Local Technology Expert Offers Tips for Protecting Your Information

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Data security breaches continue to make headlines.

Just this week, hackers released racy photos of celebrities, and Home Depot may have had its system hacked.

However, individuals also are at risk, and a local technology expert has advice about how you can protect yourself.

"The cloud is pretty much a pervasive online storage environment that goes across the whole internet and is not one hundred percent secure -- never has been, never will be," said Gordon Johnson, the chief information officer at WKU.

Every time you snap a picture or enter a password, your information could be at risk.

"The amount of online data that's out there is growing exponentially, so the return for hacking into it is getting bigger."

Gordon Johnson has been to many security conferences through the years and said, while technology continues to change, the problems discussed remain very much the same.

"Technology improves, security improves -- we're much more secure, even at WKU, than we were a year or two years ago, but the criminals are improving to."

He said hackers can steal your information through two ways.

"They come in from the back infrastructure of the provider and they get in through the system -- that's what happened to Target -- or they get the user's ID, like the e-mail address, and try to hack their way in on the user side."

For instance, key loggers download programs that record key strokes you make entering passwords.

However, many websites offer two-factor authentication which protects against that.

"Basically, in addition to your password and user ID, it'll text you a code, e-mail a code, call your phone -- something like that."

That code is different each time, which prevents hackers from using it to gain access to your accounts.

Johnson said passwords should be long, and if you don't use smart phone services like iCloud, turn it off.

He said it's good to have passcode locks on your devices, and when it comes to sharing information, ask yourself if it's necessary and what effect it would have if it were released.

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