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Local hackers share tips on protecting your information

Posted at: 04/07/2013 7:03 PM
Updated at: 04/07/2013 11:27 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

There is so much new technology when it comes to phones and computers, but do you ever wonder if having access to so many apps and features could possibly put your personal information in jeopardy?

According to professional hackers, we all may be in trouble.

A security conference took place this weekend where local hackers offered up some helpful tips to keep your information safe.   

For the most part, our phones have our entire life on them and we don't want strangers tapping into our information.

That's the whole point of the Security B-Sides Rochester, or BSidesROC. It was held at the Cathedral Hall inside the Rochester Auditorium Center this weekend. There is nothing else like this in the region.

It's a scary reality.

“In a lot of cases these applications can spy on you. They can get your hardware serial number, your phone number, sometimes they can get your contacts list,” said Joe Testa, BSidesROC organizer.

This may look like a group of students, but they are actually hackers who can break into your personal information.

“Right now there are some things that are really easy to do, that are really easy to hack into,” said Mark Manning, another BSidesROC organizer.

But they aren't here to use their skills maliciously like some may think. They are actually here to help the community.

“We'll see what we can break into, what we can find that's sensitive, what we can extract to show, 'okay, you need to improve this, you need to make this better,'” said Manning.

Security B-Sides Rochester Conference drew dozens of hackers this weekend. They gathered to share ideas, build relationships and exchange information with each other.

They also focused on teaching members of the community about security and how to protect their information, hoping to erase the hacker stereotype and let people see them for who they truly are.

“People who are interested in building things and understanding and learning and taking things apart and understanding how they work and putting them back together in more powerful ways,” said Testa.

Powerful lessons everyone can learn from.

“It's important to keep yourself secure, your government secure, everything secure,” said Manning.

“Security is very important but nobody cares about it until its too late,” said Testa.

Since it's so important to make sure your phone and computer are protected, News10NBC wanted to share some helpful tips directly from the conference

Some of the ways include making sure everything is protected by a password. Anything that you consider sensitive should be protected in some way, shape or form.

If you aren't sure if it's protected you should assume it is not trusted.

Another tip is to stay up to date with your computers, making sure latest patches have been installed to fix security holes.

Also, when it comes to Android devices, make sure you watch what applications you are downloading. A lot of users accept the terms, but don't pay attention to what it says. Through those apps, you can open the window to someone spying on you, getting your serial numbers, phone number or even your contacts list.

Finally, be careful about what email attachments you download.

The BSidesROC event is an annual event, but the team does have several informational meetings throughout the year.

If you would like to attend or if you just want more information about protecting yourself against a cyber attack, you can check out the BSidesROC website or twitter page.