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Russians Could Spread Chaos Through Cyberattacks On Everyday Americans

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)- Thousands of miles away in Colorado, it's easy to think the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a European problem, but just like the internet can give you a front-row seat to the fighting, it can also expose you to cyberattacks.

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"Russia may well look to retaliate to the U.S. and Western allies as a response to economic sanctions," said Dr. Iain Boyd, the Director for The Center for National Security Initiatives at The University of Colorado Boulder. He says Russia may think annoying, inconveniencing and attacking the American public will ease the burden placed on the by the West.

"They would like to put pressure on the U.S. government to relax those or remove those sanctions," he says.

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It's not just hard targets like financial institutions, defense companies, large-scale infrastructure, utilities, or large companies that should be concerned. Dr. Boyd says cyber attackers will go after soft targets like schools, media companies and even individuals to sew as much chaos as possible.

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Luckily you are your own best line of defense. Boyd says make sure you have up to date malware and antivirus software on your computer, enable two factor authentications for your accounts, back up your files, change your passwords often and be careful what links you click on even if it seems legit. Cyber terrorists have gotten good at mimicking real companies.

"I know that probably sounds like a lot of extra work for people but I think the more of these steps that people can take the safer we all will be," Boyd says.

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