Community Expo Features Info Session On Dark Web

September 27, 2018
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Community Expo Features Info Session On Dark Web

PLAINS TWP. — A cautionary presentation on the dangers of the Dark Web kicked off the first Luzerne County Cares Community Expo on Wednesday at the Woodlands Inn.

The Luzerne County Division of Human Services organized the free event, which focused on issues such as addiction and the opioid epidemic, grandparents raising grandchildren, eating disorders, trauma and gender identity.

Jim Dill, an expert on internet security who fought technology-based crime as an agent with the state attorney general’s office, stressed the importance of staying safe online.

“A lot of us don’t realize the bad things that happen because of technology,” Dill said.

The prevalence of internet-connected smartphones has brought cyber-crime to a new level, he said.

He asked for a show of hands of people who did not own a smartphone. Three hands shot up in an audience that appeared to number at least 100 in the hotel’s ballroom.

Those numbers are similar among all age groups, Dill said, noting that more than 90 percent of middle school students carry smartphones.

Anyone who uses the internet, but especially those who log on via mobile devices, needs to protect sensitive personal information such as bank account and Social Security numbers, Dill said.

It is important not to store such information in a contacts list or other easily accessible file on a smartphone, he said.

That has become even more true the past few years, thanks to the rise of the Dark Web, Dill said.

The Dark Web is a shadowy region of the internet, that requires a specialized web browser to access and where stolen personal information can be sold for a high price to identity thieves, according to Dill.

“It’s just not a friendly place to go,” he said.

Dill encouraged anyone who uses a smartphone to install an antivirus and security program, which he said some people neglect on mobile devices.

It is important to keep your phone locked, and to be very cautious about clicking on unfamiliar links or visiting unfamiliar websites, he said.

The hotel halls were crowded Wednesday afternoon, as representatives of human services departments such as Children and Youth, Drug and Alcohol, Veterans Affairs and Area Agency on Aging met with the public and answered questions about services they provide.

County Manager David Pedri, in opening remarks, credited employees of the human services division and Lynn Hill, head of the division, for making the inaugural expo a success.

Pedri said he and Hill are committed to integrating human services departments, so the division can “get out of silos and run as a fleet.”

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