Protecting Your PC Against Personal Data Breaches - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Protecting Your PC Against Personal Data Breaches

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It was December 19th when Target came forward and announced they had a possible data breach that ended up impacting nearly 40 million people. Today, Bloomberg Business Week reports that Target knew their customers information was compromised, nearly a month before they went public! So if the number 3 retailer in the United States runs into trouble protecting personal information, Valley News Team's Eric Crest looks asks what are the odds that you are fully protected on your personal computer.


Data breaches, where your personal information is jacked, didn't start with Target. They've been happening since the dawn of the internet.


"Major companies like Barnes and Noble, Sony with their Sony Play Station accounts (were compromised too)," says Brian Schott a Senior Network Engineer at Blueprint Computer Solutions in Fargo.


But keeping your social security number, banking account, or credit card information private is critical for all of us. That's likely why big business doesn't go public until they have too.


"Companies don't want to have the bad publicity of being hacked. They don't want customers to feel their data isn't secure with their company so they don't mention it," adds Schott.


So what can you do on your personal p-c to make sure you aren't hacked? The experts at say start with varying your passwords from one website to the next.


"The thing is that by using different passwords for different accounts you can prevent your account from being compromised via your bank account or your car insurance company," says Schott.


Your anti-virus protection software will have a hard time doing it's job though, without your help.


"You wanna have a daily scan that's really quick and a weekly scan that goes really deep and scans the entire computer," says Schott.


But not all updates are legit. Some are new viruses disguised as updates! That's why you want to make sure you recognize the software before you click the update button.


"Anytime you see an update pop up, whether it be a Windows update, or Java update, you always want to update Adobe Reader products to make sure their updated all the time," says Schott.


So backup your personal information offline, on an external device. Because you don't want to find out what went wrong the hard way.


"A lot of people don't even know that their computers are infected," adds Schott.


About 90 percent of the hacks on computers that do steal personal information are never even reported. The folks at Blueprint Computer Solutions say you should treat your computer like a car, getting a check up from a professional every six months to a year.


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