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RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – Trading halted on the New York Stock Exchange today, and United Airlines, for awhile, couldn’t get any planes into the air because of a computer glitch. Trading stopped for three hours due to an undisclosed technical issue. It took about two hours for United to fix its computer problem.

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Cyber security experts at UT Dallas are urging calm. Most investors saw little impact to their ability to trade because other exchanges stayed open during the halt, and New York Stock Exchange listed stocks continued to trade on those exchanges. However, experts do say this is an important opportunity for the public to become more cyber aware.

Even for the average investor, news of the trading stop on the New York Stock Exchange left some wondering what to make of so-called “internal technical issue.”

“I was curious as to why it was happening. There’s definitely something going on in China, getting rid of some stocks. I want to know if that has anything to do with it or whether it’s just a plain computer problem,” Doug McComsey said.

“I thought it was weird. I thought, now that doesn’t sound right. I don’t know, I guess I’m suspicious,” Rose Generalovich added.

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Those suspicions weren’t helped by United Airlines technical glitch hours earlier. Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham runs the Cyber Security Research & Education Institute at UT Dallas.

“The general public is getting very concerned whenever they hear something like this that immediately their reaction is, okay this must be a cyber attack,” Dr. Thuraisingham said.

Thuraisingham insists the public shouldn’t be overly concerned about today’s problems that appeared to be quickly resolved, but she says the takeaway should be that all companies need to improve both cybersecurity and their day to day computer operations.

“It’s a wakeup call for not only improved cybersecurity software but also to develop more reliable software. So we should handle both, external threats as well as technical glitches,” Thuraisingham said.
Experts say this is a good time for individuals to improve what’s known as cyber hygiene. Make sure you change your passwords often, use complex passwords, and look into software that allows you to encrypt data for confidential information.

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