FTC Introduces Internet Safety Mascot, "Dewie the Turtle," at Privacy2002 Conference

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FTC Introduces Internet Safety Mascot, "Dewie the Turtle," at Privacy2002 Conference

Commissioner Orson Swindle of the Federal Trade Commission today unveiled an Internet safety and security initiative at the Privacy2002 Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, complete with a turtle mascot. Just as Smokey Bear helps prevent forest fires and Woodsy Owl teaches people not to litter, "Dewie the Turtle" will remind consumers to stay safe online and develop a "culture of security."

"The idea is to have Internet security practices become second nature - just like looking both ways before crossing the street," said FTC Commissioner Swindle.

Dewie is a Webwise turtle, designed to appeal to kids and their parents and promote responsibile online security habits. Dewie's Web site is a comprehensive resource that contains valuable information for all computer users. Among the practical consumer publications listed is Safe at Any Speed: How to Stay Safe Online, which emphasizes the importance of firewalls and anti-virus software, and You've Got Spam: How to Cancel Unwanted Email, which offers helpful tips on avoiding "spam" e-mail. With other documents detailing tips on secure online shopping, online banking, and children's online privacy, the FTC's new consumer education site provides a solid, user-friendly foundation for adopting a culture of security. Dewie's tips also are available in Spanish.

Commissioner Swindle emphasized that businesses and consumers both must play a significant role in the security of information systems. To demonstrate the relevance of Internet security to business, Dewie, dressed in a suit and tie, provides CEOs and employees alike with a briefcase full of ways to protect the workplace from Internet fraud, viruses, and hackers. Dewie also encourages parents and educators to bridge the gap between personal and professional computer use by working together to educate children about Internet safety.

"We want businesses and consumers to use the tips that Dewie offers," said Swindle. "For example, companies could put them in newsletters to employees and kids could show their parents and grandparents how to 'stay safe online.' Developing a culture of security has never been more important and with the help of Dewie it's never been easier."

Dewie provides a number of tips for computer users of all ages:

  • Protect yourself from viruses by installing anti-virus software and updating it regularly.
  • Make sure that your passwords have both letters and numbers, and are at least eight characters long.
  • Prevent unauthorized access to your computer through firewall software or hardware, especially if you are a high speed user.
  • Don't open a file attached to an email unless you are expecting it or know what it contains. If you send an attachment, type a message explaining what it is.
  • Report any unauthorized access to your computer through firewall software or hardware, especially if you are a high speed user.

For additional tips, go to http://www.onguardonline.gov.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Cathy MacFarlane or Derick Rill,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-3657 or 202-326-2472