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Cyber specialists talk security at “Cyber Summit”

Cyber security experts converged on Boone County of Wednesday to help businesses stay safe from crooks. The county commission and Columbia hosted a “Cyber Summit.” Cyber security experts said in this day and age it’s impossible to completely protect yourself or business from cyber threats, but they say being proactive and aware of the risks is a good start.

A cyber security panel talked to small businesses operators on best practices to protect their companies from cyber criminals. “As security professionals, we can do a lot of things to prevent and to secure our systems, but when it comes right down to it, it’s the person with mouse and keyboard making the right decision,” said Randy Raw, cyber security analyst.

Professionals said the same goes for Internet users at home. If you’re on a site or come across something that doesn’t feel right, they said click out of it. They also said everyone should have more than one password. “The longer the password the better. You can use pass phrases — make a sentence and put exclamation points and different punctuation in it. So, there are some tips like that, but don’t use the same passwords for your banking account as you would for an online website,” said Patti Dudenhoeffer, security analyst.

After several major data breaches at well-known stores, such as Target and Home Depot, the professionals said cyber safety is also important at brick and mortar stores. They said using caution and awareness is the best way to protect your bank account against cyber thieves who are looking to drain it.

“Make sure that the transactions that are happening are really one that you did. It’s just being more vigilant and understanding your pattern of purchases and make sure that those were purchases that you actually made, said Raw.

Security specialists said — if you do buy online items, use a dedicated credit card with a low limit. That way if your card is compromised, the cyber criminal can’t rack up a bunch of charges. They said if you do find fraudulent charges on your account, report them immediately. They say there are federal laws to protect you from losing money.

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