As National Cyber Security Awareness Month comes to a close, I write with an important reminder that criminals and hackers are constantly coming up with new schemes and phishing scams designed to compromise computers, steal personal or private information or passwords, or trick us into revealing information we shouldn't reveal.

Each of us needs to be able to recognize the signs of these schemes and know what to do to avoid them. A safe rule to follow is never to give out personal or sensitive information to anyone you don't know or who doesn't have a legitimate need for it. It is also important to use secure passwords to protect your computer and your accounts, and to keep your passwords secret. Passwords are often the first line of defense against hackers.

Please see the National Cyber Security Awareness Month article in this month's online UCSC News & Events at http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/text.asp?pid=2441 for some practical dos and don'ts to help you avoid these schemes and protect both your own privacy and the university. By taking active precautions such as those suggested above and in the article, you will help reduce the risk to yourself and other members of the UCSC community from computer security breaches and the costly and time-consuming consequences of identity theft.

Thank you for your efforts to increase your awareness of cyber security issues and your support of our campaign to protect the UCSC community. If you have any questions, please submit an IT Request ticket at https://itrequest.ucsc.edu or contact the ITS Support Center at help@ucsc.edu, 459-HELP (4357), or in-person M-F 8AM-5PM Room 54 Kerr Hall.