Tips to keep yourself safe online

By John Harrison ACSI, Charles Stanley Wealth Managers
At Charles Stanley Wealth Managers we help clients secure their financial future. In today’s world though just having the right investments and tax wrappers is not enough. As everything moves increasingly online this presents new challenges.

Published in Norfolk Director Magazine Autumn 2021
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Financial Planning & Investments: Charles Stanley Wealth Managers

So, important security measures to adopt that can help prevent and prepare for cyber-attacks are:

Email

An email account is an attractive target. Hacking it allows criminals to reset other online account passwords, impersonate you, amend emails and phish your contacts. Use ‘Two Factor Authentication’ for your email accounts and change each account password to something unique, long, and strong. Never reuse an email or cloud password; criminals have tools that automatically try one compromised password with other popular online accounts.

Insecure email and secure portals

The global internet is a public network. A standard email sent across the internet is insecure: it can be read or intercepted. Email accounts belonging to individuals are increasingly being hacked. Charles Stanley’s ‘MyCS’ service is a secure website (known as a ‘secure portal’) that offers a safe messaging service for our clients and Investment Managers. As the messages stay inside Charles Stanley’s network, and are not sent across the public internet, the risk of a message being intercepted or tampered with is greatly reduced.

Password hygiene

Starting with your email account, make the password long (over 15 characters) and strong (containing numbers, letters, and symbols). You can try using three random words that you can remember easily but mean nothing to anyone else. Then replace some of the letters with numbers and symbols.

Push payment fraud

This is when cyber criminals trick you into sending a payment to their bank account. Try to use a secure payment service like PayPal, or pay by credit card, instead of sending a bank transfer.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

2FA uses two pieces of information to prove your identity. Your password, ‘something you know’ is the first factor. The second factor will typically be ‘something you have’, like your mobile phone. After entering your username and password, a code is required before the account can be accessed. This might be sent as a text message or within an app on your mobile phone. An unexpected 2FA code also indicates a cyber-criminal has your password, so you can immediately change it.

Zero trust

Protect yourself by adopting a zero-trust mindset, when emails, text messages or phone calls are not believed until proven genuine. Independently verify the sender by contacting them using details obtained from a search engine or official web site.  

Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. The value of investments, and any income derived from them, can fall as well as rise. Investors may get back less than originally invested. Charles Stanley & Co. Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

John Harrison ACSI is Head of Information and Cyber Security at Charles Stanley. For more tips on staying safe online, contact a member of our Norwich team for your free guide to cyber security. T: 01603 856932
E: norwichbranch@charles-stanley.co.uk
or visit charles-stanley.co.uk/norwich-office

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