TECH BYTE: Protect Your Personal Information from Hackers


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — We’ve been hearing about cyber security breaches impacting different companies all over the country.

IT companies like InfoSystems may provide cyber security services to businesses, but it’s still important to use common sense when it comes to protecting yourself against any cyber threats.

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“For every Capital One you hear about, or every Home Depot, or every Equifax, there are literally thousands of companies getting attacked every day,” said Fred Cobb, InfoSystems.

Cobb says these breaches are happening more often because hackers are getting smarter.

“The basic perimeter defense that a lot of companies, or a lot of individuals have at home, are no longer doing the job that they need to be doing to protect either the companies or the individuals,” Cobb said.

So what can business owners do to protect themselves?

It’s important to know anyone can get hacked – even when you least expect it.

Cobb says firewalls alone aren’t enough to protect you anymore.

“Mainly because of the insider threats,” he said. “We’ve all heard of ransomware. We’ve all heard of e-mails getting hacked. All of that is leading to data loss, is leading to these marquee type breaches.”

Cobb says employees need to be aware of what files they’re opening.

All it takes is one phishing e-mail with embedded malware to hurt a company.

“One thing you can do is train your employees when they get a certain type of e-mail, if they’re not expecting an e-mail from a particular individual, a particular company, or there’s something unusual about it, something is being given away freely, that’s always a sign that it may be an e-mail that has some embedded malware, or simply trying to do credential scraping.”

He says businesses should also make sure to do proper background checks on their employees.

You can even use technology to help step up your cyber security efforts.

“You can start layering in on top of the firewall, you can do perimeter defense, where you can do certain types of blocking, a common term is geo blocking.”

As for when you’re at home, Cobb says to do a credit freeze on your accounts if you encounter a hack similar to what happened with Capital One.

Also institute a fraud alert if someone gets a hold of your credit card number after you freeze your account.

“That goes a long way to keep someone that has access to your personal information like your social security number, other types of personal information, that would allow them to go in and maybe create a credit line, open some account in your name,” Cobb said.

Make sure to change your passwords, have unique ones for different accounts, and use multi-factor authentication.

“That is a very easy way to really super enrich your protection when it comes to doing anything online, where you’ve traditionally used a username and a password, now you’ve got this extra thing that someone would have to physically have in order to gain access into your accounts.”

Cobb says InfoSystems is offering free cyber security assessments for businesses through the end of the year.

You can sign up on their website,