By Kayla Nunez
The Razorback Reporter
Online personal information for 64 percent of Americans has been compromised, according to the Pew Research Center, but there are ways to ensure that one stays as safe as possible on the Internet.
One way that people can stay safe online is to use a different password for all accounts, said Eva Owens, security analyst at the UofA.
“People can set up good passwords or good pass phrases,” Owens said. Long passwords make accounts more difficult to hack.
There are always risks, Owens said, but diversifying passwords will ensure people will stay as safe as possible online.
Owens also suggested that people should “keep a clean machine and be sure they are keeping their software updated.” Individuals must be aware of how to stay safe online and how to keep their sensitive information private, Owens said.
As for UA student accounts, Erik Watkins, Blackboard support specialist, said he’s not aware of Blackboard accounts being hacked but he’s aware of a few cases when someone’s university e-mail account has been hacked.
“Though because the UofA uses the same credentials for multiple systems,” Watkins said, “if a malicious actor has those credentials, all of those accounts are compromised.”
If an individual thinks their university accounts have been hacked, they can contact the UA Information Technology Service help desk at 479-575-2905.
To keep university accounts and all other online accounts safe, users always should remember to log out of their accounts and don’t give passwords to anyone, Owens said.
Owens also suggested that users should be aware of whom they are giving information to online and they should avoid opening suspicious links. Users should be aware of the URL when opening a link, according to Stay Safe Online, a website powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance.
“Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site,” according to Stay Safe Online, “but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com versus .net).”
As a part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the UofA will present events throughout October to inform students, faculty and staff of ways to stay safe online.
There is no way to ensure one stays completely safe online, Owens said, but these are ways to stay as safe as possible.
“Just like with your house,” Owens said, “You lock the door when you leave to make sure no one gets in but sometimes there is still a break in. Our digital life reflects our physical life.”
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