Cyber Security Expert Offers Tips to Protect Your Data - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Cyber Security Expert Offers Tips to Protect Your Data

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Computer security experts say your personal information is very valuable to thieves, and criminals are getting better at stealing it.

Local cyber security professional Tony Rucci served in military and civilian intelligence for more than 30 years and recently started his own cyber security company in Reno. Root Technology works with companies around the country to identify weak points in security and provide solutions and training to help owners protect their own and their customers' data. He says it's become a big business because hackers are working around the clock to get sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers and login information.

On Monday morning Rucci had already seen more than 31,000 fake e-mails from hackers pretending to be with Pay Pal. "Pay Pal is trending today," he said. "Criminals who do this as a full time job are out there targeting accounts all day long," he added.

Rucci showed us an e-mail he received purportedly from the Bank of Ireland. "They want my account balance and then they want me to verify my Visa password," he said. He tells customers never to respond to e-mails from financial institutions that ask you to click on a link or attachment.

Two other Root Technology employees are former or current military security experts. "We'll help assess a company and determine what their security weaknesses are and then we'll build a remediation strategy for the owners and managers of that company, to help them raise their security and provide training as well, "said Rucci. As part of that training, Rucci sometimes sends the company a fake e-mail that "fishes" for sensitive information. "Most recently we tested a company here in Reno with 40 employees and 38 of the 40 employees clicked in that spearfish e-mail; several of them within the first minute and a half of sending it," he said.

Greg Jones gets information about computer attacks from an interactive map at Root Technology that shows where hackers are attacking computers around the world. "Every red dot up there is an actual computer being attacked," he said, referring to the large flat screen monitor that takes up an entire wall at the company's office. On Monday it was showing attacks on Amazon and Facebook accounts in Germany.

Rucci says thieves are getting very good at stealing information and even security experts aren't immune.

Video taken at the Security Operations Center at the Super Bowl in New Jersey mistakenly revealed sensitive information written on a white board. "They did some background shots with a TV station and what they inadvertently captured in the scene was the wireless access point login and password that was projected nationally," Rucci explained.

So, what can you do to protect your data? Rucci recommends watching your bank accounts and credit card statements carefully for any unusual charges, changing your password frequently and finally, he cautions everyone not to use the same password for different accounts. He told us a study showed that the most popular password in 2013 was "Password-123." Rucci says that's an invitation to thieves to take your personal information and run with it.

Written by Jennifer Burton

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