Over the course of a single weekend, the world’s largest cyberattack reminded us yet again not to ignore the importance of cybersecurity.
Within three days, the unprecedented malware attack commonly referred to as “WannaCry” has been estimated to have infected more than 200,000 computer systems in 150 different countries. Targets of this attack include global companies such as FedEx Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., national health and transportation services, and many civilian computer systems.
As fears of a second wave of attacks continue to spread, the University of Dallas’ cybersecurity professors share three steps you can take today to make your devices more secure.
1. Don’t assume “it won’t happen to me.”
In fact, University of Dallas Cybersecurity Program Director Sandra J. Blanke says, “Assume ransomware will happen to you, and prepare in advance to prevent having to pay for your own system access and data.”
2. Keep your software up to date.
WannaCry has served as a global wake-up call for everyone to keep software and antivirus programs up to date. Despite the severity of cyberattacks, all too often we choose to ignore prompts to update our computer and cell phone systems. “Most cyberattacks, including this one, are preventable. Keeping up with the manufacturer’s patches is paramount,” explains University of Dallas Affiliate Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity Christian Nielsen, Ph.D. “Failing to patch a known vulnerability when a patch has been issued for it is like playing Russian roulette with your systems. Sooner or later your luck will run out.”
3. Back up your files.
In the event that one of your computer systems is infected with a virus, the easiest way to mitigate losses is to regularly and frequently back up your files. University of Dallas adjunct professor Brian Wrozek suggests using cloud backup solutions such as IDrive and CrashPlan or backing up your information to an external hard drive. And, if your looking for more ways to boost your cybersecurity, check out Wrozek’s tips for improving your passwords.
Interested in a career in cybersecurity? The University of Dallas’ Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business cybersecurity program is ranked among the nation’s best.