BY DAN BRODHEAD
The hum of computers was replaced with the buzz of conversation as students and residents learned how to safeguard their personal information at the Cyber Security Club seminar on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
“It is meant to give practical information on how to set up their settings so they are not giving out personal information,” said Nancy Binowski, associate professor in the department of information technologies at County College of Morris.
Brian Seligson, president of the Cyber Security Club, opened the seminar with a startling fact. The majority of people age 18 and older do not care about what they post online. Today where everything is online, it makes it easier for thieves to steal private information.
A mistake people make is using open Wi-Fi in public areas, according to Seligson. People may think that putting in credit card information to buy something using the Starbucks Wi-Fi is safe when it is open to others’ manipulation. The best solution is to avoid public Wi-Fi and if you are going to use it, make sure to install anti-virus software on the device to protect from malicious cyber-attacks.
Another problem the club addressed was passwords. According to The Telegraph, a newspaper out of the United Kingdom, a few of the easiest passwords people used in 2016 was “123456, password, 12345678 and football.” Using passwords with no uppercase letters, numbers or symbols makes it easier for hackers to get the password. Club members recommend using at least eight characters with at least one uppercase letter, one number and one symbol. To check how strong your password is, go to https://www.grc.com/haystack.htm.
“Security is so important,” Seligson said. “It is your identity. The more you protect it, the more you protect yourself.”
Sometimes computer problems don’t happen with people stealing information. Accidents happen and suddenly you lose important documents without backing them up. When saving documents on a computer, make sure to save them on either a USB or a cloud service (OneDrive for Windows, iCloud for Apple).
College students do everything on some form of device. Subscriptions to certain websites may email you saying that your “monthly bill has not been received, please sign in again.” Do not open! This is what is called a phishing email, which may seem like legitimate emails but are scams which rob you of your information. If people get this email, simply delete it.
To further protect people from cyber security problems, many companies require a two-factor authentication. This is an effective way to protect your information because if hackers get one part of the secure login, chances are they will not get the second or third login, which is usually in a form of a security question, pattern or password.
The simplest way to fight against attacks is to keep your computer updated. It may seem like a pain but older computers can be susceptible to breaches in security.
While there may be concerns about safety on the campus, Dr. Anthony Iacono, president of CCM said, “Even though we have an open WiFi, it is on a separate server and does not have important college information.”
If someone you know has been scammed or tricked into something where personal information has been lost, contact the police. Cyber-attacks are no laughing matter and can destroy lives, so know the facts and protect yourself.