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Cyber threats a prevalent personal, business concern

Tmthetom via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0

Digital security has emerged as a serious concern for everyone from individuals to Fortune-500 companies.

“Cyber security is ever evolving and changing. There’s constant changes, and the environment is open for the hacker to be able to take.”

Chris Christensen is the director of the Michigan Office of Infrastructure Protection.

“So it’s important for anybody who’s trying to protect the network or protect their systems to be innovative and to be able to study the latest and greatest technologies.”

Christensen was part of a panel discussion at this year’s Michigan Cyber Security Conference, held on the downtown campus of Grand Valley State University.

He says ransomware – when someone gains access to files on another computer or network and holds them hostage until the victim pays money – is among recent, prevalent concerns.

“It’s interesting to see that ransomware, that type of hack, is happening at such different levels. It can be from a hospital network – to be able to stop them from having access to the networks – to dental records, that’s being done. But also as local as individual (files) are being taken and being hacked.”

Christensen says it’s important to practice caution online and in email, especially when receiving information from someone you don’t know.

“If it’s someone you don’t know – don’t open the email and don’t click on any of the external links. If it’s someone that says they need to verify and validate your user name and/or password, I would recommend not doing it unless you for sure know that’s what they need.

"And even then I would recommend even calling to do another authentication.” 

Christensen adds along with links, to never download attachments from email or online if you don’t know the website or the sender.

Hilary is a General Assignment and Enterprise reporter for WGVU Public Media. She joined WGVU in September 2014 after several years of experience as a local news reporter, anchor and photojournalist in Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties. She's also worked as a financial and business reporter and audio field producer.
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