During a recent conference, a session was held on cybersecurity threats and best practices. The following is a summary of several points likely to benefit you.
- Strong Passwords. Many of the more famous hackers were perpetrated because the passwords were easy to guess. Many custodians now offer voice-passwords and 2-factor authentication to better secure your accounts. Contact them to take advantage of either opportunity.
- Email isn't safe. Don’t send anything in an email that you wouldn't want on a postcard. In other words, don't send sensitive documents via email. Using a firm’s document vault or secure email are ideal alternatives.
- Phishing awareness. The latest scam is sending an email looking like it is from your custodian stating they detected unusual activity on your account. You are asked to login to confirm certain transactions. The next screen is a duplicate of the custodian’s website except all it is doing is capturing your login information. Just be aware.
- Install updates timely. Frequently, security patches are part of Windows / Apple updates. Most hacks happen on devices with outdated versions of software.
- Destroy completely or wipe clean hard drives of old pcs. People are replacing devices at faster rates than in the past leading to more being thrown away. Make sure the hard drive can't be recovered potentially exposing confidential financial information enabling a hack of your accounts.
Even at our firm, two families' email accounts have been hacked, the hacker discovered I was the family’s advisor and sent me an email requesting money. Fortunately, I know them too well so action was taken immediately to secure their accounts, but the threat is real.
Hope you will take one step to secure your information beyond what it is today.