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It's unclear how many North Dakotans were affected by the Equifax data breach. North Dakota Chief Information Security Officer Sean Wiese said people concerned about security of their private data should get “back to the basics” on information security. Here are his Top 3 tips to keep information secure.

• Update all apps and software

It’s important to keep all software on a device as up to date as possible, as software companies will release updates to fix or “patch” up vulnerabilities in their software. Hackers will utilize any vulnerabilities to steal private data. “If you don’t keep those up to date, that’s something the hackers have to their advantage,” Wiese said.

• Use anti-virus software

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Anti-virus or anti-malware software is designed to look for known viruses in email attachments. “It’s like adding an extra layer of protection,” Wiese said.

• Understand how hackers work

“Most often, data breaches start with some type of phishing email,” Wiese said. Hackers will oftentimes have some information about a person but not enough to inflict damage. They’ll use the information available to convince targets to willingly give up sensitive data, such as usernames and passwords. “They’ll have enough information to make it sound convincing, then they’ll see what else they can get out of you,” Wiese said.

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Reach Bilal Suleiman at 701-250-8261 or Bilal.Suleiman@bismarcktribune.com

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