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Defending America: Facing off with phishing and data miners


AUGUSTA (WFXG) – You may think it’s just a harmless quiz on Facebook, but it could end up being a portal into your world that criminals can easily access. Phishing can put your digital footprint into a funk, and that’s putting it mildly. 

At the Georgia Cyber Center, small businesses are taking full advantage of big opportunities to collaborate and grow.

“We bring our own products and services in,” said Zachary Hodges, Chief Operations Officer for Cyber Security Solutions at the Georgia Cyber Center. “So, we’ve developed our own products to ensure that customers can operate in.”

Hodges is the COO and vice president for one of those businesses: Cyber Security Solutions. His group is based out of Tampa, Fla., and recently came to Augusta. They have five years of experience helping small- and medium-sized businesses.

“So, we educate staff members,” said Hodges. “The training piece is very important to make sure that the staff understands what kind of vulnerabilities there are.”

One of the big ones is phishing. It’s not exactly like the that involves a rod and bait, but hackers can mine for your data. Then they’ll use things like where you went to college or other security questions your bank may ask you against you.

In other words, that supposedly mundane online quiz you took and posted to your Facebook page can make you a sitting duck for those data miners.

“People can learn your personality or certain things about your groups of friends and their personalities, where you get more of a spearfishing attack than just a phishing attack,” said Hodges.

That’s how the hackers can make the email look like it’s really intended for you from someone you know. 

“The hacker’s job is to make it look exactly like the environment you’re used to operating in,” said Hodges.

It’s why Hodges’ group employs ethical hackers, to help seek out those minute differences.

“Basically, those ethical hackers, they have to go in, they try to infiltrate our own system and they also try to infiltrate our customers’ systems so that we can fix them before the real world gets to them,” he explained.

It’s all done to stay one step ahead of those criminal minds to keep you protected.

“Some of the best cops have to think like criminals think. You can’t catch criminals every time if you’re always thinking like a cop,” said Hodges. “Sometimes you have to put yourself in their shoes.”

Copyright 2020 WFXG. All rights reserved.


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