Ocean Springs Chamber offers good advice on how to stay safe online

Updated: Jun. 28, 2019 at 1:52 PM CDT
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Hundreds of millions of us are using our phones or computers, online for one reason or another. Every time you log on, you put yourself at risk to hackers, online scammers, or even worse. That’s why the Ocean Springs Chamber hosted coffee and cybertalk Friday morning, with the goal of keeping you, your family and your business safe.

People came to learn about the dangers that await them in the online world we all live in now. The biggest danger comes from ourselves, according to Nikki Johns with online security company AGJ.

“I think right now the biggest misconception is it’s not going to happen to me. Nobody is interested in what I have, nobody is interested in my information, and that’s just not the case these days," Johns said.

Jackson County District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath was there as an advocate for children who go online, where predators are lurking.

“Being behind a screen empowers people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do in person. So it subjects children to things like cyberbullying and harassment and threatening activity,” Myers McIlrath explained.

Her best advice was to become a very nosy parent.

“Don’t let devices babysit your children. Be involved; get up in their kool-aid is what I tell parents. Know their passwords, pick up their phone at any time and go through it. Know who they are talking to," she said.

Business professionals also attended the seminar, because businesses big and small are often a target.

“It’s a great thing for us to come from the People’s Bank and determine what is going on out there and spread the word with our customers and in the bank with other employees to help our customers," said bank executive David Thompson.

One of the most effective and easiest ways to protect yourself, your family and your business online is through your password, but here is a word of warning. If your password is one, two, three, four, five, that is not a good thing.

Johns has a better idea.

“It needs to be complex. That means numbers, letters, symbols, at least eight characters long, and never use the same password for all platforms. You don’t want to use the same password for your work email as your personal email. You don’t want to use the same password for social media.”

Follow this advice, and your next internet surfing trip will turn out just fine.

Officials with the Ocean Springs chamber hope to host more of these cyber safety seminars in the future.

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