Broker Check

Don’t be a Victim - Staying Secure in a Digital World

| September 05, 2023

Cyber Security. We all know we need it. Unfortunately, as our society continues to be more digitally connected, it creates a breeding ground for heightened criminal activity. The growing pool of personal and financial data being stored and transferred online exposes each of us to a significant threat of cybercrime. 

While there's no easy fix for keeping your data 100% secure, there are things you can do to deter criminals. Here are some basic (but essential) tips to keep your information and online accounts safe.

Keep your machine updated. Enable auto-updates for both your operating system and browser. This minimizes the window of opportunity hackers have to sneak in.

Use a VPN. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used not only to shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, but also to access home networks when traveling. It can also protect your logins on questionable networks.

When in doubt, throw it out. Before clicking on any questionable link, "preview" the address by hovering your cursor over the link. The URL (web address) should appear in the window's lower-left corner. Examine it carefully for odd spellings or other inconsistencies; if it doesn't look the way you think it should, do not click the link. If you have ANY doubts about hyperlinks or attachments within emails or social media messages, delete them. Instead, go directly to the company's website or the person who claimed to send it to determine its legitimacy.

Make your passwords secure. Your passwords should be lengthy and difficult to guess. If your biggest problem is remembering them, start using passphrases or a password manager (a password manager is a program/app that stores and manages passwords for you). Do NOT use the same password to access all your different accounts and sites; create unique passwords for each location.

Back up your data regularly. Data backup allows you to restore corrupted, lost, or stolen data due to computer viruses or damage. If you worry you'll forget to backup data regularly, you can pay for an automated service like Carbonite, iDrive or Backblaze.

Protect. Installing security software is essential, and enabling it to be auto-updated is a must. Whether on your smartphone, gaming system, or other web-enabled devices, anything that connects to the Internet needs protection. Programs like Norton, McAfee, ScanGuard, and others are simple to install and can help prevent viruses from hijacking your device.

And don't forget, everyone in your household needs the same amount of cyber security. As soon as they're allowed access to the Internet, your kids should be taught safety protocol and best practices. Each family member should take the same precautions to keep their information safe. Taking extra precautions now can help prevent headaches later!

We hope you found this information useful. If you have questions about how we protect client data and information, just give us a call.