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In honor of Cyber Security and Awareness Month, a Cyber Security Awareness Fair (CSAF) was held at the Bronco Student Center Thursday, October 25.

In addition to learning about cybersecurity measures, students learned how to pick locks at the fair. (Ashley Rowles | The Poly Post)

The purpose of CSAF was to inform students to about cyber threats such as hackers, viruses and malware that can take their personal information and hack their accounts without their knowledge.

After the fair there was a job fair, the first in CSAF’s 14-year history, where students met with companies and learned more about pursuing careers in cybersecurity.

Many tech companies and professors spoke about ways students can protect themselves from internet hackers and gave demonstrations on such things as lock picking, which hackers are obsessed with because it helps them find vulnerabilities in a lock, similar to what they would do with a computer system.

This year’s fair theme was social credit, which refers to the idea that what people post on their social networking sites can come back to haunt them when applying to jobs.

Christopher Laasch, senior security analyst and Cyber Security and Awareness Fair director explained the concept’s importance.

“Like in the Netflix show ‘Black Mirror,’ people are ranked on their social credit and if it is below a certain number, they would not be able to get on an airplane or rent a bike.”

Laasch also stressed that the fair is important to the CPP community because of the recent phishing scams that have been sent to many students’ emails.

Troy Stubfield, a professor at Fullerton High School and one of the speakers at the event, gave examples on how hackers can access personal information and ways people can prevent such things from happening.

“Hackers get personal information from data breaches when companies get hacked,” Stubfield said. “It is best to have multiple passwords, not because it is your fault that you could get hacked, but the companies not doing their due diligence.”

Stubfield also recommended for people to have a different password for each login as an added security measure.

CPP computer science professor Mohammad Hussain gave a detailed description in his presentation about the good, the bad, and the ugly of social credit.

“If you change your address too often, it changes the credit score,” Hussain said. “If your friends have a low credit score, it will adversely affect yours.”

Hussain also mentioned that companies often sell user data, like in the case of the genetic ancestry company 23 and Me, which sold 7 million genetic data points to third party companies for $300 million.

The CSAF also awarded two students the Educational Award, which grants them a $500 stipend and the opportunity to conduct cybersecurity research and present at next year’s CSAF.

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