Cyber Security: Part Two

This is my second blog on cyber security. It’s important to remember that it CAN happen to you and that anyone who uses the internet for any type of personal or financial business is subject to hackers.

  1. DO keep your software up to date. Software companies constantly improve and update against security threats.


  1. DO use good password management:
  • Use long passwords – 20 characters or more is recommended (use a variety of capital letters, symbols and numbers)
  • Use a strong mix of characters, and never use the same password for multiple sites
  • Update your passwords periodically, at least once every 6 months (90 days is better)


  1. Be careful what you click! Avoid visiting unknown sites (clicking on ads or pop ups) and never download software from untrusted sources.


  1. Protect your sensitive data; DON’T keep social security numbers, credit card information, bank passwords or account numbers on your mobile devices or devices you use on public networks.


  1. Install and use anti-virus software from trusted sources.


  1. Back up your data to an external hard drive (best) or trusted cloud services.


  1. Monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.


  1. Be careful about what you share on social media sites.

Identity Theft: How to be on the Lookout

Hopefully, your bank and credit card companies have a system in place to alert you about possible fraudulent charges on your accounts. However, there are other warning signs that you may be a victim of identity theft including:

  • Credit card or telephone bills do not arrive when you generally expect them
  • Replacement cards have not been received prior to the expiration dates on existing cards
  • Calls from creditors or potential creditors about suspicious accounts. Beware of phone or email solicitations asking you for information about your accounts as well. These can be well disguised inquiries and look very official. When in doubt call your bank or creditors directly (use a number you have on file, not one provided to you in the email, etc.)
  • Check your credit report occasionally and look for information on the report regarding accounts you never opened
  • Unauthorized withdrawals from your account(s)

If you are a victim of identity theft you will have a number of steps you will need to take and you have certain rights afforded you by law. Our office has a complete checklist we are happy to provide to you including phone numbers and other important contact information (you can also download it here: This checklist also provides sample letters you can use to report fraudulent account activity).