Six tips to prevent a cyber-attack

It seems that each day there are new stories in the news about cyber-attacks. Whether hackers actually damage or destroy a computer network or system, the threat of such a situation is just as troubling.

What is a cyber-attack?

Attacks are broken down into two categories: Syntactic and Semantic.

Most people are familiar with Syntactic attacks – these are done with malicious software such as viruses, worms and Trojan horses. Whereas Semantic attacks occur when there is modification and dissemination of correct and incorrect information.

How can you prevent a cyber-attack?
  1. Never click on links in emails or social media sites from an unknown source. Also keep in mind that a common attack is hacking email and sending out malicious phishing emails. So sometimes even if the email comes from a trusted source (a.k.a.: someone you know) it could really be an attack.
  2. Never open the attachments from an unknown source. Again – if the email looks suspicious, be cautious when opening attachments. One way to avoid issues is turn off the option to automatically download attachments.
  3. Change your passwords regularly. Yes, changing your password frequently is annoying, however, it is best to change and make it more complex that the usual ABC123! And although using a password-based on personal information is easy to remember, it also makes it easier for an attacker to guess or “crack” them.
  4. Don’t use the same password for multiple services. Example: email and social sites.
  5. Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. Also, make sure to apply software updates when available and necessary.
  6. Keep an eye out for phishing scams. Those are those emails you get from people in Nigeria or ‘overseas’ telling you that some rich guy wants to leave you millions of dollars. All you need to do is click a link and share your financial information. Don’t ever share financial information with an unknown source. Sounds like common sense, but each year 80,000 people fall for these scams!


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