Rotary Club News

by by Jerlene Rose

“Cybersecurity Basics” was the topic of guest speaker Daniel Brineley at the Tuesday, Sept. 19, lunch meeting of the Berea Rotary club at the Smokehouse Grill. Brineley is the IT (Internet Technician) specialist for the city of Berea.

He had these suggestions to help you avoid a breach of your security:

CHANGE your passwords at least every 60 to 90 days, and DO NOT use the same password for all your multiple sites. Make sure your passwords are unique and strong. Use different passwords for each program.

DO NOT use the same password on your bank account as you do on any other sites. Brineley advised, “Keep your banking information separate, and two-level authentication is the safest way to log in to your various programs.”

KEEP your devices up to date. “Updates are provided by Microsoft and other providers because they include protections from security problems they have detected,” Brineley explained. “This can be inconvenient sometimes, but it is very important to protecting your computer.”

BE WARY of Phishing attempts. Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent messages that appear to come from a legitimate or reputable source. These usually come as emails or text messages.

BE CAUTIOUS on social media. Game sites, Facebook, Netflix, and other social media platforms are vulnerable to scammers. Two-level authentication to these sites when you log in is one way to verify the site is legitimate.

“Watch out for weird email names and domain names in messages,” he said. Legitimate businesses such as Amazon, Netflix, Google, have their own domain names. “Watch for misspellings or unusual wording because many scams originate in foreign countries,” he cautioned.

DO NOT respond to any message on your phone or computer that demands immediate action or threatens severe consequences if you don’t “click here” or “call this number” to fix whatever problem they say you have. Hang up! Delete! If in doubt, hang up and call a verifiable number of the business and ask if they called you.

“They don’t want you to have time to think about what they are saying,” he said. “Don’t rush. If they say your bank account has been compromised, check with the bank yourself.”

AVOID SHARING personal information. If a game site, quiz game, or online survey asks questions like: Where did you live as a child? What was your first pet’s name? What is your mother’s maiden name? Do not respond. Those are the types of questions your bank asks to verify your identity. A scammer can use your answers to get into your bank account.

He reminded, “If something seems off, or is too good to be true, then it probably is. Be cautious when dealing with unfamiliar situations.” Above all, he said, “TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.”

phil malicote