By Katrina Markel Editor
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month and next week marks America’s Media Awareness Week. Librarians at Papillion Public Library want residents to know that they offer expertise and resources to help consumers of digital media make sense of what can sometimes feel like chaos.
“I feel like we have a few different concerns. One of them would be – particularly among the older generations – that they don’t always know, they don’t intuitively know how to use some of the technology tools that are so common now that many of us take it for granted,” said library director Matt Kovar.
He mentioned that Papillion Landing’s new digital library specialists are there to help first-time users navigate their devices as well as the technology available at the library.
Another challenge of information literacy is that it can be difficult for media consumers to discern the differences between credible and less credible sources. Lacey Partlow, deputy director of the library, said she observed people from all demographic groups sharing misinformation and misinformation on social media.
People also read…
“I think this year has been an eye-opener when it comes to information literacy in general,” Partlow said.
She mentioned that the library offered a program on COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic because patrons had difficulty finding reliable sources of information. Currently, the library has an election display to help members understand the overwhelming and often inaccurate political information that can be found online.
In addition to misinformation, online scams and fraud are a constant problem. Last Thursday, the library hosted a webinar with Jake Foiles, an FBI special agent who investigates cybercrime.
Foiles said that in 2019, online fraud resulted in losses of more than $18 million in the state of Nebraska alone. He said business email compromise (BEC) is one of the most common types of scams, including spoofed or hacked emails that look legitimate and can trick someone into compromising financial information. .
He also mentioned that the growing number of internet-connected devices and devices provides more opportunities for hacking. Foiles cited the tendency for people to use the same password for multiple online accounts. If this password is compromised, cybercriminals can access many of their accounts.
Foiles offered advice on how to guard against online fraud:
- Never reuse passwords. Keep track of them in a secure password database or even write them down in a notebook.
- Use multi-factor authentication, for example by texting a code to a phone each time the user logs in.
- Do not use the default username or password provided with a smart device.
- Update your software regularly.
- Carefully review website domain names and “reply” email addresses to make sure they don’t look alike.
- Don’t click on unexpected attachments or links.
- Report fraud and attempted fraud to ic3.gov or your local police department.
Papillion librarians also shared tips for identifying reliable sources of information:
- Ask yourself, “what is the source?”
- Be skeptical and use established fact-checking sites like snopes.com
- Ask: “Is this a story that reappears in multiple credible outlets?”
Kovar added that some of the online charts that help news consumers visualize where news sources fall on the political spectrum can be helpful. He suggested that we should try to be “intentional” about the information we share.
“Sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in social media and the overload of information that way, that I don’t know if we should always share it,” Kovar said.
For more information on Papillion Library programming and resources, visit butterfly.org/158/library.