10 Ways to Harden Yourself Against Cyberattacks
Russia's cyber response may have already begun. Here's how to protect yourself.
Russia may have already begun a wave of cyberattacks as retribution for sanctions. Now is the time to harden yourself against them.
When many people think of cyberattacks, they think of a large-scale calamity, like a shutdown of the power grid. But cyberattacks can range from minor annoyances (cloud services being unavailable for hours or days), to major headaches (private information being compromised, your computer being taken over by a hacker), all the way to, yes, major calamities like grid failure.
Some don’t take the possibility of a cyberattack seriously, assuming it would be an inconvenience at worst, but good cyberattack prep starts by making sure you have your fundamentals in place, followed by securing your online accounts and data as much as possible. Losing your family photos wouldn’t be as bad as facing starvation, but it would be heartbreaking. Likewise, if you have important business documents in the cloud and can’t access them, that could be a major problem.
It’s often said that users can’t do much against cyberattacks because they happen at such a high level that only corporations and governments can do much about them. But individuals are often the vector for cyberattacks: accidentally installing malware, falling for social engineering schemes, clicking on a phishing link, or bringing an infected file into the office. CISA has published a set of steps companies can take to protect against cyberattacks, but you can implement many of them on your own systems. And you can also take steps to reduce your online dependency loops.
Have Your Fundamentals Together
A major cyberattack could target the power grid, as well as other utilities. In early 2021, someone hacked into a Florida water treatment plant and tried to raise sodium hydroxide (aka drain cleaner, also used for water treatment) to dangerous levels.
That’s why you need to have your preparedness fundamentals together, like food and water storage and a power outage kit. You also want to have a good amount of cash on hand in case banks and ATMs are taken offline. That’s going to depend on your budget, comfort level, and home security, but a good rule of thumb is enough to pay one month’s worth of bills and necessities.
A lot of people stock up on cryptocurrency as a prep, and it has its place, but it’s useless without power and a functional Internet. Gold and silver are other popular prepper currencies, but they can be hard to trade with. Cash is king. A $100 bill is about the only thing that you could hand to anybody in this world and instantly make their day better.
Let’s move on to how to avoid becoming a victim of cyberattacks.
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