How to protect yourself from cyberattacks

Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 9:45 AM CDT
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(CNN) - Experts share what you can do to protect yourself and your digital devices as President Joe Biden warns the U.S. is under a high-risk for Russian cyberattacks.

As the war between Russia and Ukraine escalates, there’s growing concern the conflict could enter a new cyber front aimed at American computer systems.

“Every system is as strong as its weakest link. We don’t want to be the weakest link,” Vahid Behzadan, assistant computer and data science professor at the University of New Haven, said.

While Russia could be aiming to hit American government departments, hospitals, and critical infrastructure and utilities, experts said the growing threat may create a domino effect that could impact average Americans.

“Cybersecurity is essentially the security of every one of us was part of the internet, part of the larger network of these connected devices,” Behzadan said.

Behzadan said the first step to protect yourself, your digital devices, and everything stored on them, is to make sure the software for your operating system, browsers and apps are all up to date.

And while you’re at it, make sure your antivirus software is also up to date.

“It’s not the time to procrastinate. You want to install and configure that update as early as possible,” Behzadan said.

Behzadan also said consider changing and choosing stronger passwords and using a secure manager to store every password.

Another tip is to only use trusted Wi-Fi networks.

Finally, be on high alert for suspicious emails, robocalls or fraudulent links.

“There is no reason to panic,” Behzadan said. “We just want to use this opportunity to become a little more prepared.”

If you experience a ransomware attack that disables your machine and locks up your files, experts recommend you backup your important files to an external drive or have them automatically backed up with a cloud-based service.

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