Opinion

More precaution needed for online users

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Not so many years ago, the greatest crime concern for most of us was a home or auto break-in.

But with the growth of online commerce and a steady stream of data breeches and computer scams, the landscape has changed.

A recent survey shows almost 70 percent of Americans say they worry about their computers or mobile devices being hacked and their private information stolen or compromised. Nationally, by comparison, only about 45 percent of respondents said they worried about break-ins, according to the Gallup Poll.

Statistics show there is good reason for the concern. About 27 percent of people say they or another household member had information from a credit card stolen by computer hackers and used at a store or in some other way. That makes these hacking crimes the most common of all that Gallup tracks.

“Data breaches at banks, health care providers and major retailers in recent months should serve as a wake-up call for consumers about how easy it is to have their information compromised,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey advised last week. Here are some of the precautions his office recommends.

* Change your passwords: Passwords should be changed every three months, and people should not use the same password for different websites or devices. Of course, keeping up with a lot of different passwords can be a challenge, but security experts have some good tips on making passwords more secure…

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