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Cyber security summit held

Longwood University’s College of Business and Economics hosted a cyber security summit Tuesday with experts to discuss the biggest challenges facing the global information technology (IT) community and what citizens can do to secure their private data from being harvested by cybercriminals.

Dr. Darrell Carpenter, director of the Center for Cyber Security at Longwood, served as a moderator for the event. Carpenter said, “When it comes to IT security, our businesses, organizations and government agencies remain outmatched by hackers, who are becoming bolder and more and more sophisticated.”

General James Cartwright, a retired four-star Marine Corps general and former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was one of several panel guests. Cartwright spoke on the military aspect of network security and how not only the military but businesses must always be on guard to hackers. “We have network warfare now, said Cartwright. “The fact that you expect me to come at you in the air but instead I come at you over the network is a real thing now. Your network needs to be on the offense as well as the defense.”

Cartwright addressed how both consumers and businesses need to make sure they know what their devices are connecting to. “Each time you open your phone or device there is a threat,” he added. He also explained that all computers and networks should be up to date with patches in place and penetration testing conducted.

Rhonda Vetere, chief information officer, Infrastructure at Santander Bank, told how botnets are becoming a threat to consumers. “A botnet is a ‘robot’ and ‘network’ that is combined,” Vetere explained. “Cybercriminals use special Trojan viruses to breach the security of several users’ computers, take control of each computer.”

Vetere says consumers may be chatting with a botnet and not even know it and begin giving out information. “Be careful who you are chatting with, it can comprise computers, the internet, and your phone.”

Vetere also addressed when traveling overseas to not take your cellphone, as people can be targeted by security threats just by using their cell phones. “If you travel overseas, use a burner phone, Don’t take your cellphone with you,” she warned.

Dave Stafford, chief information officer at PSCU, the largest credit union service organization in the U.S., reminded those in attendance that using a strong password is essential and that there is a delicate balance between the privacy of the consumer and making sure businesses and their network are encrypted. “We must think globally,” he said.