Our communities, our nation and the world have seen the headlines regarding pivotal events happening in Ukraine. As we watch these critical events unfold, there is growing concern in the United States and around the globe about the possibility of malicious cyber attacks, not just targeting Ukraine, but its allies as well.
There are steps you can take right now to protect yourself.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is our nation’s cyber defense agency, leading efforts to understand, manage and reduce cyber risk in the United States. The agency is offering the following safeguards, to help protect you from falling victim to a cyber attack.
Steps Americans Can Take to Protect Themselves
- Implement multi-factor authentication on your accounts. A password isn’t enough to keep you safe online. By implementing a second layer of identification, like a confirmation text message or email, a code from an authentication app, a fingerprint or Face ID, or best yet, a FIDO key, you’re giving your bank, email provider, or any other site you’re logging into the confidence that it really is you. Multi-factor authentication can make you 99% less likely to get hacked. So, enable multi-factor authentication on your email, social media, online shopping, financial services accounts. And don’t forget your gaming and streaming entertainment services!
- Update your software. In fact, turn on automatic updates. Bad actors will exploit flaws in the system. Update the operating system on your mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. And update your applications – especially the web browsers – on all your devices too. Leverage automatic updates for all devices, applications, and operating systems.
- Think before you click. More than 90% of successful cyber attacks start with a phishing email. A phishing scheme is when a link or webpage looks legitimate, but it’s a trick designed by bad actors to have you reveal your passwords, social security number, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information. Once they have that information, they can use it on legitimate sites. And they may try to get you to run malicious software, also known as malware. If it’s a link you don’t recognize, trust your instincts, and think before you click.
- Use strong passwords, and ideally a password manager to generate and store unique passwords. Our world is increasingly digital and increasingly interconnected. So, while we must protect ourselves, it’s going to take all of us to really protect the systems we all rely on.