Nearly 3 million Americans suffered from data theft and other cybercrimes last year. Leading Ohio online university urges these essential steps to keep from being another victim.
COLUMBUS, OH – According to a new report by the Identity Theft Resource Center, data compromises resulting from cybercrime and other online scams in the U.S. reached record-breaking proportions in 2021, affecting at least 294 million people nationwide. Such crimes were nearly 25 percent higher than the previous record set in 2017 and 83 percent of reported breaches involved the theft of sensitive personal data.
“Numbers like these pose an urgent warning call for all Americans to be extra vigilant in protecting their personal information online,” says Dr. Andy Igonor, academic program director and associate dean of Western Governors University’s College of Information Technology.
“Because we serve thousands of Ohio students who are competing their college degrees exclusively through online learning, WGU Ohio is stepping up efforts to encourage our students to take five essential steps to protect their personal information. These are five indispensable steps we are happy to share with anyone – consumers and business alike – who should be taking action to protect their personal information.”
Five Crucial Steps for Staying Safe from Cybercrime
- Use strong passwords, preferably long passwords, with nothing related to your name or personal information and using a combination of Upper case and other characters like $, # or @.
- When creating passwords, avoid using letters that follow each other on the keyboard, such as john123, and also avoid using the same characters multiple times such as. john555.
- Enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication. This allows your account to send numbers to your phone for authentication.
- Use updated antivirus software on your computer.
- Do not open suspicious emails, especially when any comes with an attachment. Do not open the attachment as it may be a virus.
Western Governors University was established in 1997 by a partnership of state governors to offer students, particularly adult learners, the chance to go to college while working and caring for their families. In 2018, Ohio became the 27th state to join the WGU partnership, offering a new pathway for Ohioans to seek careers in such in-demand careers as health care and nursing, business, teaching, and information technology. WGU Ohio has nearly 1,000 students enrolled in its Information Technology bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.