How To Protect Yourself From Cyber Attacks

| February 04, 2020
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Living in the digital age, we are surrounded by technology. As such, many of us rely on online services and portals to help us with our day-to-day life. While this is convenient, it is also the reason why cyber attacks have been on the rise. Cyber hackers desire to get valuable information from our phones and our computers in order to make easy money and wreak havoc. 

While this is scary, there is no reason to live in fear. There are plenty of ways to protect yourself from cyber attacks so you can rest easy and sleep at night. 

Follow the following safe practices for good measure.

Craft Complicated And Unique Passwords For All Your Accounts

If you are the kind of person who creates one simple password (e.g., the name of your dog) and uses it for every single login you have—STOP. Cyber hackers are working around the clock to crack your passwords, and if they are able to figure out one password, they will surely try it out for any other site where you have an account. Instead, create a one-of-a-kind password for each account so in case one account is hacked, the other ones are safe. 

To craft a complicated password, make sure to incorporate AT LEAST one of each of these to make it harder for cyber hackers to guess your password:

  • Lowercase letters
  • Uppercase letters
  • Numbers
  • Special characters
  • Minimum of 8-12 characters, depending on the website requirements

You can still use meaningful words (such as your dog’s name), but you will need to add additional letters, numbers, and special characters before and after just to be sure.

To keep track of all of your passwords, write them all on a piece of paper and hide it in a safe and memorable place. Unless cyber hackers break into your home (which is normally not their MO), your passwords will remain untouched. However, if this method does not fit your lifestyle, then you can sign up for a LastPass account. LastPass is a secure service that will store your passwords safely online.  

Visit Trusted Websites

If you have an issue or dilemma, it is easy to visit Google to search for a resolution. However, just because a website has the keywords you are looking for doesn’t make it safe. Any third party can create a website, and stumbling onto one that is unsafe can infect your personal device (phone or computer) with malware, which can result in loss of information—or worse, retrieval of sensitive information (bank account passwords, for example) that cyber hackers can use to cause more damage. 

Stick to well-known platforms (e.g., Amazon, Reddit, WebMD) and be aware of websites with unrecognizable links. If you use Google Chrome, you can choose settings that will give you a pop-up notification anytime you are on an unsafe website and create a list of “trusted” websites.

Beware of Phishing Emails

Be cautious when opening your emails so you don’t become a victim of “phishing.” Phishing emails are emails that look like they are from a trusted source (such as a bank, credit card company, online store) but they are not. (1) Instead, they are aimed to get the email recipient to give up sensitive information (usually credit card information) or infect the email recipient’s computer with malware. 

Follow these practices to combat “phishing” emails:

  • Do not open emails from senders you do not recognize. Even if the name is a trusted source, look at the actual email address. The information after the @ sign should be the institution’s name, not a third-party site. 
  • Do not open links in an email unless the email is from a trusted source. 
  • Do not open or download an attachment if you receive an email from an unknown or unrecognizable source. 
  • Do not send any sensitive information, even if it looks like it is an email from your bank. Trusted institutions will always warn their customers that they will never ask for sensitive information online. 

Update Antivirus Software Regularly

Make sure your antivirus software is up to date. There are new computer viruses and malware showing up every day. Every time you update your antivirus software, it is better able to recognize and protect your computer from whatever cyber hackers are cooking up. (2) Set up your antivirus software for automatic updates and manually update your software whenever you hear about a big cyber attack in the news. You can never be too cautious. 

How We Can Help

As we stated earlier, rather than living in fear, we want you to feel safe. Your money is a symbol of your hard work and we’ll do everything we can to make sure your money stays in your hands. Please contact us at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at ricky@hbawealth.com to set up a free consultation to discuss how we can ensure that your money remains secure and untouched. 

About Haydel, Biel & Associates

Haydel, Biel & Associates is an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. The firm was founded in 2004 by Chris Haydel and Ricky Biel with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Together, they have built a practice that has grown into a family of caring, smart professionals committed to blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies that make it easier than ever to accomplish your goals. They strive to keep things simple and fun to give their clients peace of mind and alleviate financial stress. HBA Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the HBA Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at ricky@hbawealth.com.

The commentary on this blog/website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Haydel Biel & Associates employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by  Haydel Biel & Associates or performance returns of any Haydel Biel & Associates Investments client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Haydel Biel & Associates manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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(1) https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams

(2) https://www.techwalla.com/articles/why-is-it-important-to-constantly-update-antivirus-software

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