8 Tips for Cybersecurity Readiness
We are more connected to technology than ever before. We can get our news the moment it happens. We can learn about complex subjects from information sources around the world, and we can run errands, do our banking and shopping without leaving home. We share ideas and keep in touch with family and friends, no matter their location. All of this is due, in part, to cyber technology. Yet for all of its advantages, increased connectivity brings increased risk of theft, fraud, and abuse.
Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and cybercriminals continue to develop insidious ways to breach networks. Cybercriminals use sophisticated techniques to appear legitimate. They pose as friends or family members, banks, charities, mortgage vendors, and even health care and low-cost prescription providers to steal information in order to conduct identity theft, phishing schemes, credit card fraud, and more. A breach can lead to online fraud, identity theft, and takeover of your bank accounts. Fraud committed against consumer bank accounts is a growing threat and cybercriminals can drain funds from your bank account in minutes.
Tradition Wealth Management is dedicated and committed to educating our clients about ways to protect your identity and personal information. Identifying cyberattacks, making safer and smarter decisions online can be as simple as following these eight tips for cybersecurity readiness.
1. Smartphone or Tablet
Take precautions with your tablet or smartphone. Consider opting for automatic updates for your device’s operating system and “apps” applications) when they become available to help reduce your vulnerability to software problems. Never leave your mobile device unattended and always be aware of your surroundings. Use a password or other security feature to restrict access in case your device is lost or stolen. Make sure you enable the “timeout” or “auto-lock” feature that secures your mobile device when it is left unused for a certain period of time. Research any app before downloading it. Consult your financial institution’s website to confirm where to download its official mobile application.
2. Protect Your Computer
Install software that protects against malware, or malicious software, which can access a computer system without your consent to steal passwords or account numbers. Also, use a firewall program to prevent unauthorized access to your PC. Install and regularly update the security programs on your computer, such as antivirus, and antispyware. These programs can help to protect the information on your computer and can be purchased from software companies on the web or at your local office supply store.
Choose a password that means something to you and you only. Use strong passwords with eight characters or more that use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols.
4. Social Networking
If you use social networking sites such as Facebook, be sure to limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely. Cybercriminals use social networking sites to gather details about individuals, such as their place or date of birth, a pet’s name, their mother’s maiden name, and other information that can help them figure out passwords — or how to reset them. Don’t share access to your information with anyone you don’t know and trust. Cybercriminals may pretend to be your friend to convince you to send money or divulge personal information.
5. Multifactor Authentication
Use the strongest method available to login to financial accounts. Use the strongest authentication offered, especially for high-risk transactions. Use passwords that are difficult to guess and keep them secret. Create strong user IDs and passwords for your computers, mobile devices, and online accounts by using combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols that are hard to guess and then change them regularly. Although using the same password or PIN for several accounts can be tempting, doing so means a criminal who obtains one password or PIN can login to other accounts.
6. Connecting to the Internet
Be careful where and how you connect to the internet. Only access the internet for banking or for other activities that involve personal information using your own laptop or mobile device through a known, trusted, and secure connection. A public computer, such as at a hotel business center or public library, and free Wi-Fi networks are not necessarily secure. It can be relatively easy for cybercriminals to intercept the internet traffic in these locations.
7. Beware of Suspicious Emails
Be suspicious of unsolicited emails asking you to click on a link, download an attachment, or provide account information. It’s easy for cybercriminals to copy the logo of a reputable company or organization into a phishing email. When responding to a simple request, you may be installing malware. Also, avoid opening attachments or responding to email messages from unknown senders or companies that ask for your personal information. Your safest strategy is to ignore unsolicited requests, no matter how legitimate or enticing they appear.
8. Secure Websites
Understand internet safety features. You can have greater confidence that a website is authentic and that it encrypts (scrambles) your information during transmission if the website address starts with “https://.” Also, be sure that you are logged out of financial accounts when you complete your transactions or walk away from the computer. To learn about additional safety steps, review your web browser’s user instructions.
Additional resources: Scwhab Cybersecurity Awareness
Advisory Services offered through Tradition Wealth Management, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Concourse Financial Group Securities, a Registered Broker/Dealer and Member of FINRA/SIPC. Tradition Wealth Management, LLC, is independent of Concourse Financial Group Securities, Inc. TWM and its representatives are in compliance with the current registration requirements imposed upon registered investment advisers by the SEC and those states in which TWM maintains clients. TWM may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed, or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from notice filing requirements. TWM is neither an attorney nor an accountant, and no portion of the website content should be interpreted as legal, accounting or tax advice.