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University of Maryland University College Professor Balakrishnan Dasarathy, chair of UMUC’s Cybersecurity & Information Assurance Program, lent his expertise to the Oct. 17 article “2018’s States Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft & Fraud,” written by financial writer Adam McCann for the personal-finance website, WalletHub.

In the article’s “Ask the Experts” section, Dasarathy discusses how to safeguard personal information from cybercriminals and provides his perspective on a variety of related questions, including whether:

  • The explosion of social media plays a role in facilitating cybercrime
  • Authorities should test credit bureaus for security breaches on a regular basis
  • The federal government should create a uniform process for assisting identity-theft victims in restoring their name
The article cites the most recent Identity Theft Resource Center’s “Data Breach Report” figures showing that between January 2005 and today, nearly 9,400 data breaches have occurred—accounting for more than 1.1 billion compromised records.

WalletHub developed its 2018 “States Most Vulnerable” rankings by comparing data from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., on identity-theft complaints per capita, the average loss-amount due to fraud, and eight other criteria to determine who is likely to have the greatest exposure to cyber theft and fraud. While, for certain, geography plays a role, Dasarathy and other experts agree that practicing good cyber hygiene wherever you reside—following well-documented best practices for securing personal data—goes a long way in keeping you safe online.

Find out how your state fared in the WalletHub study and read Dasarathy’s advice for protecting your personal information.