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U.S. on "red alert" for hacking attacks

U.S. on "red alert" for hacking attacks
image courtesy of Dreamstime.com

The number of digital threats in the world is out of control. From allegations of foreign governments meddling in the U.S. presidential election to the growing number of data breaches, ransomware and phishing attacks. It's extremely scary these days.

We even recently told you how the CIA could be using hacking techniques to spy on you. Hacking attacks are so bad, the threat level for U.S. infrastructure is at 'red alert.'

What is at risk of being hacked?

Digital attacks can be carried out from anywhere in the world. Hackers have basically torn down international borders and can target anyone from thousands of miles away.

When you think about being hacked, most likely it's in personal terms. However, individual privacy isn't the only thing at risk these days. America's digital infrastructure is also in danger.

What we're talking about are power stations, water systems and telecom networks located all across the country. Most of this infrastructure is exposed to the internet, which can open the door for hackers.

Imagine if any of these systems were hacked. The cybercriminal could shut down power grids in major U.S. cities, or stop the flow of water, among numerous other unthinkable disasters.

A lack of cyber security on many of these systems contributes to the high threat level. There are an estimated 13,000 industrial control systems that are virtually unprotected. That's because they do not have the digital security safeguards in place that are needed.

Since all forms of hacking are illegal, finding international hackers is a job left to police and security agencies. They do so by scouring the Dark Web, looking for illegal activity in hopes of tracking them down and putting them behind bars.

In terms of keeping your personal information safe, there are measures you need to implement.

How you can protect yourself from international hackers

There are security steps that you can take to keep from being hacked. Follow these suggestions to help stay protected:

  • Have strong passwords - Read this article to help you create hack-proof passwords.
  • Use unique passwords - Many people use the same password across multiple sites. This is a terrible idea and should never be done. If your credentials are stolen from one site the criminal can use the password to break into any other site it's being used on. If you have too many accounts to remember each password, consider using a password manager.
  • Keep your computer's software up to date - Software updates contain patches to vulnerabilities. Keeping software up to date is an easy way to block hackers.
  • Turn off location services.
  • Be cautious with emails from unknown sources - If you don't know the person or company who sent you the email you should not click on any links it might contain. It could be a phishing scam. Take our phishing IQ test to see if you can spot a fake email.
  • Have strong security software - Having strong security software is the best protection against digital threats.

More stories you can't miss:

5 easy ways to secure your home's Wi-Fi

How to protect your privacy on neighborhood sites like Nextdoor

Can you spot the spy cam on this ATM? Scammers are betting you can't

Source: Today
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