WVSBDC to host cyber security class

By Hannah Williams, WV Metronews

FAIRMONT — A partnership between Advantage Technology and the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC) will benefit small businesses around the state that may be struggling with keeping their assets secure.

“I’m very big on the education around cyber security,” said Chris May, an information security consultant for Advantage Technology on WAJR-Clarksburg’s “The Gary Bowden Show” last week. “My belief is that we can’t blame these major breaches on the users because we haven’t educated them properly.”

Advantage Technology and the WVSBDC teamed up to offer a workshop for small businesses in West Virginia to help them become more aware of cyber security, scams and people who may be trying to steal information and/or assets. The workshop came about after a conversation between Erica Bailey, director of WVSBDC, and May.

The workshop is from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Monday at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center in Fairmont. The workshops will be offered for free through the partnership between Advantage Technology and WVSBDC.

In previous years, corporations were the main focus for cyber criminals. But May said that focus shifted.

“Things have changed drastically in that manner, though,” May said. “Where many small businesses believed they would never be a target, now they are.”

More often than not, small businesses lack the protection from cyber criminals that larger corporations would have, making them easier targets for scams, May said.

Cyber criminals use a method of locking businesses out of their computers. When this happens, an email is given to use as a contact address to retrieve the business’ data. Once contacted, the criminals will request money before unlocking the accounts.

“Believe it or not, it’s done very professionally,” May said. “It’s absolutely a business. Not a legal business, but it is a business and it’s done in a manner that would shock most people. They want to keep it on the up and up basically, even though its illegal, so people continue to pay.”

May said one of the main problems today is the reuse of passwords. According to him, it is important to create different passwords for every account, passwords that are hard to guess. He recommends the app Dashlane to store all of those passwords. The app will even generate difficult passwords for you.

“There’s a lot of people that try to sell, I guess you would say, logos that just want to stamp a name and say it makes you secure,” he said. “What we understand is that you need to look at the entire landscape of that business to understand where the information assets live in various places and then figure out a really good path to do that and lay out a strategic plan. We can’t go at these things haphazardly anymore.”

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