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  • Frank Byrd, CFA

Frustrate a Hacker

"If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.” ― Kahlil Gabran


We recently learned something important from a cyber security expert. Below, we share some practical tips you can implement quickly and simply. If you're like me, all the news coverage over cyber security induces far more anxiety than bumpy stock markets. Every day I'm reminded that some Russian cyberpunk may be hacking my bank account. Every day I'm reminded that there's a list of 20 confusing, time-consuming "best practices" that I'm supposed to employ to protect myself. No wonder we're all a bit dazed and confused when it comes to cyber security. We're comfortably numb. That's dangerous. Cyber security expert Ranulf Green visited Fielder's office recently to share some thoughts. We asked him a simple question: "How would you advise your own mother to protect herself?" You can hear his full answer in our podcast interview HERE:

Start with a digital cleanse. That's the first thing we learned. Basically, it reboots your online security. We strongly urge you to do this now:

  1. Create a brand new email address. (Use something other than your name in the address. For example:

  2. Store the password for this new email account in your head (or somewhere just as safe) -- never on your hard-drive, like in a Word document. That's bad.

  3. Log into each of your sensitive accounts (such as your bank, Schwab, Apple, and your mobile phone carrier).

  4. Change the email address of record for each of these sensitive accounts to your new email address.

  5. While you're at it, change the passwords to each of these accounts. Be sure that each account gets its own UNIQUE password with 12+ characters.

  6. Store these new passwords in a password manager (such as LastPass) - never on your hard drive.

  7. Treat this new email address as sacred. Use it only for sensitive accounts. Never share it with the random retailer that asks for an email address. Give them your old email.

  8. Take a deep breath. Enjoy the peace of mind.

This cleanse is just a start. It is not a panacea. Here are other MUST DO's that Ranulf urges:

  • Create complicated, unique passwords and store them in a password manager (such as LastPass).

  • Enable Dual-Factor Authentication (DFA) for all sensitive accounts.

  • Be on guard for “phishing” emails. They are getting craftier. Beware also of phishing texts and even phishing phone calls ("Hi, this is Microsoft calling").

  • Install malware and virus software.

  • Keep all software up to date. Set your operating system to auto-update on both your PC and mobile device.

  • Don’t buy non-brand name peripherals (like security cameras, printers, etc.).

Given all the high-profile data breaches, you should assume that a criminal can purchase a complete dossier on you. This could include your social security number, your email address and password, your mother's maiden name, the name of your first pet, and other information routinely used to guard your most sensitive accounts. This is why you need to do the cleanse above. You should also invest the time to read our guide "Protecting Your Identity, Data, and Assets" which you can read HERE. At Fielder Capital, we are committed to helping our clients better protect one of their most important assets: their sensitive personal and financial information. Let us know if we can help. Yours in the Field,

Frank Byrd, CFA

Disclaimer: While the information presented herein is believed to be accurate, Fielder Capital Group LLC (Fielder) makes no express warranty as to the completeness or accuracy, nor can it accept responsibility for errors appearing in the document. Fielder is under no obligation to notify you of any errors discovered later or of any subsequent changes in opinions. Nothing herein should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any of these securities. It should not be assumed that any of the securities, transactions, or holdings discussed will prove to be profitable in the future or that investment recommendations or decisions Fielder makes in the future will be profitable or will equal the investment performance of the securities discussed herein. Fielder or its employees may have an economic interest in securities mentioned herein.

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