Crown Heights

Clarke hosts cyber security forum to combat hackers

May 21, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke says Internet users must become sophisticated in their methods to protect personal information in order to stay ahead of hackers. Photo courtesy Clarke’s office
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Hackers are becoming so sophisticated that law-abiding Internet users must become sophisticated themselves when it comes to protecting their personal information online, according to U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke.

Clarke (D-Central Brooklyn) hosted a forum discussion on cyber security in Brooklyn on Monday, discussing the growing trend of identity theft and cyber crimes with a panel of experts and business owners.

“Hackers will always want to steal your information: your credit card number, your Social Security number, the personal information you want to keep secret and that you have every right to keep secret,” Clarke said. “The hackers are sophisticated. Therefore, we must also become sophisticated in our use of Internet, in the passwords we use, in the websites we access, and the websites we choose to avoid.”

The goal of the forum was to provide information on the best methods for individuals and business owners to protect their private information on the Internet, Clarke said.

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The panelist included: Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance; William H. Efron, northeast region director of the Federal Trade Commission; Brian Rauer, executive director of the Mid-Hudson region and general counsel for the Better Business Bureau of  Metropolitan New York; and Mitch Thompson, supervisory special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Kristin Judge, director of special projects at the National Cyber Security Alliance, offered instructions on multifactor authentication, a process that requires multiple methods of verifying identity to access private information.

“From small business to consumers, every digital user needs to be aware of the available tools to better protect personal information from cyber criminals,” Judge said. “It takes less than a minute to set up an extra layer of protection like multi-factor authentication on your email, bank or social network account but an eternity to recoup your loss from a hack, so we urge all digital citizens to get two steps ahead.”

For more information on multifactor authentication, visit the National Cybersecurity Alliance at

Learning how to protect oneself online is vital in this day and age, according to Clarke. “Much of our personal information – our text messages and emails, our credit card numbers, the records of our purchases and the websites we have visited – exists online, and therefore remains susceptible to hackers who want unauthorized access to our information to steal from our bank accounts or commit identity theft,” she said.

Clarke, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said she will have the opportunity to develop policies to protect consumers and businesses from cybercriminals who want to exploit vulnerabilities.

But, she also cautioned that “individuals have a role in this effort as well” by doing their best to protect their personal information online.

In the war against hacker, increasing efforts are being made by cyber security experts, Clarke said.

“I commend the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their commitment to assisting Internet users to protect themselves, their families, and their businesses from cybercriminals,” she said.

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