September 1, 2014

Experts urge consumers to be cyber savvy

When it comes to protecting your online identity, Wisconsin Emergency Management’s Tod Pritchard says there’s always something new to learn. He says it might seem too overwhelming to think about. “Don’t look at this like it’s a giant, scary monster that’s impossible to conquer.”

Currently, the state blocks about six million cyber-attacks per day that target state agencies, according to Wisconsin Homeland Security. Pritchard advises individuals to keep a clean machine; protect your personal information — that means don’t use the same password for all your online accounts; when in doubt, throw it out, think before you act, and get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots. Pritchard says we are our own worst enemies; we’re all susceptible to the tantalizing temptations. (Ready Wisconsin)

“The most important thing is to watch out for scams that try to suck you into doing something that you shouldn’t do.”

Don’t click on links via email if you’re uncertain about it. Also, the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Last year, people throughout Wisconsin lost $6.2 million through cyber rip-offs and scams. The average loss was more than $1,700 per victim. The top five reported cyber scams in the country last year: auto sales fraud, romance scams, real estate fraud, intimidation/extortion, scams, and phishing and spoofing.

AUDIO: Pritchard says you should take simple efforts to protect your personal information, especially passwords. :18

Governor Walker has declared October as Cyber Security Awareness Month. Last Friday, Walker participated in the 2013 Wisconsin Cyber Summit at Marquette University. Attendees included leaders from the government, military, and cyber security industry. The FBI leads the national effort to investigate high-tech crimes, including cyber-based terrorism, espionage, computer intrusions, and major cyber fraud.