Strong Passwords help prevent Cyber Attacks

Simple steps like strong passwords can help prevent cyber attacks. On this, the Ides of March people are wary for lots of reasons. However, various countries around the world are attempting to hack into and acquire information and data from government and company networks and obtain consumer information including financial information and passwords.

Cyber Attacks

Unlike traditional war action, Cyber attacks do not occur within a physical area or location.  They occur in an intangible area of a computer and the damage they do, from intrusions and malware, is usually reversible. Most of the attack can be cleaned or locked out or the computer system restored from a prior backup and in some cases, the money paid can be recovered.

However, this may not always the case. In some cases, the cyberattacks can have physical consequences. For example, if air traffic is disrupted, it may lead to a plane crash; or loss of power to a hospital may cause loss of life as a result of various medical systems going down.  In addition, targeting financial institutions can result in monetary losses and civil unrest.

We are all connected

In today’s world, we are all connected through the internet, social media and the television.  At this time, there is no specific cyber threats to the U.S. at this time, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its cyber-attacks on the Ukrainian government has the risk of impacting us all. Loss of data, information and intellectual property can be lost from a Cyber Attack. Nearly five years ago, Russia attacked Ukraine with NotPetya which involved a series of Russian-linked ransomware attacks.  Some said that NotPetya was an act of war and was originally intended to topple Ukrainian companies and government but ended up affecting citizens in more than 60 countries and destroying 49,000 computers and impacting critical infrastructure like transportation companies and hospitals.  NotPetya, was a Russian malware that behaved like ransomware, but the actual motive was to wipe out systems.

Mitigating Cyber Attacks

In order for a cyber attack from a state actor like Russia they need to gain access to your network and its infrastructure to compromise supply chains or deploy ransomware. Mitigating network access risks can help identify and stop cyber attacks.  Blocking access and limiting access from high-risk or compromised endpoints and accounts can stop the infiltration before it happens and when it does happen, can help limit the infiltration from spreading.

Every individual can take simple steps to improve their cyber hygiene and protect themselves online. In fact there are 4 things you can do to keep yourself cyber safe.

  • Use multi-factor authentication. A password isn’t enough to keep you safe online. By using a second type of confirmation like a text message or email, a code from an authentication app, a fingerprint, Face ID, or even a hardware key you can limit the ability of an unknown user gaining access to your network and your information like your bank accounts, your email or any other site you’re attempting to gain access.  Multi-factor authentication can make you 99% less likely to get hacked. Enable multi-factor authentication on your email, social media, online shopping, banking and credit card accounts.
  • Update your software. Bad actors know how to exploit flaws in the system. Update your operating system on your computers, tablets, and laptops and even mobile phones.  You should also update your software applications – especially the operating systems, web browsers and virus protection – on all your devices too.   Using automatic updates for all devices, applications, and operating systems can also help protect your devices from the latest bugs or attacks.
  • 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.  Many folks use generic or standard passwords across all of their devices. Passwords are the root cause of over 80% of data breaches.  The average person has more than 100 online accounts and more than 51% of these users use the same passwords across multiple sites.  Using a password manager to generate and store unique passwords can help out tremendously.  One recent study revealed that over 80% of Consumers have had their emails leaded on the dark web.  In addition, based on leaked emails and password, it was found that the following are the most common passwords.  These passords include simple simple numbers and letter sequences like “123456” and “Qwerty” to easily typed phrases like “Iloveyou.” If you use any of these passwords, you should strongly consider changing your passwords.

20 Common Passwords