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    Cyber Security



    Story by Sgt. James Bunn 

    128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Every day people access the internet, communicate with family and friends, and make purchases, with much of their lives online. To help keep you and your personal information safe while you surf the internet, make purchases, or post online, Capt. Garrett Hyde, commander of the 174th Cyber Protection Team, Utah National Guard, has some suggestions for you and your network.

    First, secure your information with strong passwords, and don’t use the same password on different websites.

    “The first thing a hacker gets access to is usernames and passwords,” said Hyde. “If you have a pretty easy password to guess and you use the same password for multiple things like your email or streaming service and your bank, the hacker can get into your bank account and move money around and read your emails and gain access to other personal data. One of the biggest things you can do is avoid password reuse. You can develop a way to remember your passwords across different websites, or you can use a password manager installed on your computer and not one that is installed on your web browser because if a hacker guesses a password now, they have access to all your passwords.”

    Second, if you are using a public network, you should use a Virtual Private Network or VPN.

    “A VPN encrypts your data and helps protect your data when you’re in public,” said Hyde. If you’re at a hotel and you’re on the public Wi-Fi, a malicious actor can capture all the network traffic that is on that public Wi-Fi and if your traffic isn’t fully encrypted and you go to a standard unsecured website, they can read that website data and potentially gain access to your information. If you are using a VPN, your information is encrypted and secured. If you are on a government laptop, you are required to be on a VPN.”

    Third, It is important to dispose of old hard drives, flash drives, or other computer storage devices properly.

    “It is important to format the drive before just tossing it, especially if you store personal data on it,” said Hyde. “There are lots of programs out there that you can use to help fully wipe the drive. You could also take a drill to it and physically destroy it before you throw it away. If you don’t properly dispose of a hard drive, someone can potentially recover any data that was not formatted off or physically destroyed on the storage device.”

    Fourth, properly secure your computer and other devices.

    “If you're traveling or in a public space like an airport or restaurant, it is a good idea to lock your computer when you’re not using it,” said Hyde. “You also should not leave it unattended in a public area.”

    Fifth, report on situations where you think your information may have been compromised and take steps to secure your personal information.

    “If you suspect your information has been compromised, for example, if your debit or credit card has been compromised, you should call your bank immediately,” said Hyde. “Usually if you contact your bank early, they can block fraudulent actions and help you secure your bank accounts and credit cards and order a new debit or credit card for you. If your social media accounts or email accounts are compromised, the first thing you should do is change your password.”

    According to Hyde, one of the best ways to protect your information is to enable two-factor authentication on your accounts.

    “Two-factor authentication is going to secure your account the most because even if hackers manage to guess your password, they don’t have access to your phone with the app they need to authenticate the login, and you will get a prompt saying that someone is trying to access your account,” said Hyde.

    Hyde said it’s important to secure your personal information and devices because today a lot of our lives are now in the digital space. If you don’t protect it, you are opening yourself up to risk, fraud, loss, and other potential dangers. Once a hacker or other malicious actor gains control of something simple like your email, they can see who you talk to, your banking information, your purchases, and other sensitive topics. Malicious actors may even gain access to other passwords you have, and can even steal money from you or convince you to send them money or other personal information.

    Cyber security doesn’t just end because we aren’t at work, it is constant, and it should be part of our everyday lives. With these tips, we can all be more secure when we are online—both in our personal lives and when we are at work.



    Date Taken: 09.25.2022
    Date Posted: 12.13.2022 10:23
    Story ID: 435059
    Location: UT, US

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