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Arizona's Director of Homeland Security urges protection against Russian cyber-attacks

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Posted at 9:28 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 01:40:25-04

PHOENIX — ‘Concerned' is the word from the FBI, warning each day, the chance of Russian cyber-attacks against critical U.S. infrastructure grows as the war in Ukraine continues. ABC15 is looking into how we can protect ourselves during a potential cyber-attack.

The Director of Arizona’s Department of Homeland Security tells us no target is too small.

The first thing Arizonans should know about cybersecurity: "That it's a huge threat. There has never been a larger threat than what we are faced with right now,” said Tim Roemer, Director of Arizona’s Department of Homeland Security.

Top of mind, for Roemer, is the possibility of Russian cyber-attacks.

"There probably isn't anything holding them back from doing anything on cybersecurity. Who knows what they will do? We must be prepared for the worst and hope for the best," added Roemer.

Roemer is urging everyday Arizonans to take things seriously which includes having things like multi-factor authentication on all personal accounts.

As for passwords, he says there's been a shift in best practices.

"For a long period of time, cybersecurity professionals were saying we want really complex passwords, so use the special characters and numbers,” added Roemer. “Use letters, use uppercase, and use lowercase."

But, now, Roemer says the length of passwords actually beats complexity.

"It's harder to guess. It is harder to crack into with hacking tools. So, pick a phrase that's important to you that is easy to remember and utilize that. It might be easier for people to remember, and they won't have to change the password as much,” added Roemer.

A board in the halls of the AZDHS plays a big part. It shows how many threats are blocked.

Roemer says that number is not the one the investigators are necessarily paying attention to the most.

"The number, overall, does not necessarily signify the significance itself. Our team has to analyze that,” added Roemer.

He says it is now all about watching, waiting, and being prepared.