A cyberattack can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Cyberhackers target individuals, businesses and even government agencies.
It’s important to protect your connected devices from a cyberattack, defined as an attempt to breach, steal or destroy data.
“At the end of the day, what they’re really coming after is your money,” says John Joyce, an owner at CRS Technology Consultants.
John offered tips to ABC7 viewers during a segment that aired Aug. 26, 2022.
VIEW MORE: Tech Bytes: Tips to keep your connected devices safe from a cyberattack
Below is a recap of that interview:
A Cyberattack Starts with a Weak Link
Cyberattackers target weak links. Oftentimes, those weak links are family members or employees who make common digital mistakes. In fact, the World Economic Forum notes surveys show 95% of cybersecurity issues are caused by human error. Common errors that can lead to a cyberattack include:
- Clicking on links in emails or texts
- Providing usernames or passwords when “customer support” calls
- Using public WiFi without securing devices through a VPN
- Failing to change passwords, implement multifactor authentication or install antivirus software
Tech companies like CRS Technology Consultants work 24/7 to thwart a cyberattack by installing defenses. These defenses include firewalls, routers, antivirus programs, VPNs and more.
A Tale of Two Laptops
During the ABC7 segment, John brought two laptops for visuals. One was a brand-new MacBook Air. The other was an older MacBook Pro. Which laptop offers better protection?
“The assumption is ‘I just bought it. It’s brand new, so it must be protected.’ Not so,” John says. “I know it’s exciting to have a brand-new toy to play with, but take the time to set the passwords, install your antivirus software.”
After a laptop is manufactured, it can be months before the computer arrives in retail stores, and ultimately in your home. By then, the operating system already needs updates. John advises to immediately download updates before using the laptop.
Protecting Your Devices
We live in a connected world, and unfortunately, so do cybercriminals. Protection is not optional.
“Any device that we have anymore seems to be online, from our thermostats to our microwaves, but the ones they’re primarily coming after are things like your laptop or your smartphone – things that either have your data on them or are already connected to places where your data is, like online banking,” John says.
Take these security steps to protect your devices from a cyberattack:
- Install security software: Free or inexpensive programs run 24/7
- Add VPN: Encrypts data so if hackers get your information, it means nothing to them
- Install updates: Macs and PCs offer updates every few months
- Back up files: Securely store information on the cloud or a remote server
- Shut it down: Turn off computers when not in use to break a connection if a hacker already has access
- Download updates: For operating system and each app
- Multifactor authentication: Requires two forms of ID verification to gain access
- Use Find My iPhone or Find My Device: Lost phones might be your biggest threat
- Biometric access: Use thumbprint or facial recognition to access phone