Cyber security expert offers tips to avoid cyberattacks | #malware | #ransomware

Stephanie Benoit-Kurtz, cyber security expert from University of Phoenix, provides insight into how businesses can avoid spillover cyberattacks.

AUSTIN, Texas — With the recent attack on Ukraine, the U.S. government is on high alert for the possibility of the conflict spilling over into cyberspace, where Russia has shown ability to cause damage in the past.

Last month, a senior FBI cyber official warned US businesses and local governments they should be watchful against potential ransomware attacks.

Stephanie Benoit-Kurtz, a cyber security expert from the University of Phoenix, said there are ways businesses can avoid spillover cyberattacks during an unpredictable time. 

The first step is to make sure personal machines, like laptops and desktops, are patched. This includes cellphones or mobile devices as well. 

Secondly, it’s important to run antivirus and malware-detecting software and make sure it’s scanning all devices. 

“Should you get malware on your machine, you want to make sure that you remove that vulnerability as soon as possible, and then just standard things like watching, logging and reporting of different types of activities that are happening on your network,” said Benoit-Kurtz.

If you’re a small business or an enterprise reviewing backups, it’s recommended to make sure that you have solid backups in a place where ransomware can’t impact them.

Lastly, not reusing passwords is key.  

“Making sure that you’re not reusing passwords that you use on social media or potentially that were harvested in a previous hack. Believe it or not, those passwords can be sold on the dark web,” said Benoit-Kurtz. 

Cyber security experts say a variety of people will use personal passwords, for example, with their corporate accounts, or even social media. However, that’s a bad idea because the No. 1 way hackers are still getting in is through the use of credentials. 

“Once they have the ability to get into the network, then they move laterally to infiltrate data, plant ransomware and lock down systems on it,” said Benoit-Kurtz. 

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