BBB Advises How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Cyber Attacks

More than 60 percent of americans have already been hacked this year

FARGO, N.D. —¬†Sensitive information belonging to millions of Americans was hacked in the Equifax breach earlier this year.

But why are so many people vulnerable?

Even people who work in cyber security are at risk of being hacked.

“I teach this all day long and yet I was still hacked, so I might have made a purchase at a coffee shop on public wi-fi. I don’t know where it happens but it can happen to anybody,” said Heather Johnson, business outreach coordinator with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Heather Johnson says more than 60 percent of Americans are victims of cyber attacks.
Some members of the BBB say being too trusting is a big contributor.

“When you sign up for a website, you put your name and your address and your phone number in there.
And then you click accept on that, an agreement, and then you become a commodity,” Johnson said.

Heather Hutten doesn’t disagree.

“Between social media, everything is just posted way too much on the internet. Anybody can hack into Facebook, Twitter, anything on your computer,” Hutten said.

But why is everyone so trusting?

“That’s the $100 question, right? We don’t really know why everyone is so trusting,” Johnson said.
“But I do know if you go on a website, and you want to shop, you have to accept it or they won’t let you go any further, right?”

Being too trustworthy isn’t the only way people get hacked.

Age plays a role.  The BBB says many hackers target millennials.

“They actually fall victim more quickly than a senior citizen would,” Johnson said. “Seniors are educated, they have a lot of experience and they expect to be targeted.”

Some say it’s because seniors aren’t on the computer as much.

“Senior citizens don’t have a lot of accessibility to computers, where you know, the younger generation is controlled by their phones,” Johnson said.

Johnson says she sees it all the time.

“We’re at the coffee shop and we have a couple of minutes and we’re checking our bank account but you’re on a public wi-fi connection that’s not secure,” Johnson said. “So that means anybody can get a hold of that information but we aren’t thinking in those ways.”

She says to keep your information safe, be careful about where you send it.

BBB officials say you can keep your information safe by installing anti-virus software and avoiding suspicious links and emails.

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