Andy Zolper, Chief IT Security Officer, Raymond James, provides suggestions for how investors can improve their personal computer security.
Investors increasingly use their personal computers to access and manage their finances, making computer security more important than ever. Follow these simple tips from Andy Zolper, Chief IT Security Officer, to help secure your computer and protect your personal information.
Use two-factor authentication, also called “two-step verification,” for your personal email.
Two-step verification requires both a correct username/password combination and an additional piece of information – such as a code sent to a user’s mobile phone – for account access. Adding this second layer of security to your email account is one of the most effective improvements you can make. See the links below about enabling two-step verification for common email services.
- Enabling Two-Step Verification for Gmail
- Enabling Two-Step Verification for Yahoo Mail
- Enabling Two-Step Verification for Microsoft Free Outlook (Hotmail)
Use two-step verification for your social media sites.
The same authentication process available for your personal email can also be used to secure your social media accounts. See the links below about enabling two-step verification for common social networking sites.
- Enabling Two-Step Verification for LinkedIn
- Enabling Two-Step Verification for Twitter
- Enabling Two-Step Verification for Facebook
Use Enhanced Authentication for Investor Access and any other personal finance sites.
Enable Enhanced Authentication for Investor Access with the following steps:
- Log in to Investor Access from a trusted device
- Select the Account Services tab
- Select the Password & Security sub-tab
- Select the Enable button under “Change Your Enhanced Authentication”
Check your computer security system.
Ensure that antivirus software is installed and up to date, the operating system and browser are patched with auto-update enabled, and personal firewall protection is turned on.
Select secure passwords.
Choosing strong/complicated passwords is important (8-12 characters; include a special character), but even more important is to never share passwords among sites. Username/password combinations that fall into the wrong hands will often be tried at multiple locations.
Use a password manager application to keep track of (and protect) your different passwords.
Don’t keep a document on your computer listing passwords, bank accounts, Social Security numbers, or other personal information – this is the first thing hackers will search for. Instead, use a password manager and enable two-step verification for the application you choose.
Back up your personal data.
Whether you suffer a ransomware attack or simply spill coffee on your laptop, if you don’t have a backup of your personal data, you’re in big trouble. Use a Cloud-based service or a local device to back up your files.
Although the thought of protecting yourself against cybercrime can be daunting, these simple measures are a good first step in helping secure your financial assets and personal information.
* Materials prepared by Raymond James for use by its financial advisors.