Neither users nor nonusers safe from online crime

This Jan. 7, 2016, file photo shows a laptop that uses Intel's chip technology, at the Intel booth during CES International in Las Vegas. Technology companies are scrambling to fix serious security flaws affecting computer processors built by Intel and other chipmakers and found in many of the world's personal computers and smartphones. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

L’ANSE — It doesn’t matter how strong your personal cybersecurity is when hackers can steal your personal information from businesses and other public entities on the internet.

Among the many such places targeted by identity thieves and vandals are hospitals.

Taylor Makela, Information Technology manager at Baraga County Memorial Hospital (BCMH) said education and backing up records in separate places are essential in avoiding cyber scams.

Last week, Makela led a cybersecurity “Lunch and Learn,” where he gave attendees information on how to avoid scams, put myths to rest and answered many questions.

One of those myths is that scams are personal attacks on people.

“Everyone has the idea that there’s one person who’s personally attacking them, and that’s not true. There’s usually a massive attack,” said Makela.

Makela said there have been attacks on many hospitals and police stations. Last year an Indiana hospital paid $50,000 to get back patient records that were held for ransom.

He said one way BCMH secures itself is through education.

“Education is the most important thing. If there’s a popular scam we educate the staff and employees,” said Makela.

BCMH IT staff tries to make sure the entire hospital’s staff is aware of the what the callers might ask about or what the emails might say.

If the staff members are aware, they’re less likely to fall for scams. Even if one might, backing-up information is the primary defense.

He recommends multiple backups and a good form of malware.

“If you back up your files, you won’t have to worry,” he said. “It’s not gonna cost you anything but backup time.”

He also discussed phishing scams, which are one of the most popular scams, and passwords. He recommended longer passwords with less frequent changing, instead of the regularly changing.

Makela said a popular scam at the moment is vacation scams. People might get calls telling them they won some type of vacation.

Many people are often paranoid about the phone and phishing scams, but “just because you respond doesn’t mean you’re automatically attacked,” said Makela.

He said if a person does feel they have been compromised, they should immediately call a person in technology. The person should also contact their bank if the information was compromised.