Keeping your information safe from hackers

Hacking for your information is on the rise. From Anthem, Home Depot, to Target. That was all in 2014, but the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report labels 2013 as the ‘year of the retailer breach’… because that’s when hackers started shifting their focus from ‘geo-political’ to ‘payment’ systems.

Special Agent Kenneth McNaughton says, “As technology gets more and more sophisticated, the criminals are often the first ones to manipulate technologies for their own purpose.”

That’s why Smartpath Technologies hosted this seminar for small business owners on Thursday. They heard about some of the newest ways businesses can protect themselves and their customers from criminals. But when it comes to technology, criminals are able to take it and use it in their favor.

So how do businesses stay one step ahead, and make sure your information stays safe? It’s a constant game of catch-up.

Joe Jordan has managed Purcell Tire and Rubber Company for decades, and he still uses an old-fashioned calculator for simple math. He says the business management has changed dramatically, but when it comes to his policy on credit cards, “We’ve got to see it or we won’t do the service we’ve gotten burned on it before and once bitten.”

It’s anything but old-tech. Jordan says he has to make sure he’s not only protecting his business, but also your information, “The thieves are so sophisticated now, can we keep ahead of them, is there a new scam coming around the corner?”

Kelly Laneave with Paducah Bank says small business security is all about the layers- from firewalls to credit monitoring systems, “We need to be tuned in and not on autopilot when dealing with technology or swiping our debit card or putting our ATM card into an ATM.”

That’s because Willie Kerns with Smartpath Technologies says not keeping your information safe puts owners at risk as well, “It’s gotten to the point now it’s real and they’ve got to do something they’ve got to protect their customers.”

So although the techniques constantly change, Jordan says the only option is to stay up to date.

Something that was addressed in the seminar- what to do in the aftermath of the Anthem hack. Anthem is a widely used health insurance company. They said now, there’s not much to do other than monitor your accounts and credit score.

And when it comes to passwords, we all like those easy-to-remember passwords, but they say a complicated password is one of the easiest ways to keep your information safe. Use a capital letter, a lowercase, special characters, and numbers. That will make it a lot harder for hackers to break in and steal your info.

If you choose to throw away any phones or thumb drives, be sure to wipe them clean of any information.

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