National Cybersecurity Awareness Month throughout the year

Some tips from News Corp/MySpace’s chief security officer for keeping your computer, home network, and personal information secure year-round

By Hemanshu Nigam

As National Cyber Security Month came to a close, I realized that we could all do what we usually do when we raise awareness around a cause – we highlight the things we should do, the ways we should act, the donations we should make – all at the launch of the event. And then the celebration comes to an end and we all move on. It’s kind of like when summer turns to fall and then to winter and then to spring … we move on to the next season and, in this case, the next important cause.

Let’s do something a little different this time around. As National Cyber Security Month comes to a close, let’s work together to make it part of every season of the year. Let’s use the lessons learned, the new awareness we have to protect our information and selves online throughout the coming year and beyond. And, while we are at it, let’s keep raising awareness with those around us – our parents and kids, our aunts, uncles, and siblings, and our friends and colleagues.

Do your part with every click you make – think of these tips to protect your identity, your finances, and your privacy:

* Create a strong password that you update regularly. Strong passwords are usually at least eight characters with a number and a special character such as an “&” or “@” (see also ConnectSafely’s tip for strong passwords).
* Make your MySpace password different from other online sites. Keeping your password the same for all sites could make your accounts more at risk for hacking.
* Don’t trust Web sites that ask you to enter your MySpace username and password until you have assured that the site is legitimate.
* Log in via MySpace.com. This will help prevent being redirected to a phishing site.
* Always be aware of suspicious emails, especially if the sender is requesting account information.
* Don’t click on unknown links embedded in an email.
* Keep anti-virus and anti-spyware systems up-to-date to help prevent your chances of receiving spam and viruses.

So, with every change in our seasons, help us spread the word by reminding your friends, loved ones, and colleagues of the basic tips listed above and on our safety site.

And at MySpace, we’re doing our part as well by building technical defenses that stop spammers and phishers from getting to you in the first place and by blocking them from taking you places you don’t want to go. We’re also going after them using the power of the law and law enforcement. Recently we won a $230 million judgment against some notorious spammers and worked with law enforcement to prosecute hackers and phishers.

For additional educational sites covering online security, visit the National Cyber Security Alliance, Department of Homeland Security and OnGuardOnline.

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