October is Cyber Security Awareness month, and to reach out to the community, UTSA’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security offered a month-long program to educate people who use computers at home, businesses and organizations.
The community seminars are in plain, non-technical language, stressing current issues and solutions.
The Center’s Larry Thompson said people often have trouble remembering their passwords, especially when frequent changes are recommend. Thompson offered a new idea – instead of a pass “word,” he said people can use a pass “phrase.”
"We can replace some letters with characters that make sense to us because we've made our own personal rules," said Thompson. "For instance, you may want to use the ampersand for 'A' all the time or the dollar sign for 'S' or whatever your personal rule is. If you do that, you can have something like, 'Texas Public Radio is Number One.' You can replace some of the letters with characters that you have as a general rule, and now you have a password that's extremely difficult to break."
Thomspon said the longer phrases constructed according to one’s personal rules can also be easier to remember.
The Center worked with the City to get information into the community at three levels: First working with public and private leadership, then with workforce classes to prepare employees for Cyber Security certification, and the final element was the citizen-awareness component.