Proactive Habits to Reduce Your Risk of a Cyber Breach
Many folks depend on the internet for work, social contact, information, and entertainment. The more you use the internet, the more you should defend your privacy from outside attacks.
The pandemic has heightened the cyber vulnerabilities of many people who have been working from home. By taking these four steps, you can reduce your risk of a cybersecurity breach that can steal your identity and drain your accounts.
Avoid weak and non-unique passwords. Hackers count on their victims using the same passwords for many logins. When thieves breach one source of usernames and passwords, they apply the same combination to other accounts. You can protect yourself by using an encrypted password vault and assigning a unique, long, and random password to each account. Specify two-factor identification on all your logins, in which you enter a one-time code sent to you via messaging or email. Encrypt your internet communications and your files.
Secure your hardware and software. Security is critical if you work from home. Place long, unique passwords on your router and modem, and change them periodically. Use auto-locks to protect your devices if you leave them unattended for a few minutes. Additionally, encrypt all your devices to protect their privacy if lost or stolen. Use a virtual private network (VPN), which encrypts your internet traffic whenever you go onto a Wi-Fi network. Deploy and configure the best anti-malware program you can afford—it should contain features to defeat viruses, trojans, phishing emails, bots, and unwanted applications. A good security measure is to have separate work and personal computers to help protect your confidential data and provide a backup if one computer fails.
Keep your software up to date. Your operating system may release many updates throughout the year so you will want to ensure your computer updates these automatically. Doing so will ensure you have the latest releases, which often include security updates. In addition, check your other programs for updates. Frequently check your anti-malware software to ensure it is up to date.
Share information carefully. Phishing emails try to elicit your personal information by planting malware on your device when you click on an email message. Rather than clicking on any links, open a new tab and visit the website of any email that asks for a response. This precaution will quickly confirm whether the email was legitimate. Also, some programs, such as those for troubleshooting problems on your computer, give access to a remote system to control your device. Ensure you close all other programs before granting access and stand ready to terminate the connection if anything seems suspicious. Finally, limit access to your social accounts to “friends and members only.”
Identity theft can be devastating. Hackers can be ruthless and may still get access to your personal information despite all your best efforts. If you learn you’re the victim of identity theft, please get in touch with me at once. We can review your financial accounts and take the necessary steps to limit and remediate the financial damage that can accompany identity theft.
Lean on me. As a financial professional, I’m here to help you with your financial goals. If money management has you flustered, call me for an appointment. Together, we can work out strategies to save you time, lighten your load, and help you implement your financial plans.
Wherever your goals take you, we can help you get there. We help our clients to navigate these and other important decisions that impact their economic future.
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This material was prepared for Chris Larkin and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party or their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note—investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.