The question is not if your devices will be hacked, but when
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - With our increasing reliance on new technology, experts say there's a greater chance your information will be hacked.
Recently a security flaw was reported in some newer Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles that allows hackers to remotely access them. So far, the company says there have been no complaints.
But because of this recent hack, we decided to find out how likely it is that the technology you use could be putting you at risk.
Most of us use a computer or smartphone just about every day. There has been an obvious increase in cyber warfare, along with new strategies from hackers to hide their tracks and steal sensitive data.
A digital security expert at the University of South Carolina says the question is not if you'll be hacked but when. Dr. Csilla Farkas says there are ways you can protect yourself. And it starts with using common sense.
Farkas said check how much space you have on your computer on a regular basis to make sure something irregular hasn't been downloaded. Don't go to websites that have a lot of pop-ups. If you receive an email that's too good to be true, don't click on the link. And if you're shopping online or giving your credit card information over the internet, check your bank account regularly.
Virus protection and updates to your operational system are also important. If you're not keeping a close eye on your computer Farkas said you might already be hacked.
"The results can be from simple annoyance to devastating," she says. "Really a catastrophic result like leaking everything that you have on your computer. Using your data to log in to other accounts like your safe banking account or your private email account. Put ourselves into the mindset of the bad guys."
Dr. Farkas said if you become the victim of a computer hacking make sure to backup of your data so you can erase your system and reinstall everything.
Over the years we have seen an increase in people across the world investing in smart phones. They easy to use and you can access your information with just a click of a button. But with that ease of access comes a big risk of being hacked.
Although most phone companies have made apps simple to download, Farkas said within mobile phones the apps you download are the highest risk. She says while most apps are safe, there are some that do not have the protection encoded in it to keep your information confidential.
To protect your information, make sure the app is from a verified source. Be vigilant about what each app wants access to on your phone. Read the fine print of agreement terms. And if you see anything suspicious happening with your phone don't assume that it's normal.
"I think that it's a mixture of using technology, say using encryption on the sensitive information that you store in your computer or cell phone or any mobile devices. As well as common sense, sensible practices," Farkas said. "Cyber security risk is really a continuous balancing of the risk. What is going to happen if somebody gets that information? How much damage are you going to incur?"
Farkas warned about keeping credit card information stored on apps make sure your banking apps have an encryption. She says its good habit to have a password on apps you store information on and on your phone and computer itself.
To verify the legitimacy of an app, Apple has described what's called "Sandboxing" to limit what your app can do. You can verify the apps themselves on an Android device with settings already in the phone
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