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How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack 101

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These days, you can read survival blogs, chat with people halfway around the world, and stay updated on the news using just your smartphone. 

But this convenience comes at a price.

With the digital footprint you’re leaving, you’re not only jeopardizing your gadgets. You’re also exposing yourself to serious privacy and cybersecurity threats. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to prepare for a cyber attack and what to expect from one. Let’s get started:

5 Common Cybersecurity Threats

Hackers will use any opportunity to weasel their way into your personal data. This is known as a cyber attack. They’ll use your data to transfer money to their accounts, steal your identity, or sell your information to spiteful people.

Other times, though, these bad guys don’t need a reason to hack your smartphone or laptop. They do it just because they can.     

If you don’t want to fall victim to a cyber attack, then you better familiarize yourself with these common cybersecurity threats:

Malware 

Malware is an umbrella term used to describe any software that interferes with a server, network, or computer. It literally means malicious software.

When you click on a link or attachment that has malware, you’ll install software that can:

  • Corrupt or delete files
  • Download other dangerous software
  • Slow down your device
  • Send spam to your contacts

…and the list goes on. 

Ransomware

You can fall victim to ransomware if you download files from a sketchy website or an email. This type of digital security threat locks your computer or the files stored in it. It’s called ransomware because the hacker holds your data hostage till you cough up the ransom money. Ideally, they’ll tell you how to reclaim your access after they receive the cash. 

But remember who you’re dealing with.

Even if you give in to their demands, gaining back control of your computer isn’t a guarantee. You can end up getting fooled twice.      

Breached Passwords 

Passwords are everywhere these days. Screen locks, the PIN to your ATM, the code to your home alarm system—you name it. 

They’re designed to protect important data yet can be so easy to crack, making them a prime target among cybercriminals. 

Hackers have several methods of guessing their victims’ passwords, such as:

  • Dictionary attack: They’ll use common words and phrases to enter your account.   
  • Brute force attack:  Here, a hacker guesses your password using information like your name, birthday, dog’s name, or any random details they can grab from your social media accounts. 
  • Wireless transmission intercepts: The hacker takes advantage of an unencrypted network to steal passwords.   

Phishing

In a phishing scam, someone baits you into downloading malware or revealing your login credentials, credit card number, or other confidential data. These digital security threats typically come in the form of emails. They trick you into believing they’re from a legit business.   

People fall for phishing because the emails look like the real deal. Wouldn’t you be alarmed if your “bank” emailed you to update your account or else lose access? It’ll make a lot of folks click on the link, that’s for sure. 

Man in the Middle (MITM) Attacks

A MITM attack involves two people, electronic devices (or a network), and one sneaky eavesdropper. This eavesdropper is the man in the middle. 

Let’s say you’re chatting with a buddy to discuss your next EDC purchase. You don’t think anything out of the ordinary is going on. But before your friend gets your next message, the hacker alters it. Your pal may think it’s you and do whatever the message tells them to.   

These are just some of the digital security threats you should watch out for. There’s way more, but the ones we mentioned should give you a decent understanding of why you should take cybersecurity seriously.

So, How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack?

Good news: you don’t need to be a computer genius to know how protect yourself from cyber attacks. 

All it takes to boost your digital security is a few simple steps, like:

Avoiding Dubious Sites

The World Wide Web is full of dodgy websites. You might visit one when you make a small typo on the URL bar or click on a shortened link from Twitter. 

Here are some ways to spot a seedy site:

  • Search engine warnings: If you click on a link, and your search engine warns you that it’s dangerous, take its advice and don’t enter the site. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Check if it uses HTTPS: Legit websites don’t use HTTP, which isn’t encrypted. Just look for a lock icon on the URL bar.
  • Find the privacy policy: A privacy policy tells you how the website gathers and uses your information. Don’t share any data if you haven’t understood their policy.
  • Aggressive pop-ups: If the site keeps showing pop-ups to download an app or scan for a virus, leave it right away. You could click on one by accident and download a virus.     

Being Smart with Your Passwords

Your password may not be Password123, but it should be a little more sophisticated than your birthday or a family member’s name. Make it extra challenging for hackers to crack. 

Keep these password security tips in mind:

  • Use a long password. The longer your password, the longer it’ll take the hacker to breach your account.
  • Don’t let it make sense. Avoid grammatical phrases. Use random word combinations. Replace vowels with symbols. Add numbers and both uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Don’t use the same password for everything. In the unlikely event someone finds out your password, all your online accounts will be compromised.
  • Update your passwords regularly. If your phone or laptop gets stolen, a stranger can log in to your social media, email, and online banking apps. Changing your passwords every few months can prevent these digital security threats from happening.  
  • Don’t list down your passwords for all to see. You can’t possibly memorize all your passwords, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to keep your password cheat sheet on a piece of paper or your phone’s note app. 

One more piece of advice? Opt for two-factor authentication whenever possible for an added layer of defense. 

Keeping Your Operating Systems and Apps Up-to-Date

Look, we hate this as much as you do. The notifications are irritating, and most of the time, you prefer how your phone or app looked before the update. 

Still, it’s a necessary evil. App and operating system developers may discover a threat that endangers your digital security. Releasing a patch is their way of quashing it. If you keep ignoring the alerts, you’re leaving yourself open to cybersecurity threats.   

Installing Antivirus Software

Antivirus software hunts down viruses and other malicious software that can be lurking in your computer. Then, it nips ‘em in the bud. It’s like the motion sensor lights and prickly shrubs that keep intruders out of your house

On a budget? You don’t have to worry about spending hundreds of dollars on antivirus software. Free versions already offer a decent level of protection, with just some limitations. Here’s a guide that can help you pick the best antivirus software for your needs.    

Staying Away from Public Wi-Fi

how to prepare for a cyber attack? avoid using public wifi.

When you use free Wi-Fi, you’re giving hackers an open invitation to spy on your online activity and steal your data. You don’t have any guarantee that it’s secure. Folks who ask for the Wi-Fi password every time they visit coffee shops don’t realize this.

If you really have to browse the net while you’re outside, use mobile data instead or get a VPN.

Getting a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts your data and disguises your location when you’re browsing the internet. With a VPN, you can shop for emergency essentials like tactical gloves and read up on disaster prepping without leaving a digital trace. 

Examining Emails Carefully

Obviously, if you get an email congratulating you for winning $10,000, you’ll know it’s total BS. 

Yet, some phishing emails are pretty darn convincing. How can you tell they’re scams? Keep an eye out for the following before you click anything:

  • Spelling mistakes
  • Grammar errors
  • Sketchy email address
  • Suspicious links or attachments 

Also, remember that legit companies will NEVER ask for passwords and other personal information. 

Final Thoughts

Cybersecurity threats will always be around.

You can’t avoid them entirely even if you live off the grid, as the world continues to embrace technology. How else can you buy your urban survival gear, right?

But you CAN think before you click, install antivirus software, and use unique passwords. These are simple digital security measures, yet they do a bang-up job of defending you from cybercriminals.   

We hope this article teaches you how to prepare for a cyber attack! If you liked what you read, feel free to share it with your friends. 

Source link: https://www.tactical.com/how-to-prepare-for-a-cyber-attack/ by Mel C at www.tactical.com

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Family

Getting More From Your Garden: Preserving Your Home Harvest

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Home gardens are fun, but they can also be delicious if you’re growing things that you and your family can eat. Too many home gardeners, however, are content to have a ton of tomatoes that last a week and then give the rest away – or worse than that, throw them out when they go bad.

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

Homesteading Handbook

You can keep as much of your garden harvest as you like, give as much away as you like and throw out as much as you like. All you have to do is know how to prepare and store your harvest for long-term preservation. Once you learn how to do these, it’s going to make your harvest time much more satisfying. 

It’s Your Jam

If you’re growing fruit and not making jams, jellies and preserves out of it, you don’t know what you’re missing. Like a lot of other freshly grown foods, eating homemade jams and comparing them to what you’ve been eating from the supermarket is like you’re eating a completely different food. 

For those entrepreneurially minded, jams and jellies are great for selling at the local farmer’s market. So if you want to make a few bucks off of your home garden, this is a really easy way to start doing that.

Cure Your Vegetables

Your vegetables aren’t sick, but they might need a cure regardless. It’s not hard and doesn’t take it a lot of time, which makes it a very easy lift for someone who has a lot of veggies but not a lot of time. 

You have to wait until your vegetables are fully ripe before you cure them. Otherwise, they’re never going to get ripe. If you cure your vegetables properly they can last for weeks or months even if you don’t put them in the refrigerator. 

Homesteading Handbook

Dehydration Is Actually Your Friend

The main engine of vegetables going bad are fungus and bacteria. You can prevent this process by dehydrating your vegetables before they go bad. Some produce is much easier to dehydrate than others: If you want to dehydrate tomatoes, just slice them up, throw them on a sheet pan in the sun for a couple days, then store them.

For other fruits and vegetables you might need a dehydrator. Fortunately, these don’t cost much these days and can easily pay for themselves with all the produce that you save through the process. 

Can It Up

Canning is a great way to preserve just about every kind of food. You can can in either metal cans or in glass jars. The choice is yours, but the main thing you need to remember is that the main threat to canned food is botulism – and that can kill you or at least make you and your family extremely miserable. 

The good news about canning is that there are hundreds of centers across the country run by the Church of Latter-Day Saints where you can learn how to can without buying any equipment. Membership in their church is not required – all are welcome.

Ferment and Pickle Your Vegetables

One way to turn your veggies into something a little different is through fermenting and pickling. In the case of fermentation, there are also health benefits – fermented vegetables are great for your gut health. 

Unfortunately, however, fermented foods taste weird to some people. So pickles might be a better choice for you if you’re not into the taste of fermented foods. 

The Easy Way: Freezing

Of course, there’s always freezing your veggies. Your space might be limited here, however you probably already know how to freeze foods. You’ll want to prepare them specifically for the fruit or vegetables you plan on preserving. For example, some should be cooked, some should be chopped and others can just be thrown in the freezer. Look up whatever you’re looking to freeze before you freeze it.

Homesteading Handbook

There’s no reason for you to give away or waste your veggie garden when it’s time for harvest. With a combination of these methods, you can enjoy fresh-ish veggies all year long. 

What’s your favorite method for preserving your home garden for the long-term? What secrets have you picked up? Leave a comment below to help other homesteaders. 

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Emergency

Lone Wolves Won’t Make It: How To Build A Survival Community

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Forget an AR-15, an RPG or even a tank. The most powerful weapon you can have for a SHTF scenario is the community around you

In the event that the S does HTF, you’re not going to be able to rely on your contacts you made online. Maybe you can communicate with them with a ham radio, but they’re going to be too far away for them to offer much in the way of direct assistance at a time when you desperately need it.

This underscores the importance of making contacts in your immediate community and building a community of like-minded people who can immediately band together under dire circumstances. 

Lone Wolf? Why You Can’t Go It Alone

Too many in the survivalist and prepper communities think of themselves as “lone wolves.” This is fine if you’re building a homestead on your own during a time of relative peace, stability and plenty. 

Shockwave Mini

The issue comes in when the SHTF. This is when the rule of law will break down and it becomes every man for himself. No matter what you think about your ability to defend yourself and your family now, the simple fact is that you have a massive deterrent against crime in the form of a functioning criminal justice system and a supply chain that means there’s food down at the local grocery store.

What will happen when that all goes away? 

The short version is: absolute chaos. People will be doing absolutely anything they have to do to feed themselves and their families and obtain the other necessities of life. 

Now you might think you can take care of yourself… and maybe you can against one or two or even five attackers. The question is what your plan is for dealing with a gang of bikers 50 strong – or even eight guys with combat experience and knowledge of small squad tactics. In either of these situations, a lone wolf is about as good as dead. 

You need to connect with others, even if it’s a very small, tight-knit community that will have each others backs in the event the whole world goes sour. 

The Easy Way: Joining A Local Survivalist Community

Group of young people collects firewood together

Why build a community if there’s already one nearby?

Clearly, this isn’t the right option for everyone. However, if you live in an area with a survivalist community, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Now we called this “the easy way,” but a better way of putting it might be “the easier way.” Breaking into a survival community isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially if you’re new in town and don’t know anyone. Such communities are, understandably, close knit, closed off to outsiders and somewhat distrustful of new members.

With that said, once you earn the trust of a survival community, they can be not just a valuable asset with regard to your own personal survival. They can be an excellent source of support, camaraderie and even friendship that will last you your entire lifetime, whether the SHTF or not. 

Shockwave Mini

So how can you break into one of those existing communities?

The main thing is to make yourself capable and useful while also showing a willingness to learn and pitch in. These communities also highly value people with skill sets that do not yet exist in the community. It doesn’t matter if your skill set if graphic design and marketing – they can use that, especially if you’re willing to learn more “hands getting dirty” kinds of skills. 

Listen more than you speak. Be open to ideas even if they don’t quite make sense to you. If you can do that while being a valued contributor to the community, you can start making inroads in an already existing survival community.

The Hard Way: Building A Survival Community

The hard part about building a new survival community is finding the right people. They need to not just be like minded, but also have useful skills and, perhaps most importantly, be people whom you can trust in the event that the world turns into a massive game of dog-eat-dog and the devil take the hindmost. 

You can’t just go taking out ads in the local circular, nor can you put up a flier at the local supermarket.

The best way to find people is to get involved in communities with adjacent skills, or places where people might have interest in survivalism. Gun clubs can be a good place to start, as can political organizations, though it’s best to make your group non-political. Organic farming and other skills-based groups related to survivalism can likewise be good resources, such as the local DIY solar community. 

The main thing is to not go in, guns blazing as a loud and proud prepper. You need to cultivate contacts, gain people’s trust, be known as a normal guy and then just sort of casually bring up prepping topics and see who responds favorably.

A survival community can mean all the difference between life and death if the SHTF. In the meantime, it can act as a useful resource to pull from as you build out your prepper plan. It’s not easy and can take months or even years to accomplish. But you should absolutely be throwing your time, energy and resources at cultivating this kind of community.

Shockwave Mini

How have you built your local survivalist community? What “hacks” do you have for getting a community starter where there isn’t one?

Leave a comment below to help out other survivalists looking to build a community. 

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Emergency

Preserving Food for Winter: Time-Tested Methods for Flavorful and Nutrient-Rich Pantry Staples

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Winter is approaching, meaning the summer and fall harvests are just about done. Still, that doesn’t mean saying goodbye to fresh, delicious, and nutritious homegrown food until spring blooms anew. 

You can harness age-old techniques of food preservation, filling your pantry with flavorful, nutrient-rich staples to keep your winter meals healthy, hearty and satisfying. With food preservation techniques from smoking and canning to fermenting, you can savor the tastes of summer even in the coldest months.

Homesteading Handbook

Preserving Food For The Winter: The Art of Smoking

Smoking is a time-honored method for winter food preservation, infusing foods with rich, smoky flavors. Many people would smoke foods likemeats, fish, and cheese even if it didn’t keep them longer, just for the taste.

A quality smoker won’t cost you too much and it doesn’t really matter if it’s n offset smoker, electric smoker, or a traditional charcoal smoker. Choose your wood chips or chunks based on the type of flavor profile you want to infuse your food with.

You should also understand the difference between cold smoking and hot smoking. Cold smoking imparts flavor without cooking the food, making it the perfect choice for cheese and cured meats. On the other hand, hot smoking cooks the food while it flavors it.

Preserving Food For The Winter: Canning Your Food

You don’t have to rely on food canned from the grocery store. You can also can your own food at home. There are a number of different ways to do this for various kinds of food you’re looking to keep fresh for the winter season.

Homesteading Handbook

For example, water bath canning is the perfect choice for highly acidic  foods such as fruits, tomatoes, and pickles. On the other hand, pressure canning is the right choice for lower acidity foods like vegetables, meats, and poultry. 

You’ve probably never thought of it this way before, but pickling is also a form of canning. In this case, we will use vinegar or brine to preserve and flavor vegetables, fruits, and sometimes meats. You should experiment with various pickling recipes to create unique flavors for you and your family to enjoy. 

Preserving Food For Winter: Fermentation Of Foods

Fermentation is a natural process which can enhance the flavors and nutritional value of foods while also preserving them for long-term storage. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and sourdough bread are some of the more common kinds of fermented foods.

Beginners should invest in fermentation kits with airlocks. As you gain more experience, consider exploring more traditional methods, as well as the use of crocks and jars. Fermentation is both an art and a science. So you have to be patient while you experiment with different ingredients and techniques.

Preserving Food For Winter: Dehydration For Long-Term Storage

A food dehydrator is an excellent investment for removing moisture from fruits, vegetables, and herbs if you find that you enjoy those kinds of foods. However, you don’t need one to get started. You can also dehydrate foods right in the oven you already own or, in some cases, by air-drying.

If you want to dehydrate fruits and vegetables, slice your produce uniformly before arranging them on your dehydrator trays. Fruit leather can be made right at home by puréeing fruits and spreading the mixture thinly before drying.

It’s important to store dehydrated food properly. Store dehydrated foods should be stored in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags, which will prevent moisture from re-entering. Keep your dehydrated foods in a cool, dark place for the best preservation.

Preserving food for winter isn’t just about extending the shelf life of your favorite ingredients – though it is about that. However, it can also be a way to expand what you keep around by introducing new flavors into your pantry using the food preservation process. 

Homesteading Handbook

Smoking, canning, fermenting and dehydrating will offer you different options to ensure your pantry is stocked with a variety of food your family will want to eat. It can also be a fun hobby for the culinary master looking to break outside of just cooking on the stove – many of these are basically just “cold” cooking techniques. So, embrace the age-old wisdom of food preservation for winter and fill your pantry with unique tastes all winter long. 

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