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Protecting Your Identity on the Internet

John Blackwood lecturing on Cybersecurity

Professor John Blackwood shares tips on protecting ourselves from cybercriminals.

ROSEBURG, Oregon – It was like any morning. A number of years ago, UCC Computer Science professor John Blackwood was getting started for a new day. That morning, he logged in to check his bank account balance and to his surprise—all of his money was gone. Someone in Australia used a debit card to make multiple cash withdrawals from his account. From that point on, protecting himself and others from cybercrime became a passion.

At a recent presentation for UCC’s Faculty Lecture Series, Blackwood shared tips and tricks that can help protect anyone from cybercrime. First, he defined who the “bad guys” are and what they do:

  • Crackers – break in to devices (phones, tablets, and computers) in order to compromise sensitive data.
  • Hackers – interested in data with the intent of using it for blackmailing, selling it or posting it online.
  • Phishers – present offers or situations via fraudulent emails and fake websites in order to steal someone’s identity.

Then he talked about what can be done to protect ourselves from cybercrime.

  • Use complex passwords. Passwords should be at least 6 characters long and they should use upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Don’t use truthful answers for challenge questions. Many banks and organizations ask us to provide our mother’s maiden name, as an example. It is best not to use the real one because often it is available publicly. “My mother posted her maiden name on her Facebook account,” Blackwood said.
  • Never click on links in suspicious emails. Check over emails for signs of fraud. “Banks will never ask you to provided usernames and passwords through an email,” he said. “If you feel you need to respond, pull out your bank card and call the number on the back of your card.”

Blackwood is starting up a Cybersecurity program at UCC to help companies combat cybercrime. Learn more at umpqua.edu/cybersecurity.

About Umpqua Community College

Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.


John Blackwood - Contact
Associate Professor, Computer Information Systems

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