The University of Virginia Lifetime Learning organization hosted three cybersecurity experts on Saturday, November 4, for an informational session on what people need to do to keep their personal information safe.
“It’s really important to bring cybersecurity awareness to the general public,” says Angela Orebaugh, assistant professor at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Three UVA technology specialists led a panel on Saturday to teach important cybersecurity tips.
“The user has a lot that they can do to really take ownership of their own security,” says Orebaugh.
Audience members learned to be wary of suspicious emails, back up their data, and use strong, unique passwords.
“Pick a long password,” says Orebaugh. “The longer the password, the longer it takes for automated password crackers to break it.”
“A longer password – something that’s 15, 16, 20 characters – makes it much stronger,” says Jason Belford, UVA’s chief information security officer.
Panelists stressed the importance of not using the same or even similar passwords for every account.
“You really should really use a different password per site that you go to, whether its Facebook or Dropbox or Gmail, any of those, you really want to use different passwords just in case one of them were hacked you don’t want them to be able to get access to all the sites,” says Belford.
The technology experts suggested using a password manager – a program that stores all your passwords that only you can access.
“Using a password manager, you only have to remember one password,” says Belford. “And that’s for the – it unlocks the vault that have all your other passwords.”
The panelists also talked about the Equifax data breach that happened earlier this year.
They advised everyone to take advantage of the free credit monitoring that Equifax is offering.