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5 ways to protect your digital life from the Russia Ukraine war
© Florin Seitan |
Security & privacy

5 things you need to update now because of the Ukrainian war

Anyone who thinks they’ll be unaffected by the Russia-Ukraine war is dead wrong. During World War II, conflicts were confined to physical battlefields. Thanks to the internet, cyberwar is a new threat that impacts every corner of the globe.

While attackers will likely focus on large companies, agencies and other organizations, those compromised can still impact you. For example, one Russian hacking group took credit for a recent McDonald’s breach, which puts your data at risk if you have an account with the company. Tap or click here to discover how Russia’s attack on McDonald’s could be the first step in an all-out cyberwar.

Act now to protect yourself from the onslaught of potential cyber threats. Check out this list of five ways to protect yourself. Make sure the following parts of your digital life are up-to-date and secure.

1. Router

It’s easy for hackers to break into your router. Once they’re in, they can access any connected device, effectively wreaking havoc over your digital life. That’s why you should head to your router’s admin page and download any security updates.

Here are a few other ways to protect your router:

  • Use encryption: Go to your router’s admin menu. Under the “Wireless” or “Security” menu, you’ll see the encryption status. If you still have an older router, select one that starts with “WPA3.” If your router is not WPA3 compatible, “WPA2-PSK AES” is the next most secure option.
  • Check your firewall: Most routers should have one, but you may need to check to be sure. Check out your router’s advanced settings to confirm.
  • Use optimized Quad9 DNS settings: This feature checks any web links you click against a huge intelligence database. It protects you from malicious links. Tap or click here to start using this free powerful security tool.
  • Refuse remote access: Disable these settings altogether. You’ll find them in your router settings under the “Remote Administration” heading.

Taking these steps can do you a world of good in the long run. If you want to go a step further and lock down your Internet of Things devices, we have an excellent tip for you. Tap or click here for one setting you should change to stop hackers from taking over your smart home devices.

2. Operating systems

You’re putting yourself at risk if you’re working on an older operating system. Updates usually include fixes for old bugs. If you haven’t updated, hackers could hurt you with old attacks you could have easily protected yourself from.

How to update your PC

First, tap the Start menu button in the bottom left corner of your screen.

  1. Then, select Settings.
  2. Tap Update and Security.
  3. Choose Check for Updates.

If there’s an update available, choose Download and install.

Follow these steps to update your Mac

First, you’ll want to click on the Apple menu. It’s in the corner of your screen.

  1. Then, select System Preferences.
  2. Click Software Update.
  3. Lastly, hit Update Now.

Your computer isn’t the only gadget to update, however.

Don’t forget to update your iPhone!

These steps work for your iPhone, iPad or iPad touch.

  1. Open the Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Software Update.
  4. Tap Install Now.

Even if you don’t use Apple products, we have you covered.

How to update your Android

  1. Open your phone’s Settings app.
  2. Near the bottom, tap System.
  3. Select Advanced.
  4. Tap System update.

If there’s an available update, follow any steps on the screen.

You’ll also want to use antivirus software on all of your devices, from your phones to your computers. Here’s all you need to know about that.

3. Antivirus software is essential

You need a strong security suite for your devices. Antivirus software is critical to protect yourself from malware, ransomware and other threats. Now that cyberattacks are on the rise and most of us use our devices at work, we have more to lose than ever before.

Antivirus protects everything you do online. Whether it’s bank accounts, personal data, photos or conversations, there’s just so much to preserve and protect. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV.

TotalAV’s industry-leading security suite is easy to use and offers the best protection in the business. It’s received the renowned VB100 award for detecting more than 99% of malware samples for the last three years in a row.

Not only do you get continuous protection from the latest threats, but its AI-driven Web Shield browser extension blocks dangerous websites automatically, and its Junk Cleaner can help you quickly clear out your old files.

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4. 2FA on financial accounts

There’s no tastier target for a hacker than your bank account. Once they access it, they can drain you dry. In a snap, they steal your life savings and run off into the sunset like The Tinder Swindler.

That’s why you should take extra precautions with any financial accounts. Use complex, unique passwords with a healthy mix of numbers, symbols and letters — both lowercase and uppercase. Tap or click here for five ways to create strong passwords that secure your accounts.

Don’t forget two-factor authentication. Most major banks offer these features. For example, Chase Bank and Citibank automatically enable it by default.

You’ll have to opt-in if you use Bank of America or Wells Fargo, though. Luckily, that’s pretty easy. Tap or click here to add two-factor authentication to your financial accounts. It’s a little precaution that makes a huge difference.

5. Smart home tech

Don’t forget to protect your smart gadgets with two-factor authentication, too. Otherwise, a creepy hacker could talk to your kids through your smart speaker. (Yep, that’s happened — and it’s just as disturbing as you would imagine.)

This is easy to do: Log into the app that corresponds with your smart home system. (For example, SimpliSafe or Ring.) Then dig around your settings and choose the option to enable two-factor authentication.

You should also lock down your cameras with a strong password. Every three weeks, check your firmware to ensure your cameras and other devices are loaded with the latest firmware. Connect to the internet, let your cameras check for updates and agree to the installation.

While you’re at it, remember that every smart device is a potential port of entry. We’re talking about smart plugs and even printers. Tap or click here for a few ways to secure your printer so it can’t be hijacked.

Read more

How to prepare for Russia’s impending cyberattacks on America

Ukraine cyberattacks could be a sign of things to come – Secure your systems

10 things (aside from gas) that will get more expensive during the Russian-Ukrainian war

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