Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cyber Security

Microsoft has teamed up with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). Microsoft's website says they want to help increase Internet security through a month-long awareness-raising campaign that provides information and sponsored events for consumers, small businesses, educators, and families. This year, the National Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign began October 1, 2005.

The NCSA is a non-profit organization with sponsors in education, the United States government, professional organizations, and private corporations like Microsoft. It provides information and access to resources and tools to enable individuals and small businesses to better protect their computers and their personal information from online threats.

Events for this year's campaign include conferences and workshops in several cities across the U.S. For more information and a list of events, visit the NCSA Web site at http://www.staysafeonline.info.

Six tips for staying safer online
1.
Beef up your computer's defenses and keep them up to date.
Use a firewall and install antivirus software. Keep Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office programs up to date with security updates. Detect, remove, and block spyware with Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware. Download and install it from: http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx

2.
Use strong passwords, protect them, and change them regularly.
Strong passwords have at least eight characters. Include letters, numbers, and symbols that are easy for you to remember but tough for others to guess. See Creating stronger passwords for more information.

3.
Think first. Click later.
Even if you know the sender, consider carefully whether you really want to an open e-mail or instant message attachment. Be wary of clicking links in e-mail, instant messages, or pop-ups.

4.
Be protective of your personal information.
Never provide sensitive personal information in an e-mail, instant message, or pop-up window. Treat your Social Security number with special care. Only share your primary e-mail address with those you know.

5.
Make sure Web sites protect your personal information.
Read the privacy statement before you give out any personal information or download software. Check for signs that the Web site protects sensitive data. Look for https in the Web address and for a padlock or an unbroken key in the lower right corner of the Web page. Double-click the padlock or key to ensure that the "Issued by" name on the security certificate matches the name in the address bar.

6.
Take extra steps to help keep kids safe online.
Pay attention to what kids do and whom they meet online. Consider a rule that no child reveals personal information (including photos) without permission. Warn kids never to meet Internet "friends" in person.



Nothing can guarantee complete safety in cyberspace, but much can be done to minimize your exposure to risk. We make available a range of resources to help you protect your businesses, your computers, and your personal information. Instructions, advice, tools, and videos are available from Microsoft.com and MSN Online Safety & Security. Both Web sites provide prescriptive guidance to help protect children online, combat online fraud, reduce spam, avoid phishing scams, and preserve privacy.






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