IT Professional: Cyberwar in Ukraine is a Threat to Computer Users in the United States | Local News

IT Professional: Cyberwar in Ukraine is a Threat to Computer Users in the United States |  Local News

FLORENCECS — Now is the time to take steps to protect your cyber accounts from becoming collateral damage to the war in Ukraine.

This will require a little vigilance and a bit of paranoia from savvy cybercitizens.

There’s a simple and easy way to do this, said Robbie Hill, founder of Hill South IT Solutions in Florence.

“One of the simple tools we have to protect our identity online is called multi-factor authentication; in fact, I noticed that Facebook forced me the other day to accept it,” Hill said. .

Multi-factor authentication works with text messaging or email to provide a one-time password or numeric code to a user logging into websites like Amazon, or in other cases requiring the code when a person logs into a website from a computer that they normally don’t. not use to access this site.

Without this code, sent to a person’s cell phone, there is no connection.

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“We all know that Russia has always had its cyber capabilities and with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we are all starting to see more and more cyber capabilities from many countries that would like to harm the United States,” said Hill.

“In the business world, the US government has sent more alarming memos to businesses letting them know it’s time to maintain greater vigilance and be more aware of the cybercrimes happening around us,” he said. said Hill.

“What we can do as Americans is we can be more vigilant in our day-to-day activities and we can take every email we receive, every phone call we receive, every message we receive through electronically and treat it with a little more suspicion than ever, realizing that there are so many malicious actors like Russia trying to target us, infiltrate us and destroy us through cyber warfare,” Hill said.

Several sectors will probably be the main targets, although the attacks will not necessarily be limited to them.

“The US government has warned that cyber warfare could start with our utility infrastructure – like water, sewer, electricity – and will also target our healthcare industry because we are all healthcare consumers. and that would be a natural target,” Hill said. . “Obviously, we know that the bank is constantly the target of cyber warfare, because access to your private information is a great way to commit cyber fraud.”

Hill said consumers need to be more vigilant when accessing utility and healthcare websites to ensure they are accessing the real thing.

One simple thing consumers can do is look at the site’s URL to make sure it’s HTTPS and not HTTP — the S indicating that the site has some security associated with it.

Hill said cybercriminals are now using search engine advertisements to prey on consumers.

“I have friends who Google a business that they’re trying to find and then call the first phone number,” Hill said. “Cybercriminals know you could do this. We’ve seen a new threat where cybercriminals will buy new ads and create themselves the first phone number. Cybercriminals are getting more and more innovative.”

“Triple check information. If you think you need to call a business, make sure you’re on their website, make sure you’re not on someone else’s website in them giving another phone number. Check billing statements, call those phone numbers.”

“Another angle these cyber-terrorists are looking for is gaining access to your social media accounts and using them to spread propaganda or ransomware – somehow they can make money from the accounts. popular social media outlets,” Hill said.

Reach out to your friends and ask them about one of their posts that seems unusual, Hill said.

Not all social media accounts are created equal, Hill said. People whose professions would make them more trustworthy or believable and those who have a high number of friends are bigger targets.

“As we watch our social media friends and watch professionals like lawyers, doctors, politicians, they need to be more careful to protect their accounts from cyber-terrorists and more vigilant to mitigate any terrorism,” he said. said Hill.

Finally, he said, people should use a different password for each of their accounts and use numbers and characters in their passwords.

Digital Editor Matt Robertson is a seasoned journalist who has filled just about every newspaper role and is now a key member of the Morning News newsroom maintaining and occasionally covering news stories and pictures.