August 8, 2012 By Wayne Hanson
The city of Phoenix, Ariz., today announced an information security and privacy website created and administered by the city IT’s Information Security and Privacy Office (ISPO) for use by the public.
According to Phoenix Public Information Officer Margaret Shalley, the city launched the website as part of its public safety mission. “You think of fire and police when you think of public safety,” she said, “but protection against cyber threats and cyber crime is also a public safety issue.” Shalley said that the ISPO was not necessarily responding to a specific threat, but was being proactive to help the public as information technology becomes more important to the public, and as the city enhances Web-enabled services for residents.
Passwords, for example, are the keys to the front door. They are supposed to be a combination of letters, numbers and symbols that will be difficult to crack, they should be different for every site one visits, and should be changed often. And, ironically, they should also be easy to remember -- easier said than done. In the absence of some way to manage passwords, said Shalley, people will put them on sticky notes and hide them under their keyboards. The site contains some simple advice about passwords, a link to a password strength tester -- the site advises using a made-up password with the same format as the real one in case someone could record it – and a link to a free piece of software that helps manage multiple passwords.
The site has many other useful bits of information on securing mobile devices, advice for business owners, legal requirements for protecting sensitive data, basic computer safeguards and more.
“In today’s computerized world, it is more important than ever for people to protect themselves, their families, and their businesses from emerging cyber threats,” said Councilman Michael Nowakowski in a release. “We are proud to provide this new website as a public safety resource for our residents.”