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Practicing good 'cyber hygiene'

With Russia invading Ukraine, experts say protecting your cyberspace is even more important.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — When the pandemic began, many of us worked from home, and that created new cybersecurity concerns.

Now, with Russia invading Ukraine, experts say protecting your cyberspace is even more important.

Michael Pickreign knows computers.

"I've been in this work since I was in my early teens," he said.

And since the start of the pandemic, the president of Tech42 in Dunmore says protection is more important than ever.

"Employers were telling their employees, take your computer and your monitor off your desk and go home," Pickreign said. "In the last 18 months, the threat level has increased so dramatically."

Pickreign says cybersecurity is like keeping the doors and windows to your home locked. With Russia's invasion of Ukraine, scammers may use the crisis as a way to get into your online house.

"One of the things we're seeing is phishing emails with things that are related to things that are going on in Ukraine. 'Donate here. Provide help here.'"

Phishing involves a scammer sending an email, pretending to be from a company, for example, to get your information.

"This is the new organized crime of our generation," Pickreign said. "As a threat actor, if I can convince you to give me access, well, I'm past all the defensive measures."

Nelson Wood, with Tech 42, showed us an email supposedly from HR asking for bank information. 

"One of our customers received this email from somebody," he said.

The email showed poor punctuation and grammar, which is one sign of a phishing scam. 

Experts say clues like that, as well as strange links within an email, can help you spot a scam.

"Even if you think, man, this has got to be legit, no," Pickreign said. "If you ordered something from Amazon, open your web browser and go to Amazon directly and log in."

Other good cyber hygiene habits include strong passwords and backing up important files offline. And be sure to keep your antivirus program up to date.

"Whenever there's a new threat, they're releasing, basically, the new version of the vaccine, right? To be able to prevent it."

Another good line of defense is having multi-factor authentication. For example, when you sign in on your computer, it will prompt a text message to your phone. And then, you have to enter the code given on your phone to verify it's you. On Facebook, you can find this option by going to settings, choosing security and login, and opting for two-factor authentication. 

For more tips on cyber hygiene, click here.

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