5 Ways To Prevent A Personal Cyber Attack

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Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's Playstation online gaming networks were shut down for Christmas in an apparent attack claimed to have been executed by the hacking group "Lizard Squad."

Many were without the ability to power up their new games or stream movies, including the Sony Pictures comedy "The Interview," which is at the center of a different hacking attack for its portrayal of the assassination of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.

So, with all of this top-level corporate and governmental cyber drama, Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson asked cyber security expert Cynthia Dion-Schwarz what this means for personal cyber safety.

Dion-Schwarz's 5 Tips for Protecting Yourself Online

1. Use “strong” passwords: A long strings of random characters, with a mixture of letters and numbers that are different for every website, but especially for sensitive banking sites, for example, LeTters @nd N^m6ers. Since it is so hard to remember all those passwords, consider using a free password manager such as LastPass or find others here.

2. Use a firewall and virus checker for your computers: There are several good free or low-cost packages. You can find recommended by reputable organizations such as PCWorld Magazine or Consumer Reports.

3. Make sure your home wireless network requires a strong password: But also consider registering your devices with your router to disallow rogue devices from joining your home network. See your router’s owner’s manual for how to do this.

4. Consider using privacy protecting technologies when surfing the Web: You can use non-tracking search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that are available for free or at low cost.

5. Be aware of your surroundings: Avoid shady sites that can download malware; do not click links in your emails but rather navigate to the site instead using a search engine. And make sure to use a credit card for online transactions that guarantees zero liability.


This segment aired on December 26, 2014.


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