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IT UPDATE – MATT FORCHETTE Tips for deterring hackers and avoiding ransomware There is no hack-proof device. There is no single cure for the security challenges that trouble businesses, governments, and consumers. There are, however, best practices that can help you stay secure, deter hacking, and mitigate the damage if you are hacked. Backup your data regularly. In the world of backup there is a “best practice” method called the . The 3-2-1 backup rule is a best practice because it ensures that you’ll have a copy of your data no matter what happens. Multiple copies prevent you from losing the only copy of your data. Multiple locations ensure that there is no single point of failure and that your data is safe from disasters such as fires and floods. 3. Keep at least three copies of your data. That includes the original copy and at least two backups. 2. Keep the backed-up data on two different storage types. The chances of having two failures of the same storage type are much better than for two completely different types of storage. Therefore, if you have data stored on an internal hard drive, make sure you have a secondary storage type, such as external or removable storage like USB stick, or a cloud service. 1. Keep at least one copy of the data offsite. Even if you have two copies on two separate storage types but both are stored onsite, a local disaster could wipe out both of them. Keep a third copy in an offsite location, like the cloud, or personally, a friend or family member’s home. Other tips: • Update the software on your PC, mobile, and IoT devices (thermostats, Internet based security camera’s, etc) • Use long, diverse passwords. • Enable two-factor authentication on every site that offers the service • Never connect with unknown data and Wi-Fi networks. • A common hacker technique is to target a common public area like Starbucks or McDonalds. Set up a “fake” wireless network with a network name that looks legitimate like “Starbucks Guest”. Unsuspecting customers looking for WiFi connect to the fake Wi-Fi network. The hacker can now see and collect the data you send and receive while connected to the fake Wi-Fi. Do not click links in email, except from trusted sources AND only when expecting a link or attachment. Becoming more common is the occurrence where a friend or family member’s computer get infected and sends out an e-mail to everyone in the contact list. You then, receive an e-mail from someone you know but the e-mail is not legitimate. Your goal is to make it harder to access your accounts and your devices. There are no guarantees of complete digital safety, but these tactics will deter many hackers.