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Data Privacy Day event emphasizes cyber safety

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

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Marquette’s Center for Cyber Security Awareness and Cyber Defense recognized Data Privacy Day last Saturday and hosted a talk stressing the importance of data privacy Monday.

The talk was hosted by Drew Williams, a graduate student in the College of Arts & Sciences, and was called “Data Privacy and You.” Williams talked about what private data is, why one should prioritize it and various ways to protect it.

“You hear what will happen if you don’t look into privacy concerns, but a lot of the time when you sit down to enact some of these practices, it’s difficult because there is so much to do, like changing all of your email addresses or making sure each account has its own unique password,” she said.

Williams mentioned how online streaming services, such as Twitch.tv, can be a high source of risk for data privacy issues. She mentioned instances where Twitch streamers have been “swatted,” which is when a hacker gains access to users’ personal information and plays a prank by calling a SWAT team to their house.

Thomas Kaczmarek, the director of the Center for Cyber Security Awareness and Cyber Defense, stressed how easy it is for virtually anyone to gain access to private data.

“Most people are not aware that anyone can go out and buy (hacking) software and install it and try and hack into other people’s computers,” Kaczmarek said. “You don’t have to be a genius to be a hacker anymore because you can buy the tools,” he said.

Additionally, Williams and the center are looking to form a Marquette Cyber Security Club, which will work to raise awareness for data privacy.

“There (are) lots of competitions for cyber security and they involve teams working together to either solve some sort of puzzle or get into a site,” she said. “I think that giving people the chance to try out cyber security-related activities might help people pick cyber security as a field they want to get into.”

Debbie Perouli, an assistant professor in mathematics, statistics and computer science, believes the club can be beneficial.

“One of the reasons I would like to have the cyber security club active is because there are many companies in the Milwaukee area that have a lot of interests and needs in cyber security and they are looking for people to hire,” she said.

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