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Protect your computer from Sony-like cyber attacks

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"Whether you're big or small - I guess the Internet crime has no boundaries," said Nam Nguyen, the CEO of Crescent City Cybersecurity LLC.

It can be hard to understand how a home or work computer may be just as Sony's movie division computers and and Microsoft's Xbox Live service, but Nguyen said the massive attacks are possible on the smallest of scales.

"A lot of them are actually pretty similar. They use the same techniques to get into your computer," Nguyen said.

Nguyen said because the attacks can be similar, there's also a general groundwork set to prevent them. It starts with what information you choose to make public online that hackers can see.

"Maybe they might go and look at your Facebook or look at your Linked In profile and see that you've posted that you've been somewhere in the last hour, and they'll send you an email like 'hey, I saw you over here at the mall in the last hour, and I think you might have forgotten something,'" Nguyen said.

So, you open up the email, open up the attachment and boom - you're compromised with malicious software. The malware may plant something in your computer to steal your information or stop it from working altogether.

"They call that distributed denial of service attacks," Nguyen said. "That's what's happening with the Xbox and Playstation networks."

Though bigger companies handle tons of private data, Nguyen said they don't always invest in the cyber security measures that could stop an attack.

"Some companies want to make more money doing other things, and they don't pay much attention to security. I've been to a lot of companies. I've consulted for a lot of companies, and it seems that IT security- while they feel it's important - they don't get enough budget," Nguyen said.

With a black market of competing hacker groups vying to prove their abilities, Nguyen said more disruptive attacks are likely on the horizon, and with those attacks will likely come legislation. Nguyen predicted new laws regulating the way certain cyber information is passed around, which he said may be similar to HIPAA laws for patient information and financial rules for stock data.

"Our senators and our Congress might be thinking about how do we make some kind of computer standard or practiced standard to help prevent large scale attacks like these," Nguyen said.

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