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Community Safety
Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

How to Increase Your Cybersecurity: One Expert’s Take

Christian Ditaputratama
via Flickr

Online buying, account profiles, and company databases keep a constant flow of personal information on the internet. KSMU’s Anna Thomas reports how users can increase their cybersecurity.

In August, a Russian hacker group stole over 1.2 billion passwords, including those of major U.S companies.

“That’s one fifth of the planet. Their passwords were stolen. I don’t know that there’s that many more people on the internet.”

Dwight Worker is the new professor of cybersecurity at Missouri State University.

“So it’s extremely serious, the losses are real, the attacks are nonstop,” Worker said.

He says the hacking business is two-tiered. Professional hackers work all day collecting information like passwords and credit cards to sell to those who then act on the information.

“These organized crimes can print up hundreds of thousands of credit cards and disperse them to their field people who can to milk those credit cards dry in a week. This information depreciates rapidly in value perhaps 20 percent a day,” Worker said.

Many people protect their information with strong passwords that include capital letters and numbers, like Springfield local Teo Garcia. He says that combined with password rotation keeps him worry free.

“Most places ask you to switch it every month or every two months, and I have passwords at work that always have to change,” Garcia said.

Madison Campbell, an MSU student, does the same thing but she says she’s afraid her tactics might not be the best.

“Like financial things, that does get kind of worrisome because all my passwords are the same for everything,” Campbell said.

Worker says there’s a need for more security for that very reason.

“I personally do not think that virtually any kinds of passwords are sufficient for privacy. I don’t believe it at all, passwords by themselves. They are too easy to attack and break into,” Worker said.

Instead, he suggests multiple factor identifications like double passwords or swipe cards. Worker says it’s not enough to just update your antivirus anymore.

“There’s more technical things that people need to learn to do, and I know it’s within their realm of abilities to be able to do that,” Worker said.

The first step is risk management, to identify where your assets are and how to protect them. Then, Worker says it’s about understanding the technical side: computer language, firewalls, and encryption.

MSU has started a new cybersecurity certificate. There is currently a lab in Glass Hall and two classes available.