How To Prepare For and Prevent Cyberattacks
By Sara Tipton
The United States Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has issued an unusual warning to businesses due to the concerns occurring from the Russia/Ukraine conflict. “Every organization—large and small—must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber activity,” the agency says in its warning.
The United States Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued an unusual warning to businesses. It says they should be prepared to defend against cyberattacks originating from Russia. “Every organization—large and small—must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber activity,” the agency says in its warning.
“In the wake of continued denial of service and destructive malware attacks affecting Ukraine and other countries in the region, we are working very closely with our Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC) and international computer emergency readiness team (CERT) partners to understand and rapidly share information on these ongoing malicious cyber activities,” the CISA statement says.
This isn’t the first time our grid has been attacked and given the recent circumstances, it won’t be the last. Here is a list of the most recent cyber attacks that have occurred to date. This could leave many confused. Because how can we, as regular people, defend against a cyber attack?
According to Purple Sec, cyber-attacks are performed with malicious intent when a threat actor attempts to exploit a vulnerability or weakness in a system or individuals of an organization. These attacks threaten to steal, alter, destroy, disable or gain access to or make use of an unauthorized asset.
Cyber attacks can occur in many different ways. Cybersecurity.gov says these are the ones to be concerned about:
- Access your personal computers, mobile phones, gaming systems, and other internet- and Bluetooth-connected devices.
- Damaging your financial security, including identity theft.
- Blocking your access or deleting your personal information and accounts.
- Complicating your employment or business services.
- Impacting transportation and the power grid.
Cybersecurity.gov also says that these are the ways to protect yourself against a cyberattack:
- Limit the personal information you share online. Change privacy settings and do not use location features.
- Keep software applications and operating systems up to date.
- Create strong passwords by using upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Use a password manager and two methods of verification.
- Watch for suspicious activity that asks you to do something right away, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or needs your personal information. Think before you click. When in doubt, do NOT click.
- Protect your home and/or business using a secure Internet connection and Wi-Fi network, and change passwords regularly.
- Don’t share PINs or passwords. Use devices that use biometric scans when possible (e.g. fingerprint scanner or facial recognition).
- Check your account statements and credit reports regularly.
- Be cautious about sharing personal financial information, such as your bank account number, social security number, or credit card number. Only share personal information on secure sites that begin with https://. Do not use sites with invalid certificates. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that creates a more secure connection.
- Use antivirus and anti-malware solutions, and firewalls to block threats.
- Back up your files regularly in an encrypted file or encrypted file storage device.
- Do not click on links in texts or emails from people you don’t know. Scammers can create fake links to websites.
- Remember that the government will not call, text, or contact you via social media about owing money or receiving economic impact payments.
- Keep in mind that scammers may try to take advantage of financial fears by calling with work-from-home opportunities, debt consolidation offers, and student loan repayment plans.
Since the United States has issued a warning, preparedness is key as well. Make sure you stock up on necessary items and have the means to get water if the power grid is attacked. The Wall Street Journal has warned that the power grid is increasingly unstable and vulnerable to an attack. Since there would be little we can do to prevent a power grid cyberattack, our best option is to prepare for one. That means, get ready for a complete grid down SHTF situation.
Things will unravel fairly quickly if massive numbers of people suffer a power grid failure at the same time.
One of the most important factors, when this happens, will be the masses having access to clean water. Right now, there is a reliance on cities or municipalities to provide clean water as soon as the faucet is turned on. Without electricity, that water is going to run out very quickly. Have a backup plan and know how to store water just in case.