This past week, the U.S. Government issued a warning about possible cyberattacks from Russia as tensions between that country and Ukraine continue to escalate. Russia is notorious for performing cyber attacks throughout the world. In fact, Russia has some of the best-known hackers in the world! Notice I said, “known”. A good hacker everyone knows about, a GREAT hacker no one knows about. With my experience with Homeland Security, let me just say, we have some GREAT unknown hackers on our team. It’s a new-age military tactic, which can be very effective. We want to briefly walk you through what a cyberattack is and if you should worry about a cyberattack happening, and what you can do to protect yourself from a cyberattack.
What Is A Cyberattack?
Cyber attacks work by exploiting vulnerabilities in computer networks or individual computer systems. Hackers can use various methods to gain access to these systems, including viruses, worms, and Trojans. Once they have access, they can steal sensitive data or damage the system’s software or hardware. You can see why a successful cyberattack can prove useful in a military situation. Cyber attacks are a growing threat to businesses and individuals alike. Even governments are at major risk.
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Should You Worry About A Cyberattack?
Yes, you should worry about a cyber attack! Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common and can cause a lot of damage. They can destroy data, disrupt business operations, access personal data, access financial records, and even put people’s safety at risk. Businesses need to be especially careful, as they are a prime target for cyber attacks. But individuals are also at risk as well and should take steps to protect themselves online.
The U.S. most likely will not be the target of a cyber attack from Russia, but it could set off a chain of events that could potentially increase the risk of a cyberattack on your data. Let us paint a couple of scenarios in which this could likely happen. First, cyberattacks aren’t always performed in a controlled fashion. They can grow out of control and affect other areas. Suppose Russia launches one on Ukraine. There is no guarantee those attacks will stay In Ukraine. Bordering networks could potentially be at risk. If you live in the U.S., this scenario is most likely not going to happen. But…we’re seeing the U.S. get involved with sanctions that will put economic pressure on Russia, so it would not be a surprise to anyone if Russia retaliated in a non-violent manner in the form of a cyberattack.
There are outside forces at work in the cyber world as well that governments have almost NO control over. For example, the hacking collective Anonymous just this week announced a “cyberwar” against Russia and Putin. There have been reports that they have been slightly successful as some of the propaganda arms of the Russian media have experienced outages and been taken down. Anonymous is no joke. But here’s the thing, Russian counterparts can do the same thing. In fact, in a digital retaliation move, a Russian ransomware group threatened any country and group that targets Moscow. This ransomware gang is responsible for some hall-of-fame-level cyberattacks too. They nearly crippled the Ireland health system in May 2021. This dangerous group of cyber thugs is very capable of launching a cyberattack on the U.S., especially considering that President Joe Biden has already been presented with a plan on how to carry out a massive cyberattack against Russia.
Furthermore, who knows the level of crazy we could see coming out of a desperate Russia. Most likely those attacks are going to be in areas that would affect the U.S. economy: large companies, government departments and agencies, and financial institutions. Even though most cyber security experts are saying we have a low risk of an attack, I can’t think of a better time than now to take immediate action to protect yourself from a cyberattack. These are all reasons why you need to take special precautions now.
How Do I Protect Myself From A Cyberattack?
Okay…so hopefully you are not freaked out about what’s going on in the world from what we mentioned above. It’s okay to be concerned and cautious. We don’t mean to scare or entice fear either, but we are passionate about you being protected from a cyber attack. There are a lot of people with emergency food storage, bug-out bags, and all of that stuff. Quite frankly…protecting yourself from a cyberattack is more practical because you are more likely to experience digital attacks than having complete infrastructures in the country shut down. That’s a fact.
So…what are you supposed to do? Here are several things you need to do right now to protect yourself from a cyberattack:
- The best way to protect yourself against cyberattacks is to keep your computer systems up-to-date with the latest security patches.
- Be uber careful about opening emails or attachments from unknown sources. As of now, if I’m not expecting an email from a sender, I’m going to be very cautious about opening it. In fact, if I don’t know you…I’m not opening that email.
- Same thing with phone calls and text messages from unknown numbers. If you’re not on my contact list, it’s going to be hard to contact me for the next little bit.
- You should also change your passwords and use very strong passwords. Avoid the “Password1234” laziness type ones as well.
- Use anti-virus software to help protect your networks and devices.
- Update your browsers. If you have a browser installed on your device and you don’t ever use it, uninstall it.
- Get a VPN as they are known to protect you from most cyberattacks, especially ones targeting your IP address. I’d go with Firewalla’s Purple as it’s easy to set up, easy to use, and effective.
- Be super careful about what links and websites you click on and what files, extensions, and applications you download.
- Update your router’s firmware. If you have a TV, update your TV’s software.
- Your phone is also a major weak spot. Where applicable with apps (banking and shopping especially), give your security a boost and enable two-factor authentication.
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Take Action Now To Protect Yourself And Your Data From A Cyberattack!
Are you taking the necessary steps to protect yourself from a cyberattack? A cyberattack can happen to anyone and it’s important to be prepared. A cyberattack can be devastating. Can really mess up your life. Your personal information, your company’s data, your financial security, and even the nation’s infrastructure can be compromised in a cyberattack. If you take the necessary precautions now, you can help protect yourself from a potentially devastating attack. Remember, cybercriminals are opportunists and flippin’ smart. They will go after the easiest targets possible. The best way to protect yourself is to have good cybersecurity hygiene. Follow what we’ve outlined above. This includes using strong passwords, updating software regularly, and being aware of phishing schemes. You should also back up your data frequently so you will have copies if your computer is ever hacked. Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility and we all need to do our part to stay safe. Have a plan of attack to protect yourself from an attack.
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