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Peer Review

US-CERT Cyber Security Tips



Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 3.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Apr 04, 2006 by Information Technology Editorial Board
Overview: This reference material provides tips for common cyber security issues aimed at
the non-technical user. Categories include:
- General Information - whys and wherefores
- General Security - passwords, software, habits and online safety,
- Attacks and threats - recognition, preventions, avoidance and hoaxes,
- Email and communications - attachments, spam, free services, digital
signatures, and instant messaging,
- Mobile Devices - portable and wireless device security,
- Privacy,
- Safe browsing, and
- software and applications - patching, file sharing, licenses, and voice over
Internet protocol (VoIP)

Tips and advice about common security issues. General non-technical information
about computer security and related issues. Well presented.

Learning Goals: Introduction to computer security for non-technical persons.

After studying the tips presented, the student will have the ability to
recognize when they are acting in an insecure manner online and they will have
the knowledge to correct the situation.

The student will be able to identify threats to various devices and activities
in an online environment.

The students will be able to identify what tools or actions are required to
mitigate each threat.
Target Student Population: High school or general education courses at the college, university of
continuous education levels. General computer users, high school and post
secondary (for non-technical computer users).
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None, other than interest in the subject matter.
Type of Material: This is reference material. Text; RSS feed; e-mail.

Recommended Uses: This would be appropriate as a handout to support a lecture. This can be used as
online reading. Reinforcement, general study.

Technical Requirements: Computer with a browser (or RSS reader/portal or email client)
and connection to the Internet. A printer is optional.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths: The information is clearly written with topic headers and subheaders for quick
access to information. Links are provided for deeper information about selected
topics. Well organized. Good selection of topics, well constructed.

Concerns: Material is very, very basic. Lack of figures or graphics makes material
somewhat bland. Volume of material might scare off some users.
Terminology links go to pages about the topic, rather than a glossary.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The material is clear and easy to understand. There is a printer-friendly
friendly format and tips are offered by email as RSS from the "Archive" button
on each topic page.

Looking elsewhere in the site, in the publications link under the topic of home
security, there are examples and checklists that may be used to augment this

Potentially very effective.

Students can receive e-mail tips. Could also be used as an RSS feed for course
web site or portal.

Concerns: The material does not offer quizzes to test learning nor any hands on exercises.

The design of the web pages, optimized for quick downloading does lend a
monotone aspect to the information. Due to terminology links going to topic
pages, the student could be distracted.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Easy to use.

Very simple and uncluttered interface. Each topic is about one page.

The material loads within an acceptable time frame for 56K access. A
printer-friendly version of selected pages is available.
Concerns: There is no table of contents on each page, linking directly to subtopics within
the page. Not all pages are optimized for printing. The topics are not in a
format for easy storage on electronic media.

Other Issues and Comments: