3 Cybersecurity Tips to Protect You Online

3 Cybersecurity Tips to Protect You Online

Are you worried about cybersecurity? If you’re not, you should be. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 298,728 complaints in 2016 and The New York Times reports that may be just the tip of the iceberg. Websites get hacked every day, including those where you may be storing personal or confidential information. One of the best ways to prevent information from leaking to hackers is to set secure passwords.

1. Cybersecurity Tips for Setting Passwords

There was a movie released in 1987 called Spaceballs, a spoof on Star Wars movies, and there is a scene where the President when asked for his password, he responds, “1….2….3….4….” It makes us laugh every time we watch but it is also a reminder to choose passwords that are more complicated.

Most websites require a number and some even require punctuation. Even if it’s not required, adding punctuation to your password is a good idea. Because I am not a cat lover, I might use, “I love cats!” as a password. There’s no personal information attached to the meaning. Too often people use names, birthdates, and anniversaries as passwords. That information is easy to find online; make sure passwords contain information that is not easily found.

2. Avoid commenting on social media posts that reveal sensitive information.

There is a social media post being shared that asks for the last four digits of a social security number (I kid you not!), along with other personal information. Hundreds of people are responding without realizing they are sharing sensitive data that hackers can, and likely will, use. Whether it’s the last four of your social security number, your first concert, or the street you grew up on, remember that you’ve put that information out to the masses and refrain from using it as a password. Hackers might be trying to gather information to come after and target you specifically. To find out more about phishing scams on social platforms, check out this article.

3. Wipe your devices of personal data.

When you upgrade your phone, laptop, or other device, be sure you’re deleting personal information completely. If you’re not sure how, ask at the store where you’ve purchased the new device. The customer service folks at my cell phone carrier will actually let me see when they clear my old phone which makes me feel better about that part of my cybersecurity.

How we help protect your information

At The Meakem Group, we do a lot to protect your personal information. We know that as a financial services institution we are the target of hackers. In the past six months, we have received approximately six false email spoof attempts to wire money. It is our policy that if you ask us to send money electronically to something other than the bank account we have on file, we will call you, not email or text message, to confirm the request.

We partner with Raymond James and have made a commitment to protect our clients. The Raymond James pledge (read it in full here) says if funds are lost due to a failure on our part, we will make it right. Raymond James is the only financial services institution to make that pledge.  Together it takes our vigilance and your vigilance to keep your data safe, or to protect you, when it comes to cybersecurity.