Basic internet safety practices reminders

Eric Mikkelson |

The recent international, internet ransomware attack has prompted us to review some basic internet safety practices:

• Never click on links, read emails or open attachments from people you don’t know or companies you don’t do business with.

• Use strong passwords – really! A combination of letters, symbols and numbers, preferably at least 12 digits in length is strongly recommended. Try a phrase, substituting numbers and symbols for letters, such as “Spr1ngh@ssprung” (spring has sprung).

• Confirm your antivirus and third party software applications are up-to-date.

• When reading emails and looking at websites, scrutinize them carefully. Misspellings or poor grammar can be a strong sign of fraud.

• When doing business on-line, look at each website’s address. Secure websites should have the lock symbol next to their URL (address), or the letters https (instead of merely http) at the beginning of the address. Both the lock and the letter “s” indicate the site has been verified as secure.

• Legitimate retailers, banks, and social media sites never ask for your personal information via email.

• Do not reply to any message, electronic or otherwise, that requests your personal information. Consider reporting it to your email service provider.

• Back up your computer files.

Hopefully you will never have to deal with ransomware or any form of cyberattack. But rather than just hope, take steps to secure your computer, your identity and your finances. As financial advisors, our goal is to make sure our clients reach their goals in life – something that can only be done if your finances are kept safe. As always, if you have any questions about your financial security, we’re here to talk with you.