Russian hacking scandal brings warning from CU expert

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BOULDER, Colo. -- Someone at the Democratic National Committee might have clicked on a fake email, which allowed Russian hackers access to what was supposed to be secure information.

The Russian hacking scandal raises concerns for all of us. Just how secure are we from the latest wave of attacks is the subject of investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

On Saturday, Republicans and Democrats announced they will hold hearings to learn everything they can about Russian hacking attacks on the U.S.

Senators say they're widening the investigation into Russian intelligence and both U.S. political campaigns.

"The hack combined with their propaganda campaign was used to try to undermine the U.S. government, undermine faith in the U.S. government, undermine our economy and those are things we need to protect against,” said Joe McManus, an IT professor in the University of Colorado Interdisciplinary Telecom program.

"We're training the network defenders of the networks of the future. We're training the leaders."

McManus said Russian hackers used simple techniques to access secret DNC files by targeting human error.

"It looks like from what we see that the attackers sent a phishing email, they clicked on that and they stole the credentials," he said. "What we see over and over again is that human error is part of the cause of it that could be human error from providing credentials, to phishing attack or human error from not patching your system.”

He said we're all potential targets of foreign intelligence hackers looking for personal information on individuals to exploit.

"Your phone is full of information about you. It's got every location you've been to. It's got every Wi-Fi access point,” McManus said.

“It probably has pictures of your family. It has your email. That's why you really want to make sure your phone is secure, your email is secure.”

That means regularly changing your passwords, updating software and installing spyware protection on all of your devices.

"It's this new hacking front that we're seeing where it's not just attacking a system but attacking a system and then attacking the greater world with that information.

So if "hacking scandal" puts you to sleep think of it this way: Experts say we should all be using extra precautions as this new form of modern warfare on personal information continues to grow.