Defending Your Home against Cyberattacks: It can be Child’s Play

CyberPeace Institute

Catching cybercriminals is a difficult task even in the best of times. It requires strong cooperation between states and investigative bodies. In a time of global crisis, states and institutions are struggling to keep up with their normal duties, let alone the sharp increase in malicious cyber activity. Therefore, it is up to you, as a digital citizen, to do your part to stop the spread of Infodemics and to counter cyberattacks. Much like how each person can contribute to stopping the spread of corona virus, so too can your actions online help to stop the spread of online, digital viruses.

To this end, the CyberPeace Institute is here to help you to reinforce and augment the digital skills you already have. Here are a few steps you can take to help us in our mission to stop the Infodemic and to counter cyberattacks:

1.    STOP: Be a cyber watchdog to stop the threat

Malware can hide inside a message, an image, a link or an attachment — in email, texts, group chats…wherever you receive them. 

Don’t hover over or click on links that come from unknown or unusual sources. Don’t open attachments from unfamiliar senders or if the subject line is questionable. Don’t open pictures or play videos without verifying files with antivirus software.

2.    INVESTIGATE: Be a cyber analyst to validate the source

Knowing the senders doesn’t mean that the message is safe as it could still carry malware.

Do a quick search to cross-reference the claims via multiple sources. When possible, trace them back to the original source. Ask yourself: why did I receive this? Did I initiate this conversation? If not, don’t open it. For example, why is the WHO or National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sending you an unsolicited email rather than going through official channels. Be extra cautious if the text feels machine-translated, has typos, and/or poor grammar.

3.    CONTAIN: Be a cyber citizen and keep your community safe

The rule of thumb: if you are not sure about the content, don’t share it. 

Don’t spread anything that doesn’t add up, it could lead to cyberattacks. Don’t re-tweet or forward anything you don’t trust. It may not seem like it, but these actions help to facilitate cyberattacks. Don’t be the one who spreads the virus.

4.    REPORT: Be a cyber guardian and report the attacks.

Cyberattacks happen every day, most of them are never reported. Don’t let the bad guys get away with it. Report attacks on official platforms. It prevents others from being targeted.Reports help to build cases against attackers and hold them responsible. Your actions make a difference. Spread the word about good practices.

We are following these steps, but much like social distancing and self-isolation, it requires more than a selected few to partake in order to have a real positive impact. We believe that these steps can be followed by anyone with an online presence, and when operationalized can reduce the spread of cyberattacks and malicious activities.

Here at the CyberPeace Institute we understand how difficult it can be to navigate the cyber field, but that’s why we’re here to help! We are engaging with experts to get recommendations, best practices and actionable insights to share with you.

Check out our resources online and follow our latest series of CyberPeace Labs — Infodemic: A Threat to Cyberpeace.

Stay tuned and join the CyberPeace Institute in its efforts to #StopInfodemic!

The CyberPeace Institute is an independent, non-profit organization with the mission to enhance the stability of cyberspace. It does so by supporting vulnerable communities, analysing attacks collaboratively, and advancing responsible behaviour in cyberspace.

Copyright: The CyberPeace Institute

© Copyright 2023: The concepts and information contained in this document are the property of the CyberPeace Institute, an independent non-governmental organization headquartered in Geneva, unless indicated otherwise from time to time throughout the document. This document may be reproduced, in whole or in part, provided that the CyberPeace Institute is referenced as author and copyright holder.


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