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Cyber Security Best Practices

This week I invited a good friend and fellow advisor Trevore Meyer from Presence Financial to write Fident Friday’s first ever guest post.  I turn to Trevore on a regular basis for all things tech related, and he’s helped me personally with not just technology, but online security best practices as well.  Here’s a few words from him regarding online security/fraud.  Disclosure: we go over the typical 250 word-cap here.  

What’s the best way to protect my financial data from getting hacked? 
While it’s nearly impossible for you to fully lock down your data, as you don’t always control it, you can actively monitor on a regular basis to ensure it is not being abused in anyway. Set aside some time each month/quarter to review your statements and other reports looking for irregularities.
 
What’s all the fuss about two-factor authentication? 
Apart from the fact that it’s amazing?! Two factor authentication (2FA) is very useful as it adds another layer of security on top of your existing username and password combo. By setting it up wherever you can (check your profile settings and security pages), it is yet another block for someone to have to try and bypass.
 
What’s the best type of password? 
The one that you use! We all know that passwords like “password123” and “goeagles18” [editor’s note: or "SteelersHave6] are not good passwords. The struggle is trying to remember them all but keep it secure. Sticky notes and unlocked excel spreadsheets ARE NOT SECURE! Two things I often recommend here: (1) consider using an algorithm in creating your passwords, and better yet, use a password manager, like LastPass, 1Password, or DashLane. Each of these apps will create and store passwords for you securely, then auto-fill them into your various websites for you. The security trick is to make sure that you have a STRONG master password and change that frequently.
 
How can I make my router more secure? 
Is your home wifi router still setup with the settings from when it was originally installed? You’re not alone! Believe it or not, you can actually log into your router and make changes to the security settings here. 

One of the changes I like doing is to first create a Guest network for anyone who comes to visit can access. This allows your guest to use internet the same way as any other device, but prevents it from seeing your other devices within your network like your computer, Amazon Echo, or even your smart toaster. 

The other change is that you could prevent any new devices from being authorized on your network by using MAC filtering. Each internet device has its own unique MAC ID. If you only allow certain ones, it’s creates safety barrier from another unknown one to access your network.

The final change is simply to stop broadcasting your network. This is called security by obscurity and means that unless someone knows the name of your network, they’ll have a much harder time accessing it.


Thanks, Trevore! 
Interesting Resources 

1. Wall St Journal - The High Financial Price of Our Short Attention Spans 
Fascinating article that unpacks how some technology, notably on our phones or mobile devices, is negatively impacting our financial decision making.  From multi-tasking to bad-timing during the day, from reviewing most relevant vs most available information, and seeing the trees vs the forest - our phones’ smaller physical screen and constant connectivity leads to poorer decisions.  The article also mentions a study done in Israel that found that when retirement plan providers were prohibited from displaying investment returns shorter than 12 months for different funds, participants made better decisions.  

Also a bonus quote I fully plan on using during market volatility (like now!): Your biggest mistakes will come from overreacting to the latest stock swings, not underreacting.  



2. A Wealth of Common Sense - When Stocks Fell 10%
The US stock market is right on the cusp of declining 10% from it’s high, commonly called a “correction,” as measured by the broad-based S&P 500.  Ben Carlson, in his usual well-researched ways, gives some historical perspective on what happens after we see a 10% decline.  How much farther will it go?  I don’t know - Ben admits he doesn’t know, and I’d agree with him that no one else knows either for sure.  But since 1928 (which would include the Great Depression), when the market dropped 10% …

44.7% of the time it didn’t fall any further than 15%
12.8% of the time it didn’t fall any further than 20%
17.0% of the time they fell between 20% and 30%
10.6% of the time they fell between 30% and 40%
8.5% of the time they fell between 50% and 50%
6.5% they fell more than 50%

I don’t know what happens next - but it’s always helpful to frame current events within a historical perspective.  
Thanks so much for all the sharing last week on our celebrations - we’ve all got a ton of things to celebrate!  Was very cool to read all the replies.  This week, if you’re feeling nervous about the market - please don’t ever hesitate to reach out.  I won’t throw emotionless facts and figures at you, I’ll listen and we’ll talk through what you’ve got on your mind and heart.  

Gratefully,
Jeremy
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