UNB event stresses urgency on cyber security

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Urgency needed on cyber security stressed at UNB event
WATCH ABOVE: UNB hosted an event on cyber security as part of its Homecoming weekend. As Global's Andrew Cromwell reports urgency on the issue was stressed – Oct 1, 2016

The University of New Brunswick hosted an important cyber security event Saturday.

Speakers spelled out the very real risks in online attacks and threats and warned people they need to do more to protect themselves.

One international expert pointed to the largest data breach in history when describing the need to respond quicker to threats.

“With Yahoo, 500 million user records were stolen,” said Dermot Williams, C.E.O. of IT security firm Threatscape. “What’s terrifying is that the breach happened two years ago and they just discovered or disclosed it this month.”

READ MORE: IBM adding 100 full-time cyber security positions in Fredericton

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Williams says the approach to cybersecurity has to change.

“You can’t just treat it like the rodent problem where you set a few traps and you effectively forget about the problem and think you have it solved,” Williams said. “Cyber security is a continuous process that should be treated something like fire safety.”

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New Brunswick is the first province to develop a comprehensive strategy on cyber security and U.N.B. is a big part of that.

“We have the university community,” said Dr. Warren McKenzie, event organizer and U.N.B. alumni. “We’re building more capacity to understand cyber security, solutions to secure our networks and our computers.”

“As computers become more and more ubiquitous, it’s going to be even more important.”

For the average users, Williams also has some advice. He says to make yourself less of a target online, don’t do things like use one password for countless systems.

“Months or years later, one of those systems gets breached and your username and password gets stolen,” Williams said. “Suddenly, just because your email user or your password on an airline website gets stolen, now people can break into your bank account, break into things that really matter — things that can really hurt you.”

Saturday’s event was held in conjunction with U.N.B.’s Homecoming weekend.

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