Cyber security expert weighs in on potential concerns for 2020 census

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FLINT (WJRT) (03/10/2020) -- It is nearing that time when millions of Americans will complete the 2020 census. For the first time, people will have the option of filling out the census online, which is raising some concerns over cyber security and the potential for hackers to get a hold of personal information.

"Anything online is susceptible," said Baker College of Flint cyber security expert and instructor Doug Witten.

He doesn't say that this year's Census is going to be compromised, but he wants people to be aware that the potential exists.

"Just because we're behind specific firewalls and we've done all of our hardening stuff of the systems and worked so hard to keep them out, at some point someone's going to be smart enough to figure out a way," he said.

Witten said hackers are after one thing, and that is your personal information, which is found in census data.

"As far as the census goes, there's always a chance for manipulation."

But completing the census doesn't have to be done online, it can also be done via phone. Keep in mind the Census Bureau will never ask for a social security number or bank and credit card information.

Witten recommends sticking to what has worked in the past.

"I think the old fashioned way is the still the best. You filling it out, you sending it in, rather than having somebody do it for you."

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