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Top hacker details how to avoid cybercrime

(MoneyWatch) With the National Republican Convention fast approaching at the end of August, security expert and ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick has been working with security firm KnowBe4 to advise the expected 45,000 attendees about how to protect themselves from cyber-attack.

Mitnick and KnowBe4 say that this is critical due to the threats facing the convention; as many as 15,000 protesters are expected to show up at the event.

To ensure computer security at the convention, Mitnick has the following recommendations (which are actually commonsense best practices for any public use of your laptop, tablet, or smartphone). So even if you have no plans to attend the RNC, read on:

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  • When using public kiosks to check email, make sure no one is watching when you enter your login information; this is an easy way for someone to steal credentials. If possible, put your back to the wall or block the screen.
  • Public kiosks are hacking targets, and might be infected with malware that records keystrokes. Do not log into bank accounts or other confidential websites from shared computers, and don't type anything that you wouldn't want to see copied and reproduced elsewhere.
  • Never, ever conduct financial transactions -- including online banking or purchases -- over a wireless network. Your account information or credit card data can easily be compromised.
  • Exercise caution when connecting to a wireless network. Make sure you are logging into a legitimate event-sponsored network, and not a Wi-Fi network that has a similar name and is merely designed to look like an official network.
  • Turn off the Bluetooth feature on your mobile devices when you're not using it. Hackers might be able to use Bluetooth to access your laptop, tablets, and mobile phones.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Alan Cleaver

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