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By Peter Brooks - Staff Reporter
Think about switching to multi-factor authentication to help keep your personal infor- mation safe and secure, High- line's top Information Security Officer said.
Highline Chief Information Security Officer Kurt Giessel said that "usernames and pass- words are just not enough" and are no longer keeping peoples' personal information safe on- line.
October is the National Cy- ber Security Awareness Month, prompting Giessel to try to help people keep their information safe.
Cyber Security Awareness Month, is a collaborative effort between government and indus- tries to ensure the resources to Americans for their safety and security.
This October marks 15 years of providing safety and security for online users.
Week one is themed Make Your Home a Haven for Online Security.
"Don't do anything person- al" Giessel said when talking about using shared computers.
Giessel added that if you're using shared computers and log in to your personal files, such as bank accounts, financial in- formation, etc., you're putting yourself and/or your family at risk.
The best way to ensure safety online is to follow these five best tips of security:
•The first one is multi-factor authentication, which is a secu- rity system that requires more than one method of authenti- cation.
Multi-factor authentica- tion is one of top safest options to keeping personal informa- tion safe.
An example of using the multi-factor authentication would be logging on a web- site and being sent a one-time passcode to your phone to gain access to that website. Something that only you will receive. Or typing in a PIN that only you would know.
• The next best security measure is checking the SSL Certificate. The SSL Certifi- cate are small data files that encrypts the system to ensure that no one can hack some- one's information.
Without the SSL Certif- icate, anyone who is logged onto a computer and connect- ed to the same server can see their personal files.
If someone is unsure about whether their computer is se- cure, they can check the URL and if it does not say https then it is not secure, Giessel said.
The SSL Certificate pro- duces the https protocol and if it does not contain that or the padlock to the left on the URL bar, then do not use the website.
• The third tip to having a secure system is to not save financial information on any computer. If at any time people are using shared computers, they shouldn't save any of their information online due to the risk of getting hacked through an unencrypted server.
• Tip No. 4 is to always be careful who you trust.
Giessel said that if a person is contacted by someone they know, but their message seems off, they should contact their acquaintance in a different way and see if they actually sent it.
Do not click or respond to a message that seems fishy be- cause it could lead to your in- formation getting stolen.
• The last tip to keeping your information safe is to create strong passwords. This might seem a given when cre- ating passwords anyways, but what the websites say to do is actually a less safer way.
To ensure security, Giessel said that using pass-phrases as passwords makes it harder for hackers to guess as opposed to creating passwords with a cap- ital letter, numbers, etc.
For example, using a phrase like Brown Toaster Ice Horse.
It would be hard for a hacker to figure out this pass- phrase, and it would be easy for someone to remember be- cause of how crazy it sounds and the mental image that comes to mind when saying these words.
Aside from those tips, there are many other ways to ensure your safety online, he said.
One way is to always lock your phone.
"If someone gets ahold of another person's phone, they can steal their whole life," Giesselsaid.
Hackers gain access to per- sonal information through unlocked phones.
Along with that, never leave your phone anywhere, even with trusted friends. No one knows who is nearby who could gain access.
Another way is to check emails. If it looks like a legit email, but contents look a bit off, contact that person, or contact support if it is from a school email. This way they can ensure you that it was them who sent it, Giessel said.
"It is always best to slow down and think" Giessel said. Ask questions even if things
look right, or if the sever is se- cure, he said.
"We are only as strong as our weakest link," Giessel said.