Experts: e-mail never designed to be secure

"You can have a reasonable level of privacy in terms of email, but you should not put your secrets in email ... That's kind of the first rule of email."

Most e-mail was never designed to be secure.

“You can have a reasonable level of privacy in terms of e-mail, but you should not put your secrets in e-mail,” said Vassil Roussev, a Computer Science Professor at UNO. “That’s kind of the first rule of e-mail.

It seems like just about every week, there's a new cyber attack on a major corporation or private account.

The World Anti-Doping Agency's is the latest target. Hackers accessed a database and revealed private medical information about tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams and gymnast Simone Biles.

With so many high-profile cases happening so frequently, WWL-TV sat down with cyber experts to talk about online security.

George Schiaffino with Integrated Technologies advises, if someone sends you an email asking for your account number and password, don't answer it.

"It's just like a phone call," Schiaffino said. "No one is going to pick up the phone and call you and ask you for an account number and you're going to give it to them over the phone."

Speaking of passwords, the experts say the longer the better, use a mix of letters, numbers and symbols and don't use the same password for all your accounts.

"That's one of the basic tricks of social engineering," Roussev said. "Once you have a password, just try it everywhere, it takes almost no effort on the part of a hacker."

They also caution people from using debit cards for online purchases.

"Personally, my debit card is sitting in a drawer at my house," Schiaffino said. "I know that is attached to my bank account and I do not want to log in one morning and see I have no money."

People should also use a secure modem.

"Usually a combination device and one of the functions is it is a firewall so it will help a great deal and hide all the machines that are on your home network," Roussev said.

The experts caution people from using cloud storage for sensitive information and pictures.

They said keeping that material on your own device is more secure.

Also, don't click on links contained in unsolicited email, it could be from a "spoof" account using the name of someone you know.

"They will design an e-mail that will appeal to you and will be connected to things you know and you would kind of believe it to be genuine, so you make your click on that link and potentially install malware," Schiaffino said.

It's best to use some version of anti-virus software like Trend Micro, Norton and Webroot.

(© 2016 WWL)


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