tips

3 Cyber Security Tips for Travelers

cyber security tips for travelersHelp keep your personal data safe while you’re on the road with these quick cyber security tips for travelers from Norton.

  1. Lock your devices: Most smart phones, laptops and tablets will allow you to lock the device using a PIN number or fingerprint ID. In the event that any of your devices have been momentarily misplaced or forgotten, this will be the first line of defense against a security breach.
  2. Use caution with public internet: Free Wi-Fi access is appealing when you travel but is also particularly vulnerable to security issues. Avoid unencrypted networks, and ask your hotel about its security protocol before connecting to the Web. If you must use public Wi-Fi, avoid accessing personal accounts or sensitive data while connected to that network.
  3. Disable Bluetooth: Just like your phone’s automatic Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity can present problems. Bluetooth signals can come from anywhere. If your Bluetooth is left on, nearby assailants can connect to your phone and potentially hack into your device. Keep Bluetooth disabled as much as possible while traveling.

For more tips from Norton, especially for business travel, click here. You can also read more articles on cyber security from the Perspective team by clicking here.

By |2019-08-14T13:59:46-07:00January 21st, 2019|Current Affairs|

18 Cyber Security Tips for 2018

cyber security

18 Cyber Security Tips for 2018

Here are 18 helpful cyber security tips for 2018 to keep your electronic data and devices safe.

  1. You are an attractive target to hackers. Don’t think, “It won’t happen to me.”
  2. Lock your computer when you are away from it. Even a few minutes is enough time for someone else to destroy or corrupt your information.
  3. Avoid unintentionally installing spyware on your electronic devices; never click on links within pop-up windows.
  4. Be wary of free downloadable software; you may be exposing your computer to spyware programs by downloading programs from questionable websites.
  5. Install both anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer, and make sure they are compatible.
  6. Take a little time to review, understand and use the privacy settings on social networking sites.
  7. Turn off the option to automatically download attachments in emails.
  8. Be wary of unsolicited attachments in email, even from people you know.  Many viruses can “spoof” the return address, making it look like the message came from someone else.
  9. Use different passwords on different systems and accounts.
  10. Don’t use passwords with personal information that can be accessed or guessed; use capital and lowercase letters, numbers and characters.
  11. Report spam email messages.
  12. Never click on a link in an email from someone you do not know.
  13. Stay safe when shopping online. Only do business with reputable vendors. Some cyber attackers create malicious websites that appear to be legitimate; always verify the site before supplying any personal or financial information.
  14. Never plug an unknown USB drive into your computer to try to identify or locate the owner.
  15. Monitor your accounts (email, social media, banking, etc.) for any suspicious activity. If you see something unfamiliar, it could be a sign that you’ve been compromised.
  16. Disable Bluetooth when you’re not using it, to help prevent hacking.
  17. Hackers have strategies for attacking devices through public Wi-Fi. Keep firewalls enabled at all times; turn off file sharing when using  public Wi-Fi.
  18. Remember you can be a victim of cyber crime offline, too.  If someone calls asking for sensitive information, say no. Call the company directly to verify before giving out information.

Sources: Department of Homeland Security; Heimdal Security; Cisco

By |2019-08-14T13:59:51-07:00January 3rd, 2018|Current Affairs|

Shopping for Auto Insurance

Mike Larriva, CFP shares personal insights on shopping for auto insuranceShopping for auto insurance is something I put off for years. I was happy with my existing company, and comparing new policies and rates was a hassle I just wouldn’t prioritize. My priorities changed recently, as my teen son is getting his driver’s license soon and I know teen drivers are expensive to insure. I had to bite the bullet and do some comparison shopping. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it is to get quotes now. Most companies were able to provide online quotes, which were emailed to make it easy to compare.

Most states require minimum coverage for bodily-injury and property-damage liability, to protect others when you are the driver at fault in an accident. But it’s wise to purchase more than the minimum required.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is especially important because it protects you if another driver with minimum or no insurance causes an accident and you incur costly injuries and repairs. This happened to me in 2000. I was involved in a rollover accident. Our SUV was totaled and the young man who hit me only had minimum coverage. My underinsured coverage protected us by helping pay for a replacement vehicle and medical expenses. A typical level for this type of coverage is $100,000 or more in benefits.

There are additional coverage options to consider, as well. Collision coverage helps pay for repairs to your vehicle when involved in a collision. Medical coverage helps with medical expenses that might not be covered by bodily-liability coverage. Comprehensive coverage is for repairs not caused by collision (such as theft, vandalism or hail damage).

As you are shopping for auto insurance, be sure to ask about any discounts that may be available. When I added my son to my policy, I learned many companies offer discounts for students who get good grades (B average) and who’ve taken defensive driving classes.

Consider comparing your auto insurance rates every few years. I did and made some changes that will help reduce costs for our family.

 

By |2019-08-14T13:59:52-07:00July 31st, 2017|Financial Planning, Insurance|

Stock Scam Outbreak

virusIf history is a guide, dramatic news coverage of viral outbreaks, including Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), will likely catch the interest of stock scammers looking to capitalize on fears of a potential pandemic.

A recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) alert warns investors not to fall for the hype. Be wary of promotions touting stocks that claim to protect against the spread of viruses or other harmful diseases. The organization is aware of several potential investment scams involving companies that claim to be involved in the development of products that will prevent the spread of viral diseases. They offer the following tips to avoid becoming a victim:

Consider the source. Be skeptical of press releases, emails and promotional materials from unknown senders hyping a company and its products.

Do some sleuthing.  Some basic research on the company can quickly reveal red flags. Non-working phone numbers, bogus business addresses and news reports often can be revealed through a simple internet search.

Know where the stock trades. Companies that list their stocks on exchanges must meet minimum listing standards. Most schemes and scams involve stocks that do not trade on NASDAQ, the New York Stock Exchange or other registered national securities exchanges. Instead, they tend to be quoted on an over-the-counter (OTC) quotation platform.

Before considering any new investments, call your financial advisor for assistance and insights.

Image courtesy of hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By |2019-08-14T14:00:05-07:00October 8th, 2014|Current Affairs, Investing|

Estate Planning in the Digital Age

Camargo-webOnce upon a time, when it came to organizing our estate planning and personal documents, everything was in hardcopy files. At the time of one’s death, directions to a loved one or executor might simply be to look in a particular file cabinet or lock-box to retrieve necessary documents and instructions. Today, so much of our world is virtual — our banking and investing is done online, our family history and photos are on our computers or social media accounts, our files are backed up somewhere on the cloud.

Who will be given access to your Facebook account, Google documents, email and other online accounts at the time of your death? Who will receive your digital photos, music, movies and other electronic files that are of personal or commercial value? How should the news of your death be shared with your friends, connections or followers on your social media accounts like Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram?

This new digital reality needs to be considered when preparing an estate plan and creating a will and powers of attorney.

Sentimental and emotional issues notwithstanding, it will make things easier on those you leave behind if you provide an organized, detailed listing of your digital assets. This should include online accounts with user IDs and passwords, as well as instructions for which accounts you’d like preserved and which should be closed.

While you may want to preserve certain online accounts (such as a family history blog, your Facebook page or photo archives), shutting down accounts that are no longer needed will help to protect your family from identity theft after you are gone (such accounts might include Paypal, Amazon and other shopping websites that have your credit card information stored).  Your documents  should also include information  about any electronic hardware (e.g. desktop computers, laptops, smart phones, tablets) and software (e.g. Quicken, Turbo Tax) that may contain important files to be preserved or that require a password to access.

Important points to keep in mind:

  • Choose an executor or personal representative who is tech savvy, understands the importance of preserving your digital assets and knows how to do so.
  • Make a list of all your digital assets and online accounts, including user names, passwords and associated email addresses required to access them.
  • Be sure to update the list and instructions whenever you change login information or add new accounts.
  • Keep the list in a safe place and be sure your beneficiaries, trustees or executors know where to find it.
  • Do not put user names and passwords in your will, since it becomes public record when you die.
By |2019-08-14T14:00:06-07:00August 27th, 2014|Current Affairs, Estate Planning|