As a financial services company, we prioritize cybersecurity to protect our clients from hacks to the greatest extent possible. But cybersecurity is a team effort, so it also requires our individual clients to take necessary precautions and follow best practices.
With global cybercrime projected to cost individuals and businesses as much as $10.5 trillion per year by 2025, cybersecurity concerns aren’t going anywhere. Your best defense is personal vigilance when it comes to your own online behavior.
Here are some of the best cybersecurity tips to protect yourself and your financial assets from falling victim to cyber crimes.
CYBERSECURITY TIPS: HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
As a private consumer, the best way to protect yourself against cybersecurity threats is through your own behaviors and risk mitigation. Businesses like ours depend on clients and end-users, so if they aren’t practicing online safety to prevent security breaches, it can end up affecting our own online business presence.
Fortunately, the best practices for online cybersecurity safety are straightforward and easy to apply to your daily life. They include:
Never click on an email link you can’t trust.
Check the sender’s email address to verify their identity prior to clicking on any links. Additionally, because phishing emails are able to spoof a sender’s name, double-check any hyperlinks in the email by hovering over them with your cursor. As you hover over the link, the bottom of your browser will show the actual website you will be redirected to. If any link seems suspicious or you’re unsure why you’re supposed to click it, play it safe and pass on the click.
Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a simple but effective safeguard that protects your online accounts from the threat of password hacks.
Look out for signs of phishing and ransomware.
Suspicious emails, unauthorized or suspicious login activity, and software security program alerts are some of the most common ways phishing and ransomware attacks are detected and prevented.
Install software updates and patches on your devices.
Many software and operating system updates include security updates that protect your devices against the latest cyberthreats. Installing updates and patches is one of the simplest and most effective ways to minimize your risk of becoming a cybercrime victim.
Never share your account numbers, SSN, or other personal information online.
If a hacker gets into your email, texts, or other communication channels, they can use this information to access your accounts and even steal your identity.
Call your financial services provider when you’re unsure about a request.
At Prudent, we never initiate asset transfers or withdrawals without confirming your request. Don’t hesitate to call us if you see suspicious activity or just want to verify the validity of communications or requests coming from our office.
Look out for attempts at social engineering.
Many times, accounts are hacked through social engineering rather than phishing or brute force password cracks. With social engineering, an attacker uses human interaction to obtain sensitive and compromising information. The attacker may pose as a helpful employee, researcher, or bank representative, so be extremely suspicious of unsolicited calls, visits, or email messages and verify the representative’s identity directly with the company before continuing the conversation.
Can I Buy Cybersecurity Insurance?
Although some insurance providers offer cybersecurity insurance to limit liability for businesses facing potential cyberattacks, individual consumers generally do not have access to these policies.
Regulatory protections—such as Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) coverage—offer some insurance against losses suffered by clients of banks and investment brokers. For the most part though, private investors and consumers only have limited protections in the event of security breaches and stolen funds.
This makes it all the more important to maintain good cybersecurity prevention practices.
What To Do If You Think You’ve Been Hacked
One of the dangers of cybersecurity breaches is that consumers and even businesses often don’t realize they’ve been hacked until they’ve had sensitive data or assets stolen.
If you believe your accounts or private information have been compromised, quickly take action to mitigate the extent of any losses you may suffer. Start with the following steps:
1. Notify your bank and financial services providers immediately.
These institutions may be able to take actions to protect your accounts, such as freezing accounts and assets, resetting your password, or stopping withdrawals and transfers.
2. Change all of your passwords.
When your password has been compromised, create completely new passwords for all of your accounts to close off access. Hackers may have access to databases of passwords from prior security leaks, so it is important to choose passwords that you have not used before.
3. Activate two-factor authentication whenever possible.
If you aren’t using 2FA for your email, financial logins, and other important accounts, you need to. Enabling this security feature will make it much tougher for cybercriminals to gain access to your accounts—even if they do figure out your passwords.
4. Determine where and how the breach occurred.
By identifying the cause of the security breach, you can take corrective and preventive actions to avoid similar breaches in the future. Begin by using antivirus or malware software on both your computer and mobile phone to locate any intrusions. Also, check your email and social media for any unauthorized messages that may have been sent out.
Protect Your Information and Your Finances
No amount of security and risk mitigation can fully protect you from potential cyber crimes. But the right mix of simple cybersecurity tips, security measures, and safe online behaviors can greatly reduce the likelihood of these breaches and the potential damage they can inflict on your assets.
While you protect your assets from cybersecurity threats, Prudent Investors will Create Your Future Today and protect your finances from the consequences of poor financial planning. Contact us today to learn more about our services and discuss a financial plan that is in line with your needs.