In the wake of the war in Ukraine and the related cyber security attacks
, it’s only natural to wonder if there’s a possibility that these attacks may reach closer to home, affecting NATO nations and their citizens. While we can’t predict the likelihood of any particular country or person becoming a victim of a targeted cyberattack, it would be wise to take the necessary precautionary steps to protect ourselves from the risks.
How to stay safe
The primary takeaway here is that large-scale cyber attacks are a real, present danger. They’ve proven to be a part of modern warfare that should not be ignored. Instead, governments, companies, and citizens alike should be aware of the threat of cyber-attacks and take steps to protect themselves from being affected. So, as an individual, what precautions can you take to keep yourself and your data safe?
Unfortunately, there are many possible vulnerable spots in a variety of networks that hackers can exploit. That is why it’s important to take an approach that involves protecting yourself from as many angles as possible.
Keep your devices updated
The first step you can take is to make sure to keep the operating systems on your devices up-to-date. New OS updates often include security measures to protect against known risks, so staying on outdated OSs is a surefire way to make yourself vulnerable to hacks.
Secure your router
Next, you can focus on keeping your router and network as secure as possible. This entails the following:
- Give your wireless network a unique name, not the default that comes with it
- Change the default administrator username and password for your router
- Turn on WPA2 encryption
- Upgrade your router firmware
- Disable any remote access services
Use a VPN
It is recommended to use a virtual private network (VPN), which can mask your device’s identifying information, encrypt your data, and shield your online activity from cybercriminals. This is especially important to do if you are using a public internet network, which can be more vulnerable to attack. However, protecting yourself with a VPN is a good idea even if you are at home, as you never know when your router may have been hacked.
Don’t forget to use a VPN on your mobile devices as well, as these are no less of a target for potential cyber security attacks.
Use password safety
When it comes to passwords, the safest possible practice is to use a different password for each of your accounts and manage them with a trusted encrypted password manager. Each password should contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters and be as long as possible.
One 2021 study conducted by security firm Hive Systems found that passwords below ten characters in length can be hacked in under an hour while passwords at least 15 characters long will take upwards of 1,000 years. Keeping in mind that only 19.3% of U.S. residents reported having passwords be 15 characters or longer, it’s easy to understand how we are so vulnerable to cyber security threats.
Finally, whenever the option is available, always opt to use dual-factor authentication on your accounts.
Upgrade your protection
If you’re serious about keeping your accounts, data, and identity safe from the growing risk of large-scale cyber security attacks, it’s well worth considering using a personal security application. Cyrus is an app that’s been designed specifically to protect your online security. It can help you manage your passwords, notify you of possible security risks and leaks, alert you to suspicious transactions in your bank accounts, and protect your credit score.
Remember, personal cyber security is an individual responsibility, and it’s up to each of us to take steps that will maximize our online security and minimize the risk of malicious unauthorized access to our accounts. Cyrus is here to make it as easy to do as possible.