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Security expert warns of cybercrime ahead of holidays

MESA, Ariz. -- The busiest shopping season of the year is about to get underway and this is the time of year that cyber criminals live for.

We'll all be out with our smart phones and laptops tapping into Wi-Fi and the hackers will be watching. Robert Sollars from Sollars Security Shield said under no circumstances should you be doing your banking out on the run.

"It's easier for somebody to grab onto a Wi-Fi signal and hijack it and get all of your information."

Sollars said it's harder to secure your information on a smartphone because you don't necessarily have the firewalls that you have at home to prevent being hacked.

"Anything that is hooked up to the Internet or that uses radio frequency waves is vulnerable to being hacked," said Sollars.

All a hacker has to do is drive by your home with the right equipment and latch onto a signal. Then they're in your home.

"You have to upgrade the firewalls on your computer and have them activated with a password that nobody is going to crack. The easiest way to make your password tricky is to combine symbols, numbers, letters, uppercase and lowercase."

While it's common to leave a computer running, it actually makes things easier for the hacker.

"Unless they have already planted a virus in the computer and then they can remotely turn it on," Sollars said.

Hackers have cracked into everything from baby monitors to home security systems, garage doors, even Internet-capable televisions trying to get a hold of personal information.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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