Tag Archives: Cyber Self

Protect yourself online: Center for Cybersecurity hosts self-defense workshop

By Kelsi Gately
Staff Writer

cyber self

University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity hosted guest speaker Glenda Snodgrass, president and lead consultant at The Net Effect LLC, on March 9. In her presentation, “Cyber Self Defense: Protecting your online identity,” she urged participants to take steps to prevent being a victim of cyber crime.

Snodgrass has been the lead consultant for The Net Effect since the company started in 1996. Her presentation covered everything people forget about when using the cyber world.

More than 16 billion computing devices exist in the world today. By 2020, this number will grow to 40.9 billion.

Cyber crime is now more profitable than the drug trade, Snodgrass said, and organized criminal gangs are even joining the cyber world. An entire underground economy is devoted to hacking.

These new cyber criminals are after everything: medical records, student academic records, email, Netflix and Uber accounts. Snodgrass encouraged everyone to take steps to protect their online accounts. This includes: Stop and think before you post something; check security settings every couple of months; do not use “login with Facebook” on other sites.

She also suggested that you lie on security questions. Come up with a place, person, pet, and school, but those answers should not relate to you at all. Someone should not be able to find the answers of security questions on your social media accounts.

Snodgrass said that laziness with reusing usernames and passwords for everything is the easiest way to be a victim of cyber crime. She also said when using the World Wide Web, users need to be aware of what is going on around them, just as when they travel to a foreign country.

“People over the age of 40 are more concerned about security,” Snodgrass said. “Those between ages 25 and 40 are less secure online, and those under 25 know and understand because they have grown up with the cyber world.”

Pay attention to what is in the background of your selfies. Your photos contain geo-tracking that can tell hackers your location accurate to within one meter. What you put on social media will be there forever.

Snodgrass mentioned that the new smart TVs also record everything that is said within range.

“I have a smart TV, I didn’t think about the microphone constantly getting information and recoding,” said Jeramey Lacey, cybersecurity major. “Should have known better.”

Snodgrass also advises to never use open Wifi. When you leave the house, turn off Wifi and Bluetooth on your phone. In just 20 minutes, a hacker can get into your device and retrieve private information. You are safer to stay on your cellular network until you can get connected to a secure, password-protected network.

And those “zombie apps,” the ones you haven’t used in months, delete them every couple of months, she said. Constantly check for updates, and if it is no longer in the app store, get rid of it.

“I need to be better about getting rid of my zombie apps,” said Niel Barbon, Pensacola State College freshman majoring in computer science.

Take the time to clean up social media accounts and update your security options. Check location settings on your phone.

Follow Snodgrass on twitter to stay up-to-date on the best ways to protect yourself. If you are interested in cybersecurity, email Eman El-Sheikh, director of the Center for Cybersecurity and professor of Computer Science, at eelsheikh@uwf.edu. For more information about the different computer science programs UWF offers, click here. Also, UWF Cyber Club is open to any student interested in learning about cybersecurity.