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6 Cyber Security Tips

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As you manage your wealth and other aspects of your life online, be mindful of online threats. The markets and financial services are prime targets due to potential monetary rewards. Here are some suggestions to help you stay safer online.

1. Password Tips

Do's
✓ Do
 use strong passwords, at least 10 characters and containing a mixture of lower and upper case letters, numbers and characters.

✓ Do turn on two-factor authentication where available.

✓ Do use a password management software tool to safeguard and manage your distinct passwords.

✓ Do use strong, unique passwords for each of your sensitive logins, including retail and investment banking, brokerage, credit card accounts, 401(k) and benefits.

 

Dont's
❌ Don't
 use personal and generic passwords.

❌ Don't share passwords with anyone.

❌ Don't use the same password for more than one login.

❌ Don't continue to use the same password if you suspect that a site is compromised.

If something seems suspicious, it probably is

2. Email Tips

  • Before clicking on links or opening attachments, be aware of red flags that alert potential fraudulent email or phishing attempts (e.g., urgent call to action, misspellings, wrong URLs). Be suspicious of emails that ask for sensitive information or include an urgent call to action.
  • Avoid sharing personal or financial information via email, and be careful when clicking on links.
  • Reputable sources (banks, investment companies, the IRS, health insurance companies, credit cards) don't initiate requests to input passwords, PINs or personal information over email, text or phone.

For additional resources, check the FBI's page on Scams and Safety and DHS's Stop.Think.ConnectToolkit

Online behavior icon

3. Online Behavior Tips

  • Don't over share your location, vacation plans or details about your life on social media, as cyber criminals scour these sources for information.
  • Information shared via social media may be used to send targeted, customized emails to scam you.
  • Validate that web pages are secure when using Internet services.

 

If you do business or post information online, look closely at the web page address to make sure that the URL starts with HTTPS or that it has a padlock icon on the web address bar. This means it is encrypted and has an additional layer of security.

Never leave your device unattended

4. Device Protection Tips

  • Set passwords on all your devices, including mobile devices. Keep your devices with you at all times and securely locked. Consider leaving your laptop (whether personal or work-related) home when traveling to "risky/watch list" countries.
  • Back up your devices in case of malfunction or corruption. For your personal devices you may use an external hard drive.
  • Do not use public, shared devices to access your important accounts. Make sure that you have the correct mobile application or website to access services (from banking and insurance companies to social media). If possible, have separate devices for home and work.
  • Download programs and applications from reputable sources only and run security updates regularly. Consider leveraging spam-defeating firewall and anti-malware software.
Image of a disguised laptop computer

5. Internet Tips

Do's
✓ Do
 treat public Wi-Fi with caution; it is inherently insecure. Be careful when traveling.

✓ Do secure your home network, using the most updated, encrypted secure network system — Wireless Protected Access (WPA2).

 

Dont's
❌ Don't
  automatically connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots and don't assume public Wi-Fi is safe.

❌ Don't automatically conduct sensitive personal or work business on public Wi-Fi. For work, use your company's Virtual Private Network, if your organization has one.

Be aware of your surroundings when discussing or emailing sensitive information

6. Safeguard Tips

  • Sign up for financial account activity alerts via email or text message. Subscribe to a credit monitoring service and review your credit report at least on an annual basis.
  • Memorize your PINs and change them regularly. Don't carry them in your purse or wallet. Also don't carry your social security card.
  • Report any lost or stolen cards or other hard copy information, such as checks, immediately to the financial institution.

For more information, check out resources from the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as well as the additional cybersecurity resources that the US Securities and Exchange Commission offers for investors.

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The general information provided in this publication is not intended to be nor should it be treated as tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a qualified professional advisor who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your situation.

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