In times of war, it’s important to stay safe

When Russia invaded Ukraine, seeing the disruption in the world happen in near real time on social media made what was happening aggravating. Although I don’t know anyone in Ukraine, I know many people whose friends or family members have been affected by the war. Ukraine has many technology ties around the world. It is also the source of cyber attacks, which is why there is additional concern about what we can do to protect ourselves in the event of an attack. (Eastern Europe is often the source of many ransomware attacks occurring around the world.)

So what can tech users do to ensure you protect yourself from cyberattacks that could result from conflict?

First of all, don’t try to turn yourself into a denial of service attacker to follow different goals. (It is very likely against your ISP’s terms of service to launch attacks against other countries.) But there are steps you can take to ensure that you don’t encourage cyberattacks – or fall victim to them.

Start by making sure you have an external hard drive and an offline backup. Many ransomware groups have indicated that if any entity or company attacks Russia, they will take countermeasures. So make sure you have a recovery plan that doesn’t include paying financial ransoms to these companies. Even if all you have is a single computer, whether you run Windows or macOS, you should have an external drive to store the copies of the documents and files you need. I usually buy an inexpensive external drive that is connected via a USB cable. Then I buy third-party backup software or use the native process to back up my system. If I have a laptop from a standard vendor – and that vendor posts all hardware drivers online after the laptop’s warranty expires – I generally avoid making a transfer backup. Full system, including pictures. Instead, I focus on making sure I can recover data on the device.

In fact, I may not store data on the laptop at all; if there’s some sort of cloud storage option enabled, I’d save to that location first. The situation is different at the office, where I may need to get my desktop or laptop up and running ASAP; there, I’ll have a full backup of the system so I can replace the hard drive if needed and get back to work right away.

For Windows 10 and 11 systems, you will need an SSD. For these operating systems in particular, an SSD as a boot drive is essentially required. (You’ll have a less than ideal experience if you’re using older, mechanical hard drives, and they’re prone to failure.) At the office, I keep a spare empty SSD so I can quickly restore the system and get it working. move again.

Next, review what exploits are being used and whether you have installed patches to protect yourself. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency has assembled a list of vulnerabilities is under active attack. If you fix vulnerabilities only for Apple and Microsoft (like I have done here) you will want to install February update for your iPhone, iPad and any other Apple device. That will ensure you are protected against zero-day memory corruption, free after use in the WebKit rendering engine. (WebKit powers Apple’s Safari browser.)

On Microsoft platforms, make sure you are up to date through the January updates to protect your system from Error win32 is under active attack. In fact, I recommend you install the updates until the end of February, as this includes fixes for the patches caused in January. The Microsoft February Updates don’t cause any major problems, so they should be safe to install. Also make sure your Office is up to date. Phishing attacks are an important way for ransomware to get into your system – pay attention to patching Office and be wary when opening emails.

Businesses need to pay more attention to on-premises SharePoint and Exchange systems. These two platforms are already in the sights of attackers, so make sure that the November updates are installed for Deployment Exchange. For those with SharePoint on-premises on older platforms, make sure you’re patched for different 2020 epochs SharePoint Vulnerabilities.

The bottom line: strengthen your defenses to ensure that you don’t fall victim to any possible cyberattack and are protected from ransomware. All the small steps we can take to protect our systems can go a long way in helping the larger community resist attacks.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc. In times of war, it’s important to stay safe

Fry Electronics Team

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