December 20, 2014

Protecting your digital life

Officials are calling attention to cyber security.

Just how safe is your digital life? Tod Pritchard with Wisconsin Emergency Management says cyber criminals are diabolically genius when it comes to using the latest technologies to attack and scam individuals and businesses. “We’re all working with computers, mobile devices are obviously exploding, so it really affects everyone. And it’s just amazing the levels at which cyber criminals are going after individuals; they’re going after companies; they’re going after governments.”

Cyber thieves are getting more aggressive and creative. Despite the variety of scams, Pritchard says it all boils down to just one thing. “It’s either about getting your identity or it’s about getting you to send money.”

In 2010, people throughout Wisconsin lost $4.9 million through cyber ripoffs and scams. The average was over $1000 per victim. Anti virus software is important, but not enough, because it’s difficult to keep up with the constant barrage of new scams. “Unfortunately there’s not one magic bullet, but there are a couple of really simple easy things that people can do that will help a vast majority of the problems that folks have.”

ReadyWisconsin offers many tips and instructional videos on their website, but perhaps the best advice is to strengthen your passwords. Don’t use the same password for your email, social media, and bank accounts. Also, make sure you choose passwords that are secure and hard to figure out — combine upper and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols.

Governor Walker has declared October as Cyber Security Awareness Month.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:41