Scott in Iowa; and Cape Girardeau, Clark, Jefferson, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Mississippi, Perry, Pike, Ralls, Saint Charles, Saint Louis, Saint Louis City, Sainte Genevieve and Scott in Missouri.
“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities affected by the same disaster,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.
Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers or ranchers.
The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.625 percent for private non-profit organizations of all sizes and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than April 12, 2016.
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For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at www.sba.gov/disaster
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