Cybersecurity awareness helps protect from identity theft

Recent data breaches of large companies sent millions of people scrambling to make sure their identity isn’t stolen.

File hosting service Dropbox announced last month that more than 68 million users had their usernames and passwords compromised in 2012. Then just two weeks ago, Yahoo revealed that over 500 million account holders had the same thing happen to them in 2014.

But why are some people are more vulnerable than others?

Hawaii Better Business Bureau CEO Greg Dunn said “we’re talking, in 2015 alone, over $15 billion in lost revenue, lost income, lost dollars on the part of around 13.1 million people who lost their identity in some fashion and were taken advantage of.”

There’s also those who use poor passwords — one of the most common ones is the actual word “password.”

In an effort to help increase cybersecurity awareness, Governor Ige has proclaimed October Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The state says the more people that are educated about the risks, the safer the internet will be for everyone.

One of the most popular ways you can protect yourself is by using something called two-factor authentication. It decreases your risk of falling victim to a compromise because criminals need access to two separate items to get to your account — for instance, your password and smartphone (to receive the PIN code).

Cyber criminals regularly “leak” login credentials from compromised websites. They then use these leaked login names, email addresses and passwords to find other accounts using the same credentials. This allows them to easily impersonate individuals online, gain access to work and personal accounts, sign online service agreements or contracts, engage in financial transactions, or change account information.

Enabling two-factor authentication makes it more difficult for criminals to use this technique, because a password would not be sufficient to gain access.

Dunn says there are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself, like using strong, unique passwords for each account. Also, monitor your credit card and bank statements for any suspicious activity.

And while experts say these data breaches won’t stop anytime soon, Dunn says being proactive against hackers is the best defense.

For tips and resources, visit

To learn how to make your online accounts as secure as possible, visit

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to

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