Winnebago County Sees Hacking Attempt

By: Lauren Kravets
By: Lauren Kravets

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) – We’re living in a cyber-world and internet crimes like hacking, seem to be happening more often. In fact, Winnebago County almost became a victim.

We can’t seem to get away from hacking, from the debit and credit card information stolen from target, to CNN’s social media accounts being hacked and most recently, email accounts stolen from Yahoo.

Winnebago County almost became another victim last month. Hacking addresses registered to Poland tried to use one of the county health department’s time keeping services. They did not access any personal information.

“Often, hackers have objectives like denial of service, attack other servers, spam,” said Chief Information Officer Gus Gentner.

Winnebago County Chairman Scott Christiansen says he’s thankful they were able to catch the potential attack.

“Our IT department does a great job of monitoring this very closely because we do have from court records to health records, you name it, HR functions,” said Christiansen.
The average person is also at risk of being hacked, but there are precautions we can take, like using a passphrase that’s 12 characters long with capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. An example might be something like ‘WIFR23news!!’ but the more complex, the better.

A 12 character complex passphrase, the mathematics would take 198,000 years to hack it whereas a 1, 2, 3, or 4 character passphrase can be hacked in a matter of moments.

Here are a few other strategies to help avoid being hacked:

- We should change our passwords or passphrases at least once a year

- We should have different passwords for different accounts, for example your email and bank account log-ins should be different.

- We should also have security for our smartphones, just like we would have anti-virus software for our computers

- A 12-character password with numbers and symbols

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