Jessica Cafferata, JD, CFP®, CDFA®
At Callan Capital, we are committed to cybersecurity awareness, education, and training. It is our hope that the following is helpful for you, your family, and friends as a resource for cybercrime prevention, knowledge, and mitigation. This is part of a monthly cyber awareness series aimed at helping our clients avoid cybercrime.
- Hardware or software anti-virus
- Lock your screen
- Never use public Wi-Fi; store devices in a safe when traveling
- Consider a personal firewall
- Change your default router password; keep router firmware up to date; disable remote access
- Maintain a separate Wi-Fi network for gaming
- Turn off universal plug and play
Ensure that all your devices have hardware and software anti-virus and that it is up to date. Your firewall should have threat detection and preventions such as anti-phishing, anti-virus, and anti-bot protections. A firewall monitors and filters incoming and outgoing network traffics based on your established security policies. Your computer likely has a built-in firewall, but you can add an extra layer of protection via a personal firewall that will act as an additional buffer between you and malicious traffic. McAfee LiveSafe, Norton Security Premium, Kaspersky Internet Security are some examples of personal firewalls.
Remember to lock your computer screen when away from your computer. Additionally, never use public Wi-Fi and instead use your phone’s cellular data to create a Wi-Fi hotspot. Fraudsters can easily set up a decoy Wi-Fi network containing the name of the “hotel,” “airport,” or other business. Instead, use a personal hotspot which allows you to connect your computer or the device to the hotspot to access the internet. Consider a personal virtual private network (VPN) such as Private Internet Access or CyberGhost to guard against hackers and maintain personal data. Finally, whether traveling or at home, consider keeping your devices in a safe. Certainly, if traveling, put your devices in the hotel safe or carry them with you on your person.
Do not forget to change your Wi-Fi router password. Your router connects your devices to the internet and usually comes with a generic preset password well-known to many. Anyone with knowledge of the default password can lock you out, change settings, access your personal files, use your connection for illegal activity and even introduce viruses for example. Change the administrator username as well if possible. Constantly change your router password (and all passwords). Keep your router firmware up to date, use a firewall on your router, and disable remote access unless you need to administration level access to your router from outside your home. Media Access Controller (MAC) filtering allows users to restrict which devices are allowed on their Wi-Fi networks based on their MAC address so be sure to turn this on for an added layer of protection. Finally, turn your Wi-Fi off when you are not at home to reduce the chance of hackers attempting to break in when you are away.
Maintain a personal computer for finances that is separate from the computer you use to surf the web. Also, have a separate Wi-Fi network for gaming so that if the gaming network is breached the breach is limited to that Wi-Fi network (your gaming network activities only). Your Wi-Fi network you use for your financial affairs or other internet activities remains unscathed by the gaming breach.
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) helps devices in your home discover your network to communicate with its manufacturer for firmware updates. Once your device is set up, consider turning off UPnP on the device and on your router because many household gadgets that use UPnP do not have password protection. Log in to your router’s administration console to get a list of all devices using your network.
Disclaimer: Callan Capital does not provide individual tax or legal advice, nor does it provide financing services. Clients should review planned financial transactions and wealth transfer strategies with their own tax and legal advisors. Callan Capital outsources to lending and financial institutions that directly provide our clients with, securities-based financing, residential and commercial financing and cash management services. For more information, please refer to our most recent Form ADV Part 2A which may be found at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov.