Online Security Tips
Lockdown has brought with it a learning curve where we have all had to leave our comfort zone and become more tech-savvy, embracing new technologies and ways of communicating. Unfortunately, this new digital world doesn’t come without its risks, and we need to develop good security habits when using technology.
Be aware of phishing scams
Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. The best way to protect against phishing scams is through scrutinising your emails: who is the mail from, do you know them, and were you expecting it? Take note of tone and formatting as this can raise alarm bells, even if it from a familiar email address. Often, phishing scams are associated with emails where there is a false sense of urgency, i.e. requesting you to confirm details to avoid your account being blocked. Also, check if there are any links to webpages or attachments in the email. Only open the email and its attachments when you are confident it is legitimate.
Ensure your software on your devices is always up to date
The world of online security is constantly changing. Most smartphones and computers prompt auto-updates which you can accept, and this usually links you to the correct place for the update. A link sent via an email or through Whatsapp to update your app is quite likely to be a security threat, so only use the official channels for updates.
Upgrade your passwords
We are all tempted to use one password across all our devices; however, they can usually be easily hacked. When choosing passwords, take the following into consideration:
- Never re-use passwords. Where possible, you should have a unique password for every online account.
- Try using passphrases as your password; these are similar to passwords but generally longer for added security. For example, if you are choosing a Facebook password instead of using your name and a popular number rather use a crazy passphrase like- Don’t spy on me Mark Zuckerberg! Or with Apple Music, try a line from your favourite song, for example, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.
- Use special characters and upper- and lower-case letters in your password or passphrase – D0n’t$pyOnMeM@rkZuckerberg!
- Log out of applications, and don’t opt for your browser to remember your passwords. While most mobile devices have fingerprint access and most devices offer the option to remember your passwords, the safest option, which may be as old as time, is to write down your passwords and store them in a safe space.
- Activate Two-Factor Authentication. This is when you provide an email address and cell phone number when signing up for an online profile. Whenever a new login from another device is triggered, it sends either an OTP or some form of a link to your cell phone via SMS or an email to notify you of the login attempt and to authorise access. This has become standard practice on most social networking and other online platforms.
Never share sensitive personal information over emails such as online banking profile details or other login information
It’s a general rule that banks and providers will never ask you for login information via an email or attach a link for you to click on to log in to your profile.
Zoom Calls and other online meeting applications
Now that we are meeting online and attending Webinars at Chartered, we also need to stay safe in these environments. Unfortunately, due to the increase in use, Zoom has become susceptible to cyber criminals. If you are going to set up your own zoom calls, then we suggest you make your meeting password protected. Chartered will be using Microsoft Teams for formal reviews or discussions that need confidentiality as it has proven to be more secure. Rest assured Chartered does take every precaution when hosting Webinars on Zoom, so please do join us.
We encourage you to keep security top of mind and remain aware of potential security threats. Should you ever have a concern around a communication you received from an Investment provider or directly from Chartered, please contact someone in your RetiremeantTM planning team, and they will gladly clarify things for you.