Consumer Protection Week - Abraham Discusses Data Privacy Protection
3/6/13 3:12 PM
By Mike Lesczinski, Excelsior Life News Staff--
As the nation recognizes Consumer Protection Week, cyber experts are advocating for vigilance with year-round data privacy.
Sherly Abraham, Ph.D., cybersecurity program director at Excelsior College, has been discussing the growing international cyber threat and pushing for government and private organizations to place a stronger focus on security measures through the proper combination of technology, process and human capital.
In an interview with Excelsior Life earlier this week, Abraham outlined the following tips for consumers:
1. Purchase antivirus software and firewall protection for every desktop, laptop and tablet device that you own and ensure it is up-to-date.
2. Pay attention to opening email attachments and web links from unknown sources. No legitimate organization will ask you to give out your password or other personally identifiable information such as your SSN or credit card number through an email.
3. Never utilize online banking from a “Public” computer. If you don’t own the computer, there is no way to know whether it is protected e.g. expired anti-virus software or a hacker has installed key-logger tracking software to detect your username or password.
4. Be careful about conducting mobile banking from public hotspot as hackers could easily gain access to your banking information. Hackers are known to even create their own Wi-fi connections to steal information.
5. Create a strong, unique password for each online account that you own and make sure to change them regularly. A strong password is minimally eight characters long has both numbers and symbols and does not reference anything in your own life or use dictionary words.
This last point is especially important. Usernames and passwords are “door openers. If a hacker gains access to a password not only can they access a consumer’s private information, but they can lock them out of the account and try to gain access to other accounts if the same password is used.
“There’s a reason the cyber industry is looking beyond passwords – they are easy to break into,” says Abraham. "Passwords are dead, the mainstream just doesn’t know it yet."
The FBI cyberunit was recently visited Excelsior College to discuss the growing cyberthreat.