By Ash Toumayants
Does it seem like lately there are more news updates about hackers and breaches in security? With the rise in how dependent our culture is on technology, there are more opportunities for personal information to get compromised. On top of that, average households are using more than one device on a given day, which also increases the need for protection against cyber attacks.
This can seem like really daunting and unknown territory for most of us, and rightly so. Before you start thinking about freezing your credit and stop using the internet, just remember that one of the best things we can do is get educated about what cyber attacks are and how to prevent them from happening. Sound good? Let’s get started.
What Are Cyber Attacks?
Let me start by saying that although cyber attacks are not something to take lightly, they can be easily prevented with the right information.
Cyber attacks are malicious attempts to access or damage a device’s data, including computers, phones, gaming devices, printers, and other devices. If the hacker succeeds, they could access your personal information and the capability to block access or delete your personal documents and pictures. (1) With this information, they could potentially steal your identity, money, or credit, damage your reputation, or jeopardize your safety.
All right, those are things we do not want to happen, so let’s go to the part where I mentioned they can be prevented! To make sure you are using best practices to protect yourself from hackers, let’s look at 3 simple things you can do to ensure your safety.
1. Keep Passwords Secure
This is probably something you’ve heard before and are reluctant to do, right? Most of us have a hard time changing passwords because it’s frustrating to go through the password recovery process if you forget your new secure password instead of the password you use for everything.
Since passwords should be regularly updated and not include common words, phrases, or personal information, try using a password management app or software. (2) They take all the pressure off you to remember every single password or have them written down somewhere.
These apps serve as a password bank where you can store all your passwords and login information in one spot. The best part is that you only have to remember one master password to access the rest. Here are a few to choose from that can automatically generate secure passwords, store any personal information, and autofill your login and passwords for all the sites you have stored in the system:
- Sticky Password
- 1Password (3)
2. Check Before Opening Links And Attachments
A great habit to get into is to never open links or attachments from a retailer or unknown sender before checking with them. Most authentic businesses won’t send attachments, so if it looks slightly suspicious, just call or email the sender through their official site and see if they sent you the email.
When you click links or download attachments, you are exposed to malware. (4) This is essentially a virus for all your devices and is a gateway for the hacker to get you to enter credit card information or other information they can use to steal your identity.
3. Keep Your Software Systems Up To Date
Taking a couple minutes to make sure you have virus protection and are keeping all your software systems updated can make a huge difference. Since there are constant changes, upgrades, and ways that businesses and banking software try to make their systems more secure, we should be proactive about installing them.
Are Your Finances And Personal Information Protected?
Having peace of mind about the safety of your personal information and financial situation is invaluable. A good financial plan includes limiting your exposure to cyber attacks, since most of these attacks target accessing your money or investments in some way.
We at Strong Tower Associates would be honored to conduct a risk assessment to make sure your financial portfolio is secure and being managed well. Get in touch by calling 814-325-9806 or emailing [email protected]. Or, if you prefer, you can now quickly and easily click here to request a meeting using our online system!
Ash Toumayants is a financial advisor and the founder of Strong Tower Associates. For over a decade, he has helped hardworking people across Central Pennsylvania prepare for retirement. Fueled by a passion for helping people see through the veil of confusion that shrouds the financial world, his goal is to educate his clients so they can make more sound choices regarding their financial future. A Penn State graduate, he currently lives in State College with his lovely wife, Noelle, and their four adorable children. Learn more by connecting with Ash on LinkedIn or emailing [email protected].
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