These days it seems as though we are hearing about large companies being hacked almost every month. The companies that are supposed to be the most secure and have all the possible software and protection behind them; so, if they're getting hacked what chance to the rest of us have?
Turns out, you have a lot more power to protect yourself than you might think. Many news outlets and websites are now offering a lot of free advice on how to protect yourself (and your clients) in this new digital age. We've rounded up a few of our favorite tips and want to share them with you.
First and foremost, protecting your email account and other online accounts safe requires strong, unique passwords. We know this can be a painful (and forgetful) process but we recommend finding a sort of theme and altering each password around the theme to help simplify things. Along the same lines, avoid doing anything personal on a public wi-fi connection! Additionally, always think twice before clicking any bare links in emails, and on social media, that you don't know or immediately recognize.
In real estate specifically, wire fraud has taken center-stage and most often it starts with "phishing." Phishing "can take the form of email messages, website forms or phone calls to fraudulently obtain private information. Through seemingly harmless communication, criminals trick users into inputting their information or clicking a link that allows hackers to steal login and password information." Always remember that email is not a secure way of sending money or financial information! With many of these phishing scams your money is gone in minutes and you cannot get it back.
When you're online, be sure to always use secure web browsers. You can tell if the site you're on is secure because it will say "Secure" with a little lock symbol next to the URL of the website. The URL should also start with HTTPS instead of just HTTP. Also, any banking apps or money-based and personal information based apps you use should have a "two-step authentication" option. This means you'll be asked to receive a text, phone call, or email with a confirmation code after you put in your password. It's an extra step but can definitely make a difference in securing your sensitive information.
One last piece of advice we'd like to share is that you should keep your operating systems and security systems up to date. Hackers tend to have an easier time attacking out-of-date programs because it gives them more time to find ways into the system.