Cyber Security Threats &
How to Combat Them
Cyber criminals represent a growing threat to your personal identification data and your money. In 2016 more than 1.1 billion identities were exposed through various hacking events around the globe (ISTR 2017 report). At MVT, we have robust cyber-security policies and procedures and defenses in place to protect your data. It is very important that you also take steps to keep your data and money safe.
On 9/7/2017, Equifax credit bureau reported that hackers penetrated their system and gained access to personal data on 143 million individuals. Data included name, address, social security, drivers license, credit accounts and more. This data is enough to allow criminals to try to gain unauthorized access to victims’ money or to open fraudulent credit accounts in their names. Equifax will offer complimentary ID theft protection and
Types of Cyber Attacks
Cyber criminals use many methods to gather private information. Here are a few:
: criminals send messages that appear trustworthy to ask for your personal information. This may arrive via email or phone call. Do not provide requested data if you have not verified the requestor.
Email take over
: criminals gain control of your email or social media communications and use that to pose as you.
Malware and bots
: malicious software is embedded in email or websites to damage your device and steal your data.
: criminals obtain passwords and user names and try to use those on multiple sites, hoping the victim uses the same login information.
: software takes over your device until you deliver a payment.
These types of cyber attacks have been successful against billions of people around the world, as well as government agencies, businesses, social media websites, and schools. Cyber criminals are extremely persistent and constantly look for vulnerable servers and mobile devices.
What can you do?
To protect yourself from cyber crime a few simple procedures will help:
Control your devices:
always secure your PC, tablet, smart phone and have methods to disable those if lost. Lost devices are the most common way that personal data is stolen.
: use password management apps and do not use common phrases in your login credentials (password123, abcdef, your name address or birthday, etc.). Use two factor login to verify your credentials. Use unique credentials for each site. A password of 4 characters might resist a hacker for 10 seconds. A password of 12 characters including non-sequential numbers, letters and symbols might resist a hacker for 300 years.
Avoid suspicious emails
: do not reply to suspicious emails, open attachments or click on links or pop-ups from an unknown source.
: worth the cost to protect your devices. Symantec, McAfee, Webroot, Kaspersky, Bitdefender and Avast are a few popular and effective protection apps. Update patches for the operating system on your devices regularly.
Avoid public access
: do not use public computers or free wi-fi if you are going to access any websites with sensitive data (banks, medical, investment accounts, etc.). Use virtual private network apps (VPNs) and/or strong firewall settings to access the internet.
: do not send attachments containing sensitive data unless encrypted. We use SmartVault to exchange encrypted documents with our clients.
Review account statements
: always review your bank, utility, credit card, investment statements upon receipt for any unauthorized activities. Report such activities immediately to the institution and in case of financial loss to the police. You are entitled to one free credit report every year through each Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
Check your status
: if your email has been pwned (exposed on a breached site)
will let you know.
These precautions will help to secure your personal information but will not guarantee that hackers cannot gain your data. If we receive any suspicious message purportedly from a client, we will call to speak with you in person. If you see any suspicious activity involving your investment accounts or MVT communications, please call our office to let us know.
Dwight Ower I.A.C.C.P.
Chief Compliance Officer