The risk of Russian cyberattacks on Americans has increased after the Ukraine invasion. We will bring you a guide that will help you understand how to stay safe from the risk of Russian cyberattacks.
According to Ryan Wright, a professor specializing in cybersecurity at the University of Virginia, “We are seeing more and more nation-state activity due to the conflict in Ukraine. With US sanctions setting in, it is only a matter of time until the US is targeted more directly. This may mean attacks on your personal device through ransomware but also attacks the infrastructure such as your Internet access or even the power grid.”
The Russian hackers have been known for the numerous cyberattacks on American organizations in the past from SolarWinds to the Colonial Pipeline attacks. Saryu Nayyar, CEO of security firm Gurucul said Russia may attempt to disrupt financial systems and critical infrastructures such as the power grid or oil production to put pressure on the US to relent on sanctions.
According to her, they will not target most Americans individually, though any cyberattack can have repercussions on individuals.
According to Kevin Novak, managing director of security firm Breakwater Solutions, with technology delivering many of our basic needs, the repercussions can be wide-ranging. From supply shortages at your local grocery store to power outages.
Novak added, “So while at the moment I do not believe that private US citizens should cower in fear over Russia’s capability of adversely impacting them via cyberattacks, it is reasonable to expect that their lives will be impacted in some ways by cyber retaliatory actions that result from US sanctions and other political maneuverings.”
Americans should review and strengthen their cyber defenses right away, Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility, said Eman El-Sheikh, associate vice president of the University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity.
Warns Chris Olson, CEO of The Media Trust, a digital safety platform said, “Consumers should be aware that cyber actors can target them through almost any website or mobile application.”
While professor Doug Jacobson, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Iowa State University has been advising friends – Protect yourself by practicing cyber hygiene.
How to stay safe from the risk of Russian cyberattacks after Ukraine Invasion?
Turn On Multi-Factor authentication
Turn On Multi-Factor authentication for all your accounts such as email, social media, shopping, financial services for extra protection. It makes sure you will be asked to confirm your identity through a text message, email, code, fingerprint, or Face ID.
Update everything from firmware, antivirus and malware software, operating systems, and applications including your browsers. Also update all your devices such as mobile phones, tablets, desktop computers, and laptops. Turn on automatic updates, too.
Don’t fall victim to phishing campaigns: click or tap links, attachments, or download files wisely. Things may look innocent but can be used to steal your passwords, social security number, credit card number, and other sensitive information or to run malicious software known as malware.
Use strong, unique passwords
Use strong, unique passwords, use a password manager to generate strong and unique passwords. This will go a long way in protecting your accounts.
Don’t fall victim to rumors
Don’t engage in unwanted information that is not reliable and fake. Ensure the information is trustworthy and reliable before you believe it and make it viral in your community. According to Jessica Beyer, principal research scientist, and lecturer at the University of Washington, “All sides in any conflict will also be working to use information streams to their advantage. People should be very cautious about the information they share. ” So beware of bad actors trying to spread fear and doubt.
Back up all your files
Back up all your files as it may be a lifesaver in case the hackers ever manage to hack into your system. Better stay safe than regret.
Use a VPN on the public internet
A VPN can prove to be helpful on a public internet as it will not only encrypt your data but will provide protection between your devices and the internet by hiding your IP address. Make sure your home Wi-Fi is password protected and secure as it will keep you safe from people stealing your personal information and attacking your devices.
Prepare for the worse
Gear yourself for the worse in case you are hit by a cyberattack. According to security expert, Jacobson “Worry about cybersecurity the way you do mother nature.”
He added, “Where the danger truly comes from is fear,” said Dave Cundiff, vice president of cybersecurity firm Cyvatar.ai. “The fear of the unknown is what gives cyberattacks their greatest power.”
Just be careful you don’t go overboard, as was the case after the Colonial Pipeline attack last year, leading to people filling their tanks and jerrycans.