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Governments Warning of Imminent Cyber Threat From Russia!

What is a Cyber Attack?

The definition of a cyber attack provided from 'Wikipedia' is:

'A cyber attack is any offensive manoeuvre that targets computer information systems, computer networks, infrastructures, or personal computer devices. An attacker is a person or process that attempts to access data, functions, or other restricted areas of the system without authorization, potentially with malicious intent. Depending on the context, cyber attacks can be part of cyber warfare or cyber terrorism. A cyber attack can be employed by sovereign states, individuals, groups, society, or organizations, and it may originate from an anonymous source. A product that facilitates a cyberattack is sometimes called a cyber weapon.

A cyberattack may steal, alter, or destroy a specified target by hacking into a susceptible system. Cyberattacks can range from installing spyware on a personal computer to attempting to destroy the infrastructure of entire nations.

Cyber attacks have become increasingly sophisticated and dangerous.'

Here are Some Examples of Common Cyber Attacks

  • Malware, phishing, spamming, spoofing, spyware, trojans and viruses

  • Identity theft

  • Password sniffing

  • Fraud

  • Extortion

  • Theft of confidential data

  • Denial of service attack

  • Man in the middle attack

  • DNS spoofing

  • Ransomware

Why Would I Be Affected?

The National Cyber Security Centre has called for extreme vigilance in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Cyber-attacks do not respect international boundaries and the risk of overspill, intentional or not is why the World is currently on a heightened cyber attack threat alert. It isn't just governments, companies and organizations that may suffer but the home user as well.

7 Ways to Protect Against Cyber Attack

1. Keep your software up to date; Update all your Apps and operating systems across all your devices. If you are using and old Windows operating system on your PC/Laptop, update it to the latest version. This includes updating from Windows 10 to Windows 11. The Windows 10 to Windows 11 update is free from Microsoft and includes numerous security updates. If you are one of the unlucky ones that find Microsoft considers your hardware is 'not supported' then click the image below to take a look at our 'Magic Windows 11 installer' as this will allow Windows 11 to be installed on any PC/Laptop with the following spec:

  • Fully working PC / laptop with installed and activated Windows 10 OR a valid Windows 10 product key

  • 1 GHz or faster dual-core 64-bit processor from Intel or AMD

  • 4 GB of RAM memory (DDR2 or newer)

  • 40 GB of available storage

2. Install a Good Anti-Virus; You should be running a good anti-virus on all of your devices. Anti-Virus software is critical so don't use a free one and don't think that because you have an iPhone or a MAC you don't need Anti-Virus!

We would also advise against using Kaspersky (Russian owned) due to security issues related to Russian Secret Services. These security issues are well documented. Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the The National Security Agency (NSA) actively advises anyone using Kaspersky to uninstall and install an alternative product.

We recommend ESET anti-virus. ESET was founded in 1992 and is based in Bratislava, Slovakia. ESET is one of the safest anti-malware engines on the market today, offering various powerful anti-virus tools across IOS, Android, MAC and Windows to protect users from Viruses, Ransomware and being hacked. ESET is lightweight, will not slow your device and uses advanced heuristics and machine learning to detect encrypted malware and zero-day threats.

3. Backup Your Data; Make daily backups of your data. Your backup should be encrypted and ideally NOT on your Network. Backup to a cloud service or removable storage. If you backup to external storage don't leave the storage device connected to your device or Network.

4. Encrypt Your Data; If you don't currently encrypt your data you are asking for trouble! Encrypting data used to be a slow complicated affair but not anymore. Axcrypt is our number 1 choice for file encryption. Axcrypt uses AES 256-bit encryption and works seamlessly across all devices. AxCrypt also provides its users a password management generator that ensures your passwords are as secure as possible. It also provides a collaboration tool that allows users to share secured files and data with other AxCrypt users.

You can sign up and try Axcrypt FREE for 30 days on our link here: Guardian Axcrypt Promotion

Not only will you get the 30 Day trial but if you decide you like it and sign up for the premium / business version you will save up to 20%

5. Passwords (Pass-phrases); Use strong passwords. Passwords should be contain a minimum of 12 characters and contain a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Here at Guardian Routers we don't use the term 'password' we use 'pass-phrase'. Not only is it far more secure to use a pass-phrase, it is far easier to remember a phrase. Most people will use a simple password, as it's easy to remember, and most will write their passwords down and reuse them, sometimes with slight variation thinking it is secure. ie. mydogsname1 and mydogsname123 thus making it easy for someone to gain access to many accounts with just one password breach. The current top 5 passwords, believe it or not are: 123456 password qwerty football and 1234567. These take seconds to crack and should never be used.

What is a pass-phrase. A pass-phrase is a sentence with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that is easier to remember and much harder to crack. You can also mentally link the pass-phrase to the login which makes it even easier to remember. Lets use an Amazon login as an example. How many people have an Amazon password that is Amazon123. I would guess quite a few!

A better login for Amazon would be to remember something you purchased on Amazon and turn it into a pass-phrase. Lets say at some point in the past you purchased a 48 inch LED TV from Amazon, you will always remember where you brought your TV which makes it easy for you to associate your TV with your Amazon account and remember, so a good pass-phrase that is easy for you to remember but hard to crack, for your Amazon would be something like my48INledTVc0st£499!

I think you'll agree this is far more secure than Amazon123 and not that hard to remember due to the association if compared to a complex password

Change passwords (pass-phrases) regularly. It is important to change your passwords periodically and don’t use the same password for multiple logins.

6. Be aware for phishing email; If you are not expecting or do not recognise an email, do not reply. Many spam emails are enticing you to respond and click a link to a website to capture your email address or take over your device with malware downloaded without you being aware.

The current top phishing emails look as if they are from the Royal Mail (or another delivery company) and will say 'we attempted to deliver but you was out and there is an outstanding payment to pay - please pay here'. This is a very effective scam email as now we are in lockdown again many people are turning to on-line purchases and many people that receive this type of email will, as sheer coincidence, be expecting a parcel. They will also think 'It's only tiny amount so no risk and best I pay, I have nothing to lose' What they don't realise is the 'click here to pay' link takes them straight to the scammers 'fake' web page and as soon as they have filled in their payment details their bank account will be emptied!

The Royal Mail has an excellent page of current scams which can be seen on their website here

The example 'delivery scam emails' I have seen are very convincing and even more so if you view the email on a smartphone where, by default, the email header is hidden making it hard to see the actual email address it was sent from - beware, don't pay - If you are expecting a package call the delivery company to verify or check your tracking numbers to locate it.

Remember, if there is outstanding postage or duty fees on a package you will, 99 times out or 100, have a card through the door or card through the post explaining the charge.

These scam messages are also being sent by text message from companies pretending to be Royal Mail, UPS, Curry's and DPD to name a few.

7. Network and Wireless Security; Always keep your Network devices updated and never use the default details on any Network Device. Changing the default details is often overlooked when it comes to Modems / Hubs provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) The 4 most important things to change are the Username and Password to access the device and the SSID and the wireless password. SSID stands for Service Set IDentifier and is the name of your Network.

Your Wireless Network should use encryption. Encryption scrambles messages sent over wireless networks so that they cannot be read easily. If your network is not encrypted, enable encryption on the wireless security settings page of your wireless router. There are different forms of encryption, but we suggest that you use the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) version because older technologies such as Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and WPA have known flaws, do not offer appropriate protection and can be easily hacked.

It is also good practice to turn off your SSID Broadcast. Broadcasting the SSID displays the name of your network in the list of available networks when nearby users scan for wireless networks. If you disable broadcasting of your SSID your devices will still connect but your wireless Network will not be seen when anybody scans for networks.

7. Virtual Private Network (VPN); Your internet service provider (ISP) – BT, Sky, Virgin Media can access all your internet data. Your ISP can see when, where and how you browse. This data is collected and can be given to Law Enforcement or sold to advertisers, A VPN can help by obscuring your ISP address from your own ISP.

A VPN will give you greater security and internet protection. Everything from your bank details to your emails will be safe and secure. Your data is encrypted and your activity protected as it is automatically secured with military-grade encryption. This means that even if someone did intercept your Internet data they would never be able to decipher it.

A VPN also protects your communications, such as emails and video meetings. You need a VPN to ensure all your data stays private and secure. You can protect all of your home devices, without the need to install a VPN on each of them, by using a Guardian Router. The Guardian Router runs the VPN and all devices connected to it by LAN or WiFi will be protected.

Our ASUS ASUSWRT WiFi 6 VPN Routers all have AiProtection built in. AiProtection is a step above standard firewalls. The commercial-grade intrusion prevention system (IPS) performs in-depth scans of inbound and outbound internet data to block all common attacks.

Thanks to Trend Micro data centre on the cloud , this AiProtection feature updates itself whenever a new patch is available, ensuring your protection is always up-to-date. AiProtection, incorporates state-of-the-art, three-pronged security from the Trend Micro Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) engine, gives you enterprise-level security in the home — making ASUS routers equipped with these features the most secure home routers. AiProtection constantly monitors the security and safety of your home network for total peace of mind with super fast WiFi 6 and VPN.