Shielding Your Finances: A Comprehensive Guide to Cybersecurity

It wouldn’t be a newsletter without a cyber security update!

As you know, at MiQ we take your privacy and information protection very seriously and consequently are continually evaluating our cyber security. But it is not just action from us that is required.  Each party we interact with, including every individual client, needs to take appropriate steps to minimise cyber risk and maintain financial well-being.

1 Understand the threat landscape

Begin by developing an understanding of the various cyber threats that exist, such as phishing attacks, malware, ransomware, and other tactics cybercriminals employ to gain unauthorised access to personal information. Awareness is the first step!

2 Implement strong password practices

Passwords are your frontline defence, so ensure all your financial accounts are protected by strong, unique passwords. Incorporate a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and avoid using easily guessable information, such as birthdays or names. It is also important to regularly update passwords, or even better to use a reputable password manager to keep track of complex combinations securely. 

3 Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

This is a must-do whenever it is available and will eliminate most potential hacks. Two-factor authentication (2FA), or Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your mobile device, in addition to your password.  

4 Keep software and systems updated

Regularly update your operating systems, software, and applications on all your devices. Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to launch attacks. By staying current with updates, you ensure your systems are equipped with the latest security patches, reducing the risk of exploitation.

5 Be cautious of phishing attempts

Phishing emails and messages are common methods used to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information. Be very sceptical of unsolicited emails, especially those requesting personal or financial information. Verify the legitimacy of the sender and never click on suspicious links.

6 Secure your devices

Protect all your devices with robust security measures, including antivirus software and firewalls. Implement encryption for sensitive data, both in transit and at rest so if your device is lost or stolen, or messages accessed by unauthorised parties, it will be difficult for them to take advantage. This is also why we strongly encourage you to use the XPlan client portal for accessing and uploading information and documents, rather than emailing or mailing.

7 Regularly monitor financial statements

Frequently review your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorised or suspicious transactions. If you notice any discrepancies, report them to the financial institution immediately, and let your financial adviser know as well. Timely monitoring can help detect and mitigate potential threats before they escalate. 

8 Use secure Wi-Fi connections

Avoid conducting financial transactions or accessing sensitive information over public Wi-Fi networks. Public networks are often less secure and can expose your data to potential risks. When working with financial information, use a secure and private Wi-Fi connection. 

9 Develop a response plan

Despite the best precautions, security incidents still occur. Develop a comprehensive response plan outlining the steps you will take in the event of a security breach. This proactive approach ensures you can quickly and effectively mitigate the impact of a cyber incident. As part of your plan, please ensure you make us aware of any hacks you experience so that we can even more actively keep an eye on your finances.

By incorporating these cybersecurity practices into your financial planning approach, making use of the XPlan client portal, and always checking via phone for any transactions you are making, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber threats.