Friday, December 30, 2011

Simple, easy and free ways for you to create the safest passwords ever

OTTAWA, December 29, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - You will not find it under a Christmas tree or at a Boxing Week sale. It is not a Hanukkah present. But a new online password is definitely the best free gift you can give yourself according to experts at global cloud security leader Trend Micro.

"Before you take advantage of any online shopping bargains or send Season's Greetings to your Facebook friends, give yourself the gift of a strong online password. A strong password keeps personal information safe and secure—while a weak one is like leaving your front door open for anyone to wander in and rifle through your stuff," says Ian Gordon, Trend Micro Canada's marketing chief.

Mr. Gordon and his Ottawa colleagues have come up with their top tips for good passwords:

...Mix it up: Your passwords should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, and numbers or symbols.

...Be impersonal: Any variation of family names, pets, addresses or important dates isn't secure enough. Spelling them backwards is not safe either as it is a fairly common practice.

...Be unique: Your password should not be a common word in English or any other language. Hackers can use programs that check all words in the dictionary.

...Sequence matters: Don't pick a password that has all of the characters next to each other on a keyboard (12345 or qwerty) because they are easy to figure out.

...Change is good: At least every 90 days. If you think that someone may have gained access to your system or online accounts, change it immediately.

...No sticky notes: Don't store passwords on your computer or on a sticky note next to your screen. Keep it hidden away in a secure location.

...Think it through: If it's too easy to remember, it's probably too easy to figure out as well. You can take a phrase and use the first letters to make a password. For example, "I like to drink 3 cups of coffee" could become the password Il2d3coc.

...Misspell with purpose: It's a good idea to misspell words and add numbers in. Instead of "doghouse" try"doGhoWse219". Since this isn't a real word and it mixes in upper and lower case and numbers, it would be much more secure than the simple "doghouse" password.

...Clever is good: Another good way to come up with a password that you can remember, but is still secure, is to substitute numbers for letters that look somewhat similar. For example, the words "bell tower" can be converted to the password "B377T0w3r", which would be quite hard for anyone to figure out.

About Trend Micro: Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in Internet content security, focuses on securing the exchange of digital information for businesses and consumers. Trend Micro is advancing integrated threat management technology to protect operational continuity, personal information, and property from malware, spam, data leaks and the newest Web threats. A transnational company, with headquarters in Tokyo, and operations in 23 countries including Canada, Trend Micro's trusted security solutions are sold through its business partners worldwide.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Keeping Children Safe Online

New UNICEF report reveals increased risks and best strategies to protect children online

TORONTO, December 13, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - New information on the dangers children face online and the most effective ways parents, caregivers and policy makers can make cyberspace safer are outlined in a report released by UNICEF today.

"Most Canadian children are online," says Marvin Bernstein, UNICEF Canada's Chief Advisor, Advocacy. "This report provides important strategies Canadians must seriously consider to protect children from known and emerging risks online."

The report Child Safety Online: Global challenges and strategies explains that children's online activities are becoming more private and more frequent as mobile phones overtake personal computers as the most popular way to surf the web.

Some activities like 'sexting' (text messaging or sharing sexual images online) are riskier than others. 'Sexting' is usually intended to be a private exchange between two people, but images are often shared with more people and can have devastating impacts including depression, bullying or self-harm.

Young people themselves identify cyberbullying as the most serious online threat. The report explains, cyberbullying can be particularly traumatic because of its anonymity, its capacity to intrude at any time into places that might otherwise be safe for young people and because it is often public and seen by peers.

The report also reveals there are more than 16,000 web pages worldwide depicting millions of child abuse images of tens of thousands of children. Victims are young, with 73 per cent under 10 years old and the content becoming increasingly more graphic and violent.

"Because of our expanding digital world, there are more opportunities for valuable information and education for children than ever before," says Bernstein. "But the Internet has also significantly increased the potential dangers children face. We must respond to these dangers in a balanced and measured way to ensure children are safe."

Protecting Children Online

The first line of defence in protecting children online is ensuring they receive specific, age-appropriate education. Children must understand the risks they face and make informed and responsible choices when they use digital media.

Canada is a global leader in legally protecting children from sexual exploitation both on and offline, but the report has found legislation is only part of the answer. Parents, teachers, policy makers and the private sector all have a role to play. Private companies must be vigilant in removing inappropriate materials from servers and providing child-friendly programs and privacy controls. Social service providers must also recognize the crossover between online and offline abuse and extend recovery services to all children who need them.

Finally, lawmakers must ensure legislation designed to protect children isn't actually harming them. This can be achieved through the use of early child impact assessments. For example, some laws allow for criminal charges for distributing child pornography when teens share sexual images of themselves.

The establishment of a National Children's Commissioner is also an important step in ensuring the development of a nation-wide response strategy to combat online and offline sexual exploitation, abuse and bullying.

"It is impossible to remove all risks that exist online for children," says Bernstein. "But there are many effective strategies to mitigate these risks, while respecting the rights of children and ensuring they benefit from the important opportunities evolving technology can provide."

Advice and sources of information for young people, parents, businesses and others can be found at


UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country. Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit

Monday, December 5, 2011

Beware of scammers pretending to represent the CRTC

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, December 5, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been alerted that people claiming to represent the CRTC are making telephone calls to Canadians and informing them that their computers are potentially at risk. The caller then asks to remotely connect to the computer to scan for and remove any viruses.

These callers are not CRTC employees. Canadians should never grant remote access to their computers or give their passwords to someone who has called them claiming to represent a government organization.

These calls are likely phishing scams that could result in identity theft and fraud. For tips on cyber safety, please visit Get Cyber Safe

Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
Ottawa, Ontario

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is an independent public organization that regulates and supervises the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems.