KOMU 8 News tests security for websites that ask for personal info

2 years 11 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, December 23 2014 Dec 23, 2014 Tuesday, December 23, 2014 8:26:00 PM CST December 23, 2014 in News
By: Shannon O'Brien, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Many people now pay bills of some sort online. Scammers often find ways to get personal information entered into bill-paying sites.

KOMU 8 tested 20 local mid-Missouri websites, including banks, utility companies, Internet and television providers, along with city, county and state websites where residents can pay for anything from taxes to parking tickets.

The tests were run using a free online service, Qualys SSL Labs, which gives each website a letter grade like in school. Most sites tested got A's, some B's and only a handful of C's. No site tested received a failing grade.

Brandon Hough, information security officer at the University of Missouri, said vulnerabilities within the last year have caused companies to reassess their site's security.

"I think, in general, anybody that is paying attention to security at all has gone in, in the last year here and made sure that things are up-to-date," Hough said.

KOMU 8 News found a commonality within the sites that received C's. All four were given to Internet and television providers including CenturyLink, Charter, Dish Network and Socket. Hough said users should hesitate before entering personal information into sites that receive C's or worse.

Greg Baker, market development manager at CenturyLink, said the company has administrative and technical controls to safeguard against online security vulnerabilities.

"We use secure technologies to transfer sensitive information and comply with a variety of industry standards, and federal and state laws regarding the protection of customer information," Baker said.

Baker said the websites are monitored 24-7 with different technologies as well as people. 

Customers often enter some basic information into most of the sites tested, such as name, address and phone numbers for a change of address or parking tickets. To apply for online banking though, customers potentially might also enter more sensitive information, such as a social security or account number.

While Hough said it's a personal choice whether or not to enter personal information online, there are some things to use caution on.

"Make sure you're looking for the padlock up at the 'http' link where the address is, and then if that padlock doesn't exist, for sure, don't enter your private information into that website," Hough said.

If the padlock does exist (as in the image below), you can use websites like Qualys SSL Labs to further check the security of said site.

With Internet use in general,Hough said he encourages people to keep an eye out for warnings from Internet browsers that tell users the website they're trying to go to is not secure.

Another issue Hough said he has seen lately is something called phishing. It's when users receive an email asking them to click on a link and enter their private information. The problem is the link is not what users are led to believe it is.

"It's better to go to the actual website, and type the link in directly so that you know that you're going to that company's website," Hough said.

Free online programs like Qualys SSL Labs are mainly used for consumers. Companies use more complicated systems to ensure security.

 

 

More News

Grid
List
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — A Missouri woman has been charged in the drowning death of her 6-month-old son. The... More >>
29 minutes ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:54:03 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — An Illinois man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in the fatal shooting of... More >>
39 minutes ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:43:49 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Janesville police say the victim of a homicide was stabbed at least 30 times. ... More >>
46 minutes ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:37:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Fire crews have found a woman dead while putting out a fire in a suburban... More >>
55 minutes ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:28:02 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Board of Adjustment will hear from the public Tuesday morning about issuing a conditional... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 6:42:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - It's a topic that many people shy away from, but one man came to Columbia to talk about... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 8:25:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Terron Wings says he considers himself blessed he can now call himself an “American taxpayer.” Wings, 37,... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 7:27:27 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- A Special Olympics Missouri plan nearly a decade in the making could become a reality as soon as... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 7:12:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in Sports
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education voted to approve ballot language for a $30 million bond issue Monday night... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 7:01:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – High winds and dry conditions warranted additional safety precautions for fire safety Monday in central Missouri. The... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 6:04:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
RENICK – The Beamer family was on the porch of their Randolph County home at the beginning of the storm... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 5:21:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
ROCHEPORT - Consolidated Water issued a boil order advisory for parts of Howard County Monday due to a water main... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 4:29:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
ORONOGO (AP) — Homeowners living near a gun range in southwest Missouri are concerned about stray bullets that have been... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 3:32:30 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - When someone goes to the doctor for a checkup, they might expect the regular look at their eyes,... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 3:15:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri is using mobile pantries to provide food to areas that... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 3:00:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's attorney general is weighing whether to appoint a special investigator to check into use of... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 2:45:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - One MU Nursing School program has reduced the number of nursing home patients from hospitalization by nearly 50... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 2:24:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- The Missouri Attorney General's office is forming an advisory board to develop the first statewide program in Missouri that... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 12:22:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 27°
11am 28°
12pm 31°
1pm 33°
2pm 38°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

10:00a
Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
10:00a
Jerry Springer
11:00a
Jerry Springer
12:00p
Jerry Springer

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
8:00p
Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas
9:00p
Chicago Med
7:00p
Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown 2017
8:00p
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld