3 ways to get hacked without touching your computer
Cybersecurity isn’t only about emails and passwords. In fact, the risks go far beyond the internet. In this post, we take a look at three ways advisors could be vulnerable to a hack without even logging on to their computer or other electronic device.
Snail mail: Believe it or not, the most common way to get your identity stolen is through regular mail. While e-mail certainly carries its own set of risks, we often neglect how vulnerable we are when we’re transferring classified information the old-fashioned way. Think about it. How often do you send your clients their financial updates through the mail? Do they have a security plan in place at their home preventing the potential theft of physical mail when it’s dropped off in their mailboxes? What about the mail that sits around at your office – is it in a secure and monitored location? The best solution is to eliminate the use of snail mail altogether. We realize this isn’t as easy as it sounds; however, the good news is there are other ways to tighten security measures. One such solution is using digital signatures. At Kestra Financial, we’ve invested heavily in developing a robust electronic signature solution for our advisors. Using electronic signatures is not only more efficient and accurate, it’s also much safer than their paper counterparts because they are heavily encrypted.
Phone fraud: It’s incredibly easy for fraudsters to con private information out of someone over the phone. In fact, phone scams, more technically referred to as “social engineering,” are one of the most dangerous security threats facing advisors today. This is because there is no system out there to protect against the practice. It’s important for advisors to never lose site of the fact that their chief responsibility is to protect their clients’ assets. In this business, we have an innate desire to help our clients and provide excellent customer service. But when it comes to phone calls, it’s critical to always err on the side of caution and recognize that sometimes, there’s a fine line between service and giving away too much information. Curious to see how easy it is to fall victim to social engineering? Check out this YouTube video.
Physical theft: Online identity theft has gone from a matter of “if” to “when.” However, while we seem to have a heightened awareness of our risks on the web, it seems like physical theft has largely been neglected. Advisors, especially, should be cognizant of the risks associated with physical theft. For example, are your office computers encrypted so that even if they were stolen, hackers wouldn’t be able to break through? Do you have a policy in place for shredding paperwork in a timely fashion? Is your use of paper minimized? Remember, nothing is less encrypted than paper – you don’t need a password to unlock a binder clip!
As an advisor, the biggest information risk is you, which is why you need to act as your own human firewall and use your best judgement when handling confidential information. That’s your responsibility to you, your firm and your clients.