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Langara talks about hacking and internet security

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Hackers are more sophisticated than ever, and that is why students should be extra cautious about their web safety, said Lauren Wood, a speaker at a computer tech meetup held last Friday at Langara.

Nowadays, the average student may have multiple accounts online, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or an email account.

Hackers prey on those who are careless

Protecting yourself can be a challenge, especially with technology advancing every day, making it easier for hackers to access personal information, said Brian Koehler, chair of the Langara computer science department.

Koehler recommends setting up a password that includes upper- and lower-case letters, and punctuation.

He added, “A lot of people get lazy and use the same password for all their different accounts. The danger with that is if a hacker guesses one, then the first thing they will do is try the same password on all those different sites.”

Secure browsers and care with passwords are key

“I’ve used the same password forever,” said Louie Pan, a kinesiology student at Langara. “Its an obscure Pokémon,” he revealed.

During the meetup Wood said another easy way to protect yourself online is to use two different browsers.

“You use one browser for stuff such as your bank sites and you load that one up to the max with all the protective plug-ins. You use your other browser for your random surfing to sites that aren’t safe.”

Michael Aghamohseni, a kinesiology student at Langara, admits he’s never been hacked but knows people who have.

“My friends have been hacked but usually they just change their password or delete their account and make a new one… I’m really careful with my passwords and I make sure they’re not very obvious.”

Lauren Wood speaks at Langara College at a computer science tech meetup Feb. 21 , educating attendees about web site security.
Lauren Wood speaks at Langara College at a computer science tech meetup Feb. 21 , educating attendees about web site security.

Wood said the main thing people need to do is assume that somebody is out to get them, when referring to web safety.

“Assume that somebody somewhere is going to try and spam your comments, break into your site to get information, do something you don’t want.”

Koehler also recommends that students have a good anti-virus program and check the security of the sites they access by looking for a small lock icon in the address bar.

Reported by Ali Crane
Video by Nick Eagland and Ali Crane

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