While it may be too late for New Year's resolutions for 2017, it is not too late to better manage a financial risk we are all exposed to, cybersecurity. Whether due to the claims of hacking during the Presidential election or the Sony Studios hack of 2015, cyber-security is certainly front page news. While we are certainly not IT experts, cyber security is top of mind at Woodmont as we help clients manage financial risks.
With this in mind, we want to offer five quick steps you can take to improve your cyber-security and awareness.
1. Change your default WIFI password - Perhaps like many, you unboxed that new Wi-Fi router three years ago, plugged it in and have not touched it since. Take five minutes to Google the make/model of your router and change its password from the default password.
2. Turn on 2-factor authentication for your email account - Your email account has become the de-facto gateway to your virtual identity. Need to reset a password for your online banking - chances are they are going to email you a link to it. 2 Factor authentication sends you a text message each time you login to your email account. It is an additional way to secure your email account.
3. Lock your phone - Admittedly, we were slow to adopt this one, but finger print readers have become fast enough that it is no longer an inconvenience to use. You can also use a PIN to lock - but consider something stronger than 1234 or something that is an easy Google search
4. Use a password manager - We all have way too many usernames and passwords to remember, so we comprise and use the same password multiple times. Unfortunately, that means that your data is subject to access through the website with the weakest security in your list. With the average internet user having over 100 logins, it is only a matter of when not if, one is compromised. A password manager allows you to use individualized passwords for each account. Check out this post from Business Insider for more information about how these services work and three of the most common options.
5. Be wary of Free Wi-Fi - Just because the Wi-Fi at the local coffee house is free to login, does not mean you should act the same there as you do at home. Free Wi-Fi networks are unencrypted, meaning you actions are viewable to all on the network. Do not login to online banking or other sensitive websites while sipping your latte.
These are by no means an exhaustive list of steps you can take, but consider it a good first step to improving your cyber-security.