Experts: Protect your online identity as if it’s physical property

Trevor Jones and Ashley Podhradsky with Dakota State University, told people at the Flandreau Development Corporation annual meeting how to lessen their chances of becoming a victim of cybercrimes.

Cybercrimes are outnumbering traditional crime cases but there are some things businesses can do to protect themselves from becoming victims, two experts say.
Treating online property like it is physical property by locking down information like you lock the door to your house is a start, said Trevor Jones, former secretary for the state department of public safety and on staff at Dakota State University.
Turn on two-factor authentication, where someone needs more than a password to enter your account, and make passwords very long, said Ashley Padhradsky, a Flandreau native and associate dean of the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences at DSU.
The two spoke April 4 at the annual meeting of the Flandreau Development Corporation. About 75 people attended the event at the Royal River Casino and Hotel.
Podhradsky recently helped an area online retail business that had its social media accounts stolen the week before Black Friday sales. Those types of crimes need to be reported to law enforcement even if solving the case is a remote possibility, she said.
Reporting the crime might protect a neighbor from becoming a victim, Jones said. “If we don’t start reporting it, there’s just going to be more victims.”
Online thieves also can get in a company’s email system and trick a business’ customers to get them to wire their payments to them, Podhradsky said.
“By the time you realize it, it might be a couple weeks later,” she said. One safeguard is to limit geographically who can log into the email system so that they have to be in the building or within a designated area. Many cyber hackers are located all over the world.
Jones said about 60 percent of cyberattacks were on small business owners who in most cases had a loss that crippled their businesses.
“About 80 percent of those that have some event type like that actually close six months later,” he said.

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