Navigating the 2024 Digital Terrain: Cybersecurity Tips to Protect Your Accounts

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by Brad Stark
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March 6, 2024
Navigating the 2024 Digital Terrain Cybersecurity Tips to Protect Your Accounts

In an era where technology and finance are intricately intertwined, cybersecurity has become a cornerstone of responsible financial management. As a wealth management firm deeply invested in our clients’ financial well-being, our advisory, technology, and investment teams at Mission Wealth understand the importance of not just managing wealth, but also protecting it. Cyber threats are evolving, and so should our strategies to counter them.

Here are some key tips to fortify your digital defenses:

Strong, Unique Passwords: Your First Line of Defense

With almost 100% certainty, one or more of your online passwords have been compromised. According to Cybernews, “nearly 20% of passwords are compromised,” meaning that if you have five online logins, statistically one is known by an unfriendly stranger. A staggering number from 2019 is that more than 1,000,000 passwords are stolen every week, and we presume that is far higher today.

It might sound basic, but the importance of strong, unique passwords cannot be overstated. Use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, and avoid easily guessable passwords like birthdays, family pets, or common phrases. Do NOT use the same password across different logins. That way, if one is compromised (which it will), not all your logins are susceptible. Consider using a reputable password manager to keep track of your complex passwords.

If you are using a public Wi-Fi (i.e. Starbucks, hotel lobby, airport, etc.), expect that everything you are typing, all websites viewed, all usernames and passwords entered, could be captured. 
How to protect yourself? Use a VPN on your device (i.e. phone, tablet, laptop that is using Wi-Fi vs. cellular). Click here for top rated services.

Multi-Factor Authentication: An Extra Layer of Security

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an additional layer of security. Even if a hacker gets your password, they won’t have the second verification factor – usually a code sent to your phone or generated by an app.

Regular Software Updates: Closing the Security Loopholes

Keep your software, especially your security software, updated. Software updates often include patches for security vulnerabilities that hackers exploit. Identify one device that you use for financial accounts and do not use any other devices to access that account.

Beware of Phishing Scams: The Art of Deception

Phishing scams, where scammers trick you into giving out personal information, are becoming more sophisticated. Be wary of unexpected emails or messages asking for sensitive information, even if they seem to be from a trusted source.

From time to time, we get “weird” emails from our clients that don’t sound right, only to find out that the email was compromised. This is one reason why we verbally check and cross-check wire and move money requests for your protection. Though it can seem like an inconvenience at the time, we have procedures in place to protect you. When someone obtains access to your email, here is what they can do to mask their activities:

  • Auto route financial emails to a “folder” or to your “trash.”
  • They then go into those folders, review and start email threads from there. This makes it difficult for you to identify issues, as email responses bypass your “inbox.”
  • They can also route dual authentication emails to the unseen/unmonitored folders away from your normal viewing.

The Rising Threat: AI in the Hands of Scammers

As technology advances, so do the tactics of scammers. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a double-edged sword. While it offers tremendous benefits, it also presents new opportunities for cybercriminals:

AI-Generated Phishing Emails

Scammers can use AI to create highly convincing fake emails and messages. These AI-generated communications can mimic the style and tone of legitimate sources, making them harder to detect.

Deepfakes: The New Frontier of Fraud

Deepfakes, where AI is used to create realistic video or audio recordings of people, could be the next big trend in scams. Imagine receiving a video call from your ‘bank manager’ who looks and sounds exactly like the real deal. It’s important to verify the authenticity of such communications.

What’s Next: Predicting Future Scams

AI-driven scams of the future might involve more sophisticated impersonation tactics, AI-generated investment advice scams, or even AI-powered network breaches. Staying informed and vigilant is key.

Our webinar with AI expert, Rajeev Kapur touched on deepfake and potential AI scams. You can watch the recap here:

In Conclusion: Your Wealth, Our Priority

At Mission Wealth, our commitment to your financial well-being goes beyond investment strategies and wealth management. We understand that the digital aspect of financial security is increasingly critical. We are testing a potential cyber protection service which supports clients in the items listed above. Please stay tuned for more to come.

By staying informed and adopting robust cybersecurity practices, together we can navigate the complexities of the digital world, ensuring your wealth is not just managed wisely, but also protected robustly.

Other Resource Articles:

Cyber Scammers Continue to Target with Technology Advancements

How to Make Yourself a Difficult Target for Cyber Criminals

How to Reduce Your Cybersecurity Risk

As always, if you have any concerns about your financial security or need personalized advice, our team at Mission Wealth is here to help. Protecting your wealth is our top priority.

Contact us today for a free financial check-up or call (805) 882-2360.

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Guidance For Your Full Financial Journey

Through our comprehensive platform and expertise, Mission Wealth can guide you through all of life's events, including retirement, investment planning, family planning, and more. You will face many financial decisions. Let us guide you through your options and create a plan.

Mission Wealth’s vision is to provide caring advice that empowers families to achieve their life dreams. Our founders were pioneers in the industry when they embraced the client-first principles of objective advice, comprehensive financial planning, coordination with other professional advisors, and proactive service. We are fiduciaries, and our holistic planning process provides clarity and confidence. For more information on Mission Wealth, please visit missionwealth.com.

To meet with a Mission Wealth financial advisor, contact us today at (805) 882-2360.

MISSION WEALTH IS A REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISOR. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 00578876 03/24

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