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Cyber Crime On The Rise

September 19, 2013, 10:00 PM by Angela Kennecke

Cyber Crime On The Rise

It used to be a criminal would break into banks or stores to steal money. Now they can just break into data bases.

Cyber crime is the fastest growing crime out there and the thieves are either after your personal information or business secrets.

As many as 50 local companies want to learn how to keep their businesses safe from data breaches. Their customers are at risk of having their personal information stolen if hackers can break in.

"The most valuable thing you have is your personal data. And if you're an organization that really means you are entrusted with your customer data," Peter McNaull of WatchGuard said.

While credit card numbers and social security numbers can be bought and sold on the black market, hackers are also after more.

"There's also intellectual property; things inside your organization that really mean the continuity of your business," McNaull said.

Peter McNaull of WatchGuard was brought in by the Sioux Falls information technology company EarthBend. EarthBend says cyber crime is something no business can afford to ignore.

"A tremendous issue; billions of dollars a year," Wade Hoffman of EarthBend said.

It can range from simple email breaches, like clicking on an unknown link, to mobile devices like laptops and smartphones; businesses need to figure out where they are most vulnerable to cyber attacks.

"You go to a hotel room you log into that environment and that's when you become the weakest link," McNaull said.

And technology can't always keep up with the latest tactics used by cyber thieves.

"I want to be able to go on my phone and order airline tickets, or do something and that is why the Internet and smart phones are cool because they make our lives easier and better; but there's this other element, obviously we need to pay attention to and that is securing our own data and how we give it out," McNaull said.

And that includes being suspect of just about any email you get. If you get an email from a company you know you've given your information to, saying there's been a data breach and you need to reset your user name and password, don't just take the link and do it. Go directly to the company's website and change them there.

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