Madigan warns of increase in cyber crime

By Matt Porter |

Published 08/27 2014 10:24PM

Updated 08/28 2014 10:17AM

ILLINOIS -- Cyber crime is one of the fastest growing threats in the United States and experts say few people are prepared to deal with it. Cyber threats range from someone stealing your private information to learning so much about you they can impersonate you.

Now, Attorney General Lisa Madigan warns businesses of more breaches in security including 1,000 across the country from the last homeland security report.

Madigan said, ““Unfortunately, it is not a matter of if but when you will become a victim of some sort of cyber crime.”

While businesses are working to build better firewalls against these threats, there are ways people can protect themselves. The problem? Few do.

UIS senior Jing Chen is one of millions of people using the web to shop and bank, but leaves security holes a hacker can exploit.

“I usually use the same password in case I forget,” Chen said.

Chen rarely changes his passwords either. It's something security experts recommend people do every few months.

Matthew Gaskins said he keeps an eye on his accounts, but he’s not overly worried about a security breach.

“I will rotate them occasionally and certainly will keep close track of what major threats there are that go around,” Gaskins said. “So if there’s something major going around, I will change them.”

UIS computer science professor Lucas Vespa said cyber crime is becoming more common and more daring.

“Online providers are facing unprecedented levels of attack,” Vespa said.

Banks and other e-commerce sites, like Amazon, are only now catching up to the threat because Vespa said there wasn’t any profit in stronger online security.

Vespa recommends long passwords made up of different characters including letters, numbers and symbols. He said using common passwords for convenience is the worst.

“Absolutely, you have to use a different password for every single service you use,” Vespa said.

Still, many like Chen put security aside believing they aren't worth the time.

“They will not steal our information because we’re students,” Chen said. “We’re not very rich.”

Other security tips include keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date and don’t let web browsers remember your password if you can’t add a master password.

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