Cyber Hacking on the Rise

In our own lives we have had a few incidents of cyber hacking.  My personal data has been breached at two different organizations.  With the delay from data being accessed to my being notified, I am glad I have frozen my credit at all 3 credit bureaus.  I have heard of similar incidents from clients with data and or bank accounts being hacked.   

Cyber hacking is the “Safe Crime.”  You work from home and you don’t have anybody shooting at you.  As a result, cybercrime is on the rise and becoming more sophisticated.  We need to be more aware and alert in protecting our data.  

Perform a Cybersecurity Audit

The beginning of the year is a great time to make sure your cybersecurity is in check. While you may have already taken some actions to protect your identity, it is good to review certain aspects of your cybersecurity every year to ensure your security. 

Check Your Passwords

Strong passwords are an important line of defense against hackers. Take some time to review all your key passwords for email, banking, social media, and other important accounts. Make sure they are long and complex with a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid easy-to-guess passwords based on names or birthdays. We recommend using a password manager to store unique passwords for each account. You should also enable two-factor authentication where available for an extra layer of security.

Update Your Software

Maintaining current software and operating systems is critical for strong cybersecurity. Set your devices and applications to automatically install major updates. These often contain vital security patches to fix newly discovered vulnerabilities. Check that your computers, phones, apps and internet-connected devices are running the latest versions. If you have older devices that are past their support lifecycle, it’s safest to retire them. Outdated software is prone to unpatched flaws that criminals can exploit.

Check Your Credit Report

Get a free copy of your report annually from the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and check for any suspicious activity. Look for accounts you don’t recognize, address changes you didn’t authorize, or credit checks from companies you haven’t applied to. Dispute any errors you find and report anything suspicious to the credit bureau and authorities. If you have not already, freeze your credit report at the three major bureaus. Freezing your credit will make it more difficult for a thief to open a new credit in your name. 

Making cybersecurity a regular habit is the best way to protect yourself online. Start with these simple audits of your passwords, software and credit reports. Being proactive about security makes you a harder target for online criminals.

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