Protect yourself from cyber crime

Protect yourself from cyber crime

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Protecting your personal information online and keeping your small business safe from cyber threats. Both were hot topics at a computer security conference in Biloxi on Wednesday.

"You have to be very vigilant about protecting your information, protecting your data," said Robert Mahaffey, a former law enforcement man from Trustmark National Bank.

They are bankers and business owners, IT experts and FBI agents all sharing information and advice about protecting that so-called digital footprint that all of us leave online.

"Things are available to the consumer that aren't all that expensive that can really protect you. A good wireless router at your home between you and the Internet. Basic, easy to do, 50 bucks at Best Buy, credit monitoring, $10 a month," said Stewart Quarles, with C-Spire.

It's not just being cautious when you purchase online. Social media can also leave you vulnerable.

"Facebook? Facebook and LinkedIn is a plethora of information, and you provide it. You actually take the time to tell me where you eat. What your favorite place to go to is," said one conference participant.

Tech security experts say parents need to take the lead in educating their children about threats that exist online.

"How to make themselves not anonymous, but be particular about their personal information and what they put online, because that starts their digital footprint at an early age," said Mahaffey.

If you take advantage of free wifi in public places, like the corner coffee shop, be advised.

"Here's something else that people don't realize. Every time you connect to one and you leave that area, your phone is still broadcasting the name of that. That means that me, as a potential hacker, I can spoof that IP, that access point, and your phone will connect to me," said one tech expert.

"As we move forward with paperless and going all electronic, which is pretty much what it is now, there's a lot more potential breaches that are waiting to happen," Quarles warned.

Here's some more advice from the experts. Instead of giving out your credit card number for an online purchase, use a secure system like Pay Pal instead. Keep your antivirus software up to date, and make your passwords 12 characters long or more.

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