2015, News
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Watch For ‘Sharks’ While Surfing the Web

How Is Your Information Being Shared With the World?


By Britni Schock, News Writer
Rose Navalta, Graphic Designer

Technology is all around us and a major part of our daily routines. The information we share across these technologies is not always something we want the public to know about, but with data and personal information getting into the wrong hands we have less control. Anyone can be at risk, with their information being used for identity theft and online security breaches. With the awareness of these security threats being brought to the attention of government officials, we are seeing some changes in privacy protection and security measures.
In a statement from the Office of the Press Secretary, about new cybersecurity proposals President Obama said, “In this interconnected, digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyber assaults both in the private sector and the public sector. Now, our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place…But even as we get better, the hackers are going to get better, too.” Obama addresses the fact that we have a lot of our information available on various databases and that this information must be protected from hackers. Even as security becomes tighter, the hackers adapt and find ways to retrieve information.
According to a recent Reuters article titled, “Obama Seeks $14 Billion to Boost U.S. Cybersecurity Defenses,” the president has proposed a budget for the 2016 fiscal year of $14 billion to increase cyber security systems. The funding has been rising over the past few years because of the rise in security threats. These security threats are from domestic and foreign sources and pose risks to many U.S. government organizations, companies and the general public. Obama also commented on the White House website saying, “America’s economic prosperity, national security, and our individual liberties depend on our commitment to securing cyberspace and maintaining an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet. Although the threats are serious and they constantly evolve, I believe that if we address them effectively, we can ensure that the Internet remains an engine for economic growth and a platform for the free exchange of ideas.” Obama seems confident that the security systems can be made secure and used in a positive way for the people and the nation as a whole. The Internet is a tool that a majority rely on for many reasons and this makes it a vulnerable target for hackers. Being aware of potential hackers is important for internet users, as well as, showing caution when sharing personal information online.
Recently the University of Hawaii system has be subject to regular phishing attempts in student email. The University of Hawaii system Information Security Officer, Jodi Ito, commented on these recent attacks that students have been facing and the security measures taken. Ito manages and maintains the UH Hilo email system, which is the main target of the phishing attempts, however phone calls have become another way that victims are being targeted. Ito also says that the hackers are after student usernames and passwords so that they can get access to personal email accounts to send out additional emails to gather further information. It is advised to not give out your username and/or password to anyone unless you have been in contact with them and you are fully aware of why they need your information. If you receive an email from someone that you have not been recently in contact with and they are asking for your personal information it could most likely be a phishing attempt. At the beginning of each semester is when the phishing attempts are reportedly the highest, because that is when students are most vulnerable. Starting a new semester can be hectic and there is a lot of information being presented to students so they are more likely to overlook suspicious emails. The UH Hilo system is continually monitoring student email to minimize phishing attempts but students need to take an active role in protecting their information from these threats.

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