Emergency Preparedness: Cybersecurity

Our world is increasingly online: shopping, banking, communications, social media, etc. It’s also true that there are many criminal individuals and organizations that target online sites and information for profit and disruption.

Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to access or damage a computer or network system. Cyberattacks can lead to the loss of money or the theft of personal, financial, and medical information. These attacks can damage your reputation and safety.

Cybersecurity involves preventing, detecting, and responding to cyberattacks that can have wide-ranging effects on individuals, organizations, the community, and the nation. This article discusses some aspects of protecting yourself against cyberattacks.

Cyberattacks can take many forms:

  • Attacks on regional or national infrastructure like the power grid and transportation networks.
  • Disruption of businesses to gather credit card information illegally.
  • Identity theft and associated damage to your financial security.
  • Theft of your personal information stored online, on your computer, or on your mobile phone.

Protecting Yourself Before a Cyberattack

  • Review your security settings at online shopping and social media sites (Facebook, Amazon, etc.) to limit the amount of personal information that you share online. Some sites can help you through that review process.
  • Create unique and strong passwords for online accounts. Use a password manager to help (1Password is a well-reviewed product).
  • Check your account statements and credit reports frequently to catch fraudulent activity. You can request credit reports for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Back up your computer data to multiple places (external disk and to an online backup site).
  • Don’t click on unexpected or unknown links on your phone or computer – no matter how tempting or real they appear!

If You’re Attacked

  • Carefully check online investing or banking sites, etc. for unrecognized activity. Contact those sites immediately if you see suspect activity. Credit and debit cards are vulnerable so you must act quickly to stop transactions. 
  • Work very carefully if you receive notifications of fraud from online sites. Do NOT click on links in those email messages – they may be fraudulent themselves if your accounts have been compromised.

Preparedness List

Things To Do

Items to Purchase

  • External hard disk to backup your computer
  • Online computer backup service (e.g. Backblaze.com)
  • Consider a password manager application for phones and computers (e.g. 1Password)

Tigard CERT Inc. is a local non-profit organization allied with the City of Tigard that trains volunteers in basic emergency response and organizational skills following the Federal Emergency Management Agency model and guidelines for local Community Emergency Response Teams. For more information about Tigard CERT, please visit our website at tigardcert.wordpress.com.