Mark Buckner, an instructor of computer and information science at Walters State Community College, warned attendees of the Hamblen County Republican Women’s meeting Monday night that there are dangers in security when it comes to smart phones and computers.
“How many of you have a computer?” Buckner asked. “This is for you. How many have a smart phone? This is for you. How many live in the United States of America? This is for you.”
Buckner spoke at the monthly meeting of the Republican women’s group at the Hamblen County Republican headquarters. Buckner, an expert on cyber security, spoke to the organization about the threats and dangers of hacking and “social engineering.”
He started off speaking about incidents of cyber security being compromised and hitting the news like with Target, Equifax and Yahoo.
Buckner explained to the group how usernames can be common, but passwords are secret, even to the vendors themselves.
A study by Verizon recently, showed that 87 percent of accounts hacked come from stolen or “weak” passwords.
So, the key is having a strong password, he said. Weak passwords include anything that could be a word found in the dictionary and easily able to look up, he said.
Another weak password is using personal identifiable information that could be deduced by going on someone’s Facebook account and finding out some information about a person.
“Move away from a password and move to a pass phrase,” he said.
He said a strong password would be anything that may use some obscure song lyrics or something else not easily identifiable. Also, characters and numbers need to be within the password.
He said passwords should also be changed regularly and never use the same password for all accounts.
“If they can get into one account they can get into every account,” he said.
He spoke on “social engineering” and how hacking is not necessarily like it is in the movies.
Buckner said most security breaches don’t come from someone sitting in a basement getting into computer systems.
Most breaches of security come from within the company itself, he said.
“When you hear about hacking, it’s usually someone has given away the keys to the kingdom for free,” he said.
Hackers will call industries or businesses and pretend to be someone in the company then ask a random employee for a username and password. More often than not, it works, he said.
The meeting concluded with members talking about preparation for the upcoming annual picnic.
The Hamblen County Republican Women’s picnic will be held 6 p.m. June 15 at Cherokee Park.