Recent cyber breaches with Medicare and Optus, it’s cause for concern. It’s more important than to keep your data and information online safe from a cyberattack.
Word of warning…
I am a financial planner not a cyber security expert. However, over that last couple of months I have been on a number of cyber security webinars. This post is of general nature and only intended to highlight how you may be able to protect yourself in an online world.
In this online world, as humans we are more vulnerable and the weakest link when it comes to being hacked…
What can you do to protect yourself?
#1 Password Hygiene
This one might sound simple. But password attacks happen by using multitudes of combinations.
If attackers obtain one password, they’ll go to other sites and use that password. Just think of how many sites you use the same password for. Safe to say we’re all guilty of this one.
So, how long does it take a hacker to crack a password?
Think about the passwords you have. Knowing the information above, how long will it take to crack your password?
Password uniqueness is critical to protecting yourself in an online world.
Steps to help you create a strong password:
- Use complex and long passwords
- Don’t share your password with anyone, even if you trust them
- Don’t use consecutive numbers (123), letters (abc) or personal information (like you birthday)
- At any point you think your password has been compromised, change it straight away
- Change your passwords periodically to reduce your risk of being hacked
#2 How strong is your password and has it been compromised?
Want to check whether your password is strong?
You can visit https://www.security.org/how-secure-is-my-password to check how strong your password is.
Want to check if your password has been compromised?
#3 Password Managers…
You might be sitting there thinking how do I remember all these passwords. Especially ones that are long with a mix of characters, letters, numbers and symbols.
I don’t know about you, but I’d forget most of them.
That’s why I use a password manager…
One, it keeps them all in one place…
Second, I don’t have to think about the passwords. They automatically come up when I login into a site.
Password managers available
Personally, I use a Lastpass. It’s easy to use and free if you don’t need all the bells and whistles.
If you forget a password, you simply login, search for your site and it will bring it all up.
Other password managers you could also consider are Google Password Manager, Keepass or Nordpass to name a few.
One other advantage of a password manager is not only are all your passwords in one place. When you pass away, it will make life easier for your loved ones to close down all your accounts and online identity.
#4 Avoid ops moments…
Received a message either via your phone or on email. It looks legit but when you click it…ops I shouldn’t have done that moment occurs.
We all lead busy lives. At times we don’t take that extra moment to check the message prior to clicking or opening it.
This can be a disaster if you click the wrong message.
This technique is called Phishing. An attempt to obtain your data fraudulently. They masquerade as a legitimate business and then distribute malware or ransomware.
You can avoid such a disaster by knowing what to look out for…
#5 Spotting a phishing scam…
Unfortunately I see this almost on a daily basis either via email or text message on my phone.
How do you spot a phishing scam?
- Check the sender’s email address to make sure it’s coming from a source you’re aware of. At times the display name may seem correct but when you look at the email it is some weird unknown email address.
- Typos – poor grammar and spelling mistakes are common in phishing emails.
- Examine the email prior to clicking. If it looks suspicious, don’t click. If you are expecting an email from a similar source. Contact them first prior to opening email to make sure it came from them.
- Check the salutation – if it’s not addressed to you and instead reads something like “Dear valued customer”. It’s likely to be fraudulent.
- Check that the contact information is correct. I’ve seen some that at first seem legit only to read the contact information and suggest otherwise.
- Urgency messages – fear based phrases like “Your account has been suspended” or “Our system detected that you still have a trip marked as Payment Unsuccessful”.
Here one I received recently:
While it can all seem a little scary. With the right precautions you can still remain safe and out of reach of the fraudsters and hackers alike.
These are some of the steps you can take to help protect yourself against such attacks.
Glenn Doherty – CFP – Financial Planner | Retirement Planning Made Simple for aspiring grey nomads and avid travellers within 7 years of retirement