Online Security Tips
Online Security Tips
Hackers are increasingly using technology to quickly learn about you by collecting information that is available on the internet. This information may be available because you or family members use social media or other online sources. By adding complexity to a hacker’s mission you may divert them to an easier target. With that in mind, you may want to consider the following:
- Currently password recommendations are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols with 14 characters. A combination of upper and lowercase letters is best. In addition, a “passphrase” that makes little sense or using a foreign language as part of your password.
- Use multiple passwords for your sites. If you use social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn, do not use the same passwords or similar passwords that you use with your financial provider.
- Have unique passwords for email accounts. Do not use the same passwords for financial institutions.
- Do not store your password in an internet browser such as Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.
- Do not store your passwords in your contacts or unprotected application on your computer, or smartphone.
- Consider using one of many “vaults” that use encryption to protect this type of information. PC magazine’s article “The Best Password Managers for 2016” suggested several firms.
- Do not use your real name, company name, names found on your social media sights or common phrases.
2. Text Message Verification
“Two-Step Verification” is a highly recommended additional level of security. Each time you log-in you will receive a unique code through a text message to your phone that is used in combination with your password to access your account online. This is available with many email providers such as Google, as well as many financial institutions, including Fidelity. While utilizing the text messaging requires an additional step, it is designed to prevent a hacker from accessing your account. We have added this same type of security to our own firm’s network.
3. Email Security Report
Many email providers such as Google offer you the ability to set-up a security report that will let you monitor any other users on your account.
4. Public Computers
Do not use public computers or hot spots to log into your financial accounts or any sites that contain your personal information. Hackers can capture your keystrokes and steal your passwords through these unprotected sites.
5. Malicious Applications
Be careful of the applications you download to your iPhone or personal device. Games in particular can contain malicious programs that monitor your key strokes to capture passwords.
6. Kids’ Computer
You may want to think of having a computer for the kids’ games separate from any computer on your home network with financial information.
Make sure your anti-virus software is kept up to date on your computer.
8. Flash Drives
Flash drives can be easily stolen and can also transfer a virus to your computer. Consider encrypting your flash drive with a password to save sensitive documents.
Remember to log-out of computers and financial sites; leaving them open gives hackers more time to access data.
10. Identity Theft Services
You may want to consider a subscription to one of the identity theft services of a credit monitoring agency. Some of the top providers are: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. For a small fee they can “lock-down” access to your credit profile which can prevent a thief from opening an account in your name.
11. Send an Alert
It is important that if you suspect your data has been compromised to make sure you alert SWP and all of your financial providers as soon as possible. There are steps that we can take to minimize the exposure of your personal information.
12. Windows XP
If you are running Windows XP on your home computer; be aware that it is no longer supported by Microsoft and, therefore, will be more susceptible to hackers. Look to replace or upgrade your version of Windows.
Data Sharing Tips
Sharing information through a plain text email may not be as secure as once thought to be. When using a third-party email providers like Gmail or Outlook, your emails are on a server that is not yours, and could potentially be read by someone other than the recipient. So what are your options for sharing sensitive documents securely?
Faxing a document is secure in that the data is sent over a phone line, however, here are some things you may want to consider:
- Utilize electronic fax services to prevent somebody from intercepting the printed document.
- Clear the memory from the fax machine to prevent somebody from accessing the documents
2. Encrypted Document
Microsoft Office offers the ability to encrypt a document, so that accessing the document requires a password. For steps on how to encrypt a document in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, follow the link below that corresponds to the version of your software:
3. Encrypted Link
An encrypted link allows for documents to be shared from a vault to a recipient through an email, and requires access only using a password.
A vault (or a “virtual data room”) is a cloud-based repository that allows for storing and sharing documents securely. We currently utilize the vault capabilities of ShareFile with some of our partners and clients – but recent enhancements by Black Diamond provide you access to a new vault linked to you Black Diamond reporting account. Please contact your Portfolio Administrator if you are interested in learning more about the vault.
Strategic Wealth Partners (“SWP) is an SEC registered investment adviser with its principal place of business in the State of Illinois. SEC registration does not constitute an endorsement of the firm by the Commission nor does it indicate that the adviser has attained a particular level of skill or ability. For additional information about SWP, including fees and services, send for our Disclosure Brochure. Please read the Disclosure Brochure carefully before you invest or send money.