New Yorkers are being urged to stay alert and protect themselves against possible cyber threats in the wake of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
A coalition of elected officials and security officers issued a warning Monday in the face of new threats in the digital space.
Sanctions levied against Russia following the country's attack on neighboring Ukraine has top officials concerned about what Russia may do to retaliate.
“Following the sanctions that the U.S. and our allies have levied on Russia, there is an increased risk that Russia will carry out retaliatory cyber attacks, particularly against New York State infrastructure and individuals,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, who joined Gillibrand's press conference, said the city must be prepared to protect against online threats to financial and public safety.
"New York must take action now individually and collectively to guard against cyberattacks that seek to gain access to our financial and personal information and shore up our public infrastructure against disruptive attacks," Lander said.
Gillibrand outlined three cornerstones of cyber safety that New Yorkers should consider:
1. SECURE YOUR ACCOUNTS
- Use a strong password. ("password" is not a strong password.)
- Use a different password for each account.
- Turn on two-factor authentication. This security feature requires you to enter a login code sent by text message or generated by an app. So even if hackers steal your password, they won't be able to log in without that code!
- Don't forget social media! Protecting your banking, retirement, investment, and work accounts is important, but don't forget to protect your social media accounts too! Hacked accounts are used to send spam, scam your friends and family, and spread disinformation for foreign governments.
2. SOFTWARE UPDATES
- Update your devices ASAP
- Accept updates for your devices, software, and apps as soon as they are available to make sure you have the latest security updates installed.
3. STAY VIGILANT
- Be vigilant, be suspicious
- Most cyber attackers don't hack into your accounts — they try to trick you into letting them in. Be suspicious of emails and DMs like those that ask you to click links, promise free stuff, or make urgent demands or threats.
Last month, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced plans to improve the state's cybersecurity defenses and open a joint operations center in the coming months to coordinate between government agencies, critical businesses and utilities.
Hochul said the Brooklyn-based hub will have a staff of 70 — both in-person and virtual — to provide “a centralized viewpoint of threat data" on the federal, state and local levels.