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Lecture series unlocks cybersecurity
Talk is second of eight
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Forsyth County News

This year’s Great Decisions lecture series is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday nights at the Cumming library branch, 585 Dahlonega Road.

The remaining topics include:

• Feb. 9: Promoting democracy with Jonathan Miner, assistant professor of political science

• Feb. 16: Exit from Afghanistan and Iraq with Chris Jespersen, dean of the arts and letters school

• Feb. 23: Indonesia with J.T. Kwon, assistant professor of political science

• March 1: Mexico with Tamara Spike, associate professor of history

• March 8: State of the oceans with Nancy Dalman, chair of the biology department

• March 15: Energy geopolitics with Anna Rulska, assistant professor of political science

Updating that antivirus software on a computer may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cybersecurity.

Just ask Bryson Payne, chief information officer and tenured professor of computer science and information systems at North Georgia College and State University.

Payne gave a presentation on cybersecurity Thursday night as part of the school’s Great Decisions lecture series at the Cumming branch of the Forsyth County Public Library.

Payne’s presentation covered personal, business, national and world cybersecurity.

“Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. still,” Payne said. “According to the [Federal Trade Commission] about 9.9 million incidents of identity theft occur each year. That means 19 people fall victim to identity theft in some form every minute.”

Barbara Young was one of many who came to hear Payne speak. She said she’s interested in the entire Great Decisions program and supports it.

“I think it’s a valuable educational tool for the community,” she said. “And cybersecurity is something that affects every single one of us.

“The more we know about it, the better we deal with it.”

Payne noted that identity theft costs the victim an estimated $500 and about 30 hours of time to resolve. 

About 1 percent of identity theft cases can take from 400 to 1,200 hours of time to track down and fix.

On a global scale, Payne said statistics show that as of 2011, 44 percent of the world’s Internet users are in Asia, while just 24 percent of Asians have Internet access.

“If everybody in Asia were to get on the Internet, there would be four times as many people,” he said. “We all of a sudden shrink to about 20 percent in the developed world.”

In addition, Payne said that while English has historically been the operating system language of the Internet, in five years more content could exist in Chinese than English.

He said there are several ways to improve cybersecurity, including being aware of e-mail scams, purchasing identity theft insurance, using difficult passwords and encouraging young people to go into Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics, or STEM, fields.

Payne fielded questions from the audience on a variety of topics including encryption, improving browser security, operating systems, ways of reporting identity theft and data storage.

The Great Decisions series will continue at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 with a presentation on promoting democracy by Jonathan Minor, assistant professor of political science.