Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, launching a coordinated attack by land, sea and air. Joseph Borrel, the EU foreign affairs chief, put it simply: “These are among the darkest hours of Europe since the Second World War.” Countries globally are condemning Russia, weighing in with sanctions to protest, and America’s voice is one of the loudest.
Don’t think for a minute that this invasion is too far removed to impact your life. As the situation continues to evolve, Russia could choose to retaliate against the U.S. over newly-imposed sanctions with cyberwarfare. In 2020, Russian hackers invaded several federal government agencies, including the nuclear weapons agency.
Every-day Americans like you need to brace for massive cyberattacks. Tap or click here to discover how cybercriminals can take down the U.S. power grid. If our sanctions on Russia lead to retaliation, you need to create a plan. Share this story with your friends and family to help them prepare for the worst.
What to know
Kim says it’s almost certain that Russia will hit America with cyberattacks. It would be their way of getting back at U.S. sanctions. There are many pressure points they could hit to maximize the pain.
Firstly, they could cut our fiber-optic cables. When these critical cables are cut, citizens would have to deal with data outages.
That means you could lose your internet connection, storage and even the ability to call someone on your smartphone. Fiber-optic outages slow your work, isolate you and put you in danger since you can’t reach out when you need help.
Even if they don’t come for our cables, they could target our satellites, which are at the center of everyday life. A Russian attack on our satellites could take down a ton of critical sectors, like:
- Internet traffic
- Water treatment facilities
- Power plants
- The power grid
They could even disable cellular phones and the GPS network. So if you have to travel a lot for your job, a random attack could leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere with no escape plan.
Make a plan with your family
How do you know the people you care about are OK if no one can get online? Will you still be able to text or otherwise send messages? Have one person in the family be the point of contact.
This one person will check in with others periodically. Establish a time window for each person to respond before causing an alarm. For example, say you reach out to each of your kids two times a day. If they don’t get back to you within eight hours, that might signify that something is wrong.
If you’re not able to make phone calls, you may still have enough cell signal to get a text through. If that fails, try Facebook Messenger or another messaging option that relies on an internet connection. Be sure to work out ahead of time with your family and friends which platforms you will turn to.
Have supplies ready just in case
You don’t want to be empty-handed when — or if — the attacks begin. You should have cash, prescriptions, battery chargers, flashlights, a first aid kit and a portable generator. Tap or click here for 18 must-have items that help you survive any emergency.
If a cyber war comes to us, it will come on two levels
First, the Russian government may once again attack America’s infrastructure, power and communications centers. Secondly, we may also see lone-wolf attacks against smaller businesses.
American business would do well to follow the advice from Great Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre: Take the time to ensure your network is 100% secure. Tap or click here for five router settings that keep hackers off your cameras, smart speakers and network.
Next, you should immediately secure all your equipment from malware and other cyberattacks. This applies even if you aren’t a business owner.
The more we rely on our devices for work, school, and personal lives, the more we have to lose. Whether it’s bank accounts, personal data, photos or conversations, there’s just so much to preserve and protect.
If you don’t have an antivirus program, it’s time to get one. Otherwise, you’re practically handing away the keys to your digital kingdom. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV.
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What to do if your internet goes down
If your Wi-Fi connection suddenly dies, it may not be due to the war. The problem could be with your device. Tap or click here for the best apps you can use to troubleshoot your bad Wi-Fi for Android and iPhone.
If the issues persist, it’s time to check out Down Detector. This free resource offers real-time problem and outage monitoring. This is a good indication you’re dealing with a widespread outage.
How to prepare if you’re a small business owner
Once you secure your network and equipment, it’s time to call a meeting of all employees. Remind them of the risks swirling around due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. They need to know that now is the time to be on high alert.
Remind your employees that no one is to open emails from unrecognized senders. Phishing scams are too widespread and devastating to ignore. Tap or click here to learn how one phishing attack lets hackers read and send emails from your account.
They should also know that they should be careful even if an email looks like it comes from a coworker. Cybercriminals love to impersonate the people you work with. Familiar email addresses make us more likely to click on malicious links.
Once you or one of your employees falls for an imposter, your whole company is in danger. So tell them to be wary of any emails or calls that demand money transfers, strange attachments or suspicious links. Tap or click here to learn more about how hackers infiltrate businesses.
Next, make sure your IT team updates all software with the latest security patches. They should be the only ones downloading apps.
Lastly, take a deep breath. This is not a time to panic or overreact. But bear in mind that the chances of cyberattacks on America have never been higher than right now. Share this story with your friends and family to make sure they’re prepared when the time comes.