As enterprises and individuals transition to conducting business online, both are confronted with new security challenges and risks. Rather than shy away from these technologies due to fears of insecurity or fraud, it is important to recognize that there are also many risks associated with older methods of business communication, such as mailing important documents and initiating transactions by phone. The difference here is primarily one of familiarity and education.
An awareness of the risks presented by new technologies and some education and implementation of various security safeguards can ultimately render the online experience safer than traditional alternatives. The following are a few examples of some security precautions to consider for anyone conducting business online.
A hacked e-mail account is one of the most common mediums used to steal personal information and initiate unauthorized transactions, but steps can be taken to greatly minimize this risk. Changing one’s e-mail password regularly and not using inboxes to store financial information and documents are two simple precautions one can take.
Other common ploys used to lure unsuspecting victims into surrendering sensitive personal information are phishing e-mails, pop-ups, or websites. These pages or e-mails pose as legitimate messages from a financial or other institution, and ask for account verification or personally identifiable information. To avoid these scams, never click on e-mail links requesting such information. Contact the financial institution instead, or visit the website directly by manually entering the site URL. Beware of website pop-ups, and always double check page URLs when entering personal information to ensure that the site is legitimate.
Lost or unattended mobile devices present the possibility of identity theft and account compromise, but simple safeguards can be applied to mitigate these risks. Most devices can easily be locked with a passkey, and many apps containing financial information can be set to require a user name and password each time they are accessed.
Personal computers and the information stored on them can also be vulnerable to hackers if not secured by some kind of antivirus software. Malicious websites and e-mails often require just a single click to download and install a key-logging program (tracking your activity) or other virus, but a reputable antivirus software can often prevent the installation, or at least remove such programs before they become too much of a threat.
At Brighton Jones, we strive to stay at the forefront of technological innovations that can improve our standard of client service. At the same time, we recognize that new systems demand the implementation of new security safeguards, not only by us as a firm, but by our clients as well. Rather than reject new technologies due to the risks they entail, we urge our clients to join us in making an