In Case of Iranian Cyber Attack, How to Keep Your Data Secure

Officials say a cyber attack is possible, local expert shares tips on how to protect yourself.

DULUTH, Minn.- President Trump has said Iran appears to be standing down after their missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq, but experts say they could hit us with a different type of attack.

An FBI and Homeland Security Intelligence Bulletin sent to law enforcement nationwide said a cyber attack in retaliation is possible, due to Iran’s long history of politically motivated cyber attacks across the world.

“Iran is one of the more capable countries in terms of cyber attacks, they have a really large and skilled group of hackers basically that work for the government,” said UMD Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Dr. Peter Peterson.

According to Dr. Peterson, potential targets for an attack include banks, individuals, and other cyber resources.

“One of the things people are most worried about is cyber infrastructure,” he said. “So that would be anything where you have computers that control factories or power plants or anything that involve hazardous materials, utilities, things like that.”

You can help keep your data secure by not reusing passwords, and setting up a backup external to your computer.

A big countermeasure, Dr. Peterson said, is keeping up with those update notifications we often dismiss on our computers.

“A lot of people have, it pops up and it’s like ‘oh, please update such and such.’ And you’re like ‘later’. So make sure that those thigns are up to date because usually you get those because there’s a vulnerability or problem with the software and the longer you put those off, the longer your computer might be vulnerable,” he said.

Meanwhile protecting your business involves the same tips, plus looking over logs of who’s accessing your system, and especially knowing who is accessing your system remotely.

Overall according to Dr. Peterson, there’s no way to know what will happen, we can only know how much we prepare.

“Hopefully it will go away,” he said.

“But if it continues to escalate I think, all the experts that I’ve seen say that we really need to be prepared that something is likely to happen just because this is one of the stronger weapons that Iran has.”

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