Privacy and Security Articles
It used to be enough for financial planners to help clients minimize losses by making them aware of the risks inherent in various financial assets—even securities backed by the U.S. Treasury—and by steering them away from imprudent asset allocation and unsuitable investments.
Since the Equifax data breach affecting 143 million Americans, one of my clients told me that their online account had been suspended after someone tried - unsuccessfully - to log into their account.
The pilfered information which includes Social Security numbers, name, birthdate and address could possibly lead to a diversion of benefits or changes to an account to allow access for many years without your knowledge.
To date, the SSA has not sent out widespread notice to Americans on extra security measures to take to protect their account.
Imagine finding out that your computer has been hacked. The hackers leave you a message: if you want your data back, you must pay them $300 in bitcoin. This was what happened to hundreds of thousands of PC users in May 2017 when they were attacked by the WannaCry malware, which exploited security flaws in Windows.
How can you plan to avoid cyberattacks and other attempts to take your money over the Internet? Be wary, and if attacked, respond quickly.
There isn’t a single online application or website that we use more frequently than our email. Email addresses have long since expired their role of exclusively sending and receiving instant messages. We use our email address to register for online services and subscriptions, to send and receive confidential information, and to set up social media accounts, financial apps, and much more. Because of the diverse use of our email addresses, and the countless subscriptions and personal accounts it is linked to, our personal email is putting us at an increased risk for online hacks and identity theft. Hackers don’t need much to access these private channels of your life. Just having your email address stolen poses a great threat.
You have probably already heard about the Equifax security breach, which became public this past week. From mid-May through July, online hackers accessed the personal information of 143 million consumers. Names, addresses, social security numbers, birth dates, drivers license numbers, and even credit card numbers were compromised. Click here to to find out if your information was potentially compromised.
Whether or not your information was compromised during the Equifax security breach, this is a big wake up call. It is not enough to hope that your banks, credit card companies, creditors, and anyone else with your personal information, has the ability to protect it. You MUST be proactive.
No doubt about it, Smart Phones have completely changed the experience of banking and accessing your financial information. The ability to make transactions from your phone has made banking much easier and convenient, but it does come with a higher risk of your financial data being stolen. There are things you can do to protect yourself, and decrease the likelihood of your personal information being leaked.
Overall, the apps created by financial institutions are very secure. In 2015, only 71 of 781 hacks were bank related, but bank hacks are on the rise, with their frequency increasing at a rate of 50% per year. Established financial companies spend a lot of money making sure their apps are not vulnerable to security breaches. These companies hire “white-hat hackers” (ethical hackers) to break into their sites and identify any security liabilities. However, hacks on financial institutions do happen, and it did happen to JP Morgan Chase. The data of 83 million customers was compromised.