Local cyber security expert talks tips on how to monitor your personal information

Local cyber security expert talks tips on how to monitor your personal information
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Another major cyber attack has as many as 80 million Anthem health care customers wondering if their personal information has been compromised. The company reported the attack to the FBI last week and now investigators believe the hackers possibly obtained employee security credentials through email phishing.

The East Texas News talked to a local cyber security expert about how to keep an eye on your personal data.

Cyber criminals have reportedly hacked Anthem, the second largest insurance provider in the United States. Anthem is the parent company to the Blue Cross Blue Shield brand, Unicare, Healthlink and several other providers. The company says hackers stole customer names, social security numbers, email and other information.

"It's a day-to-day battle to keep people's stuff secure," said Garland Hawk, IT Director, Cybershield Information Services.

So how can you protect yourself if your personal information was compromised?

Hawk said report any suspicious activity immediately.

"Contact the FBI. That's one of the first things that you need to do." Hawk said.

Then you need to diligently monitor all your financial information including banking and credit cards.

"I would tell people to set aside one day a week to look at your bank account. Don't wait till the end of the month. Don't wait six months. Do it once a week," Hawk said.

Hawk said now with smart phones and app's it's easy to watch your accounts. He also suggests signing up for real time alerts and paying for identity protection.

"There is identity protection out there now," Hawk said. "I think it's like 19 or 20 dollars a month."

Investigators looking into the Anthem breech say it's possible the hackers got access through email phishing. Hawk said that's a common and easy way for cyber criminal to access your information.

"Never click on a link in a email that you do not recognize fully," Hawk said. "If someone sends you an email that has an attachment and it looks off, it is off."

He said it's a game for hackers to try and break their way through the digital walls. For every application that comes out to prevent cyber crimes, cyber security issues, the same day that we get it are the same days that the hackers get it. Hawk also says it's important not to share your personal information through any social media sites.

Hawk suggests people make their passwords harder by using mixed case, numbers and the ASCII characters and even though it's a pain, change your passwords every 90 days.

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