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Five things to know: Are you at risk for a cyber attack?

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Air Force Institute of Technology Center for Cyber Research Director Lt.Col Mark Reith talks cyber threats.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

If you’re online, you’re at risk, experts say.

“The fact of the matter is we as a society do more and more and more stuff online — that’s individuals, that’s governments, that’s businesses — and when you do that … what we call the threat surface has grown exponentially,” said David Salisbury, a University of Dayton professor of information systems.

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Although cyberwarfare gets a lot of attention, said Jeff A. Hughes, president of Tenet3 in Riverside, “there’s a lot of everyday threats I think people should be equally as focused on.”

An industrial control hacking script running on a research project at Riverside Research in Beavercreek. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
An industrial control hacking script running on a research project at Riverside Research in Beavercreek. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Experts have these tips on the ways you personally may be at risk online and on the job.

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Here are five ways you can protect yourself:

  • Spear phishing or phishing: Clicking on an email attachment may unleash malware that infects your computer. Experts say be wary of what you click on if you don't know its origin or the sender.
  • Ransomware: A hacker demands money to remove malware from your computer,which may have neen infilitrated by clicking on a phishing email. The malware would restrict or shutdown your ability to use the system. "There is one way to avoid being wiped out by ransomware and that is to back everything up you don't want to lose … and then physically disconnect it from your computer," Salisbury said.
  • Credit card skimming: A noted concern at gas station fuel pumps, running your credit card through a skimming device could let a thief walk off with credit card data. "These are vulnerable to quick hacks," Hughes said.
  • Social media: The information you share online could be crafted by criminals to develop a specific spear phishing intrusion to target you, Hughes said. Experts recommend setting privacy settings to keep out those you don't want snooping in your social media accounts
  • Don't answer requests for personal information online.

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