BY MIRIAM LANDRU – Think before you tweet, don’t update your Four Square account regularly, and delete your credit card numbers off internet order forms.

That was the advice offered by experts at an informational briefing at the State Capitol on Tuesday sponsored by the State House of Representatives. These experts took several hours yesterday to talk about the impacts of cyber related crimes on victims and what citizens can take to be protected.

“Cybercrimes” are defined as any crime that can be committed by using a computer.  According to the House GOP press release, “cybercrimes include harassment, financial fraud, identity fraud and theft, stalking, bullying, and luring underage minors via the internet.”

In Hawaii, there are 200 cases involving Hawaii victims or Hawaii suspects per year. Very few of these cases are ever prosecuted, and rarely is anyone convicted. Only 1 in 7 victims of cybercrimes report the crime.

Cybercrimes can be minor in nature, such as small time credit card fraud or it can be conceivably catastrophic.

“The potential for the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyber attack that cripples our power systems, our grid, our security systems, and our financial systems. As a law enforcement official I must know what the threats are,” said Chief Gary Yabuta, Maui County Police Department. He continued, “The Department of Defense and the US Navy are spearheading the Cyber Security Force to combat cyber warfare. I am so proud we have a US military that is not only defending us physically, but virtually as well.”

In order for people to protect themselves from cyber criminals, Americans should post less personal information on line.

And of course, “It’s very hard to remain undercover on an island,” said Detective Christopher Duque, President of Cyber Safety. “Some of that truthful information you have on the internet can hurt you, your birthday, social security number, your  pin number for the ATM machine,” he said.

“We need to protect ourselves from this enemy and our ignorance cannot be used as an excuse,” said Chief Yabuta.

While the cybercrime conference, which was sponsored in part by Republicans as Rep. Kymberly Marcos Pine and Rep. George Fointaine, was going on, a former staffer of Pine sent out a flier to lawmakers’ faxes attacking Pine and launching a new web site calling her a “crook.” The fax contained the phone number of Eric Ryan, who worked for Pine and now works as an aide to City Council Member Tom Berg. Ryan has been under investigation by the city prosecutor’s office for hacking.

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