Cybersecurity Response: System Upgrade

Global Asset Management has released a memo from their head of cybersecurity detailing a rise in recent online scams and fraud activity. As a response to this alert, the wealth management company would like to remind their clients and members of the international investment community to remain vigilant in the protection of assets, data, and all personal information.

Another key response to this cybersecurity response is to reinforce the importance of upgrading all user systems regularly. The primary focus of this alert is thus to remind investors to ensure system upgrades are maintained or instituted immediately for increased online safety.

Relevant system upgrades for increased cybersecurity spans both hardware and software upgrades. If your hardware or software is outdated it can unnecessarily expose your personal finances or business transactions to cybersecurity threats like viruses, ransomware attacks, scams, and fraudulent activity.

All computer hardware does come with inbuilt security. However, in some instances, the life of your computer or other IT equipment can outlast these integral defense mechanisms. Boosting existing hardware with the addition of new technologies and ensuring software is updated regularly can provide a good online security buffer. But if your hardware is over ten years old, it may not be possible to enhance it enough with patches to provide enough security coverage. You may need to purchase new equipment. Ensuring all computer hardware is renewed and replaced regularly with up-to-date equipment can help retain the continuing integrity of built-in cybersecurity resources. An additional perk of upgrading your systems is that the lifespan of your computer equipment can increase, and it may operate more efficiently.

Hardware Upgrades

Upgrading your hardware regularly will help to protect you from cybersecurity threats like scams and online fraud. If you do not want to upgrade all of your equipment, prioritizing routers and modems in the renewal processes can help.

You may use either two separate devices or a combined router/modem unit. To set up a secure router/modem network connection, there are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  • If you are installing a new router/modem, make sure to change the generic network password issued by the manufacturer. Choose a confidential and secure password that is difficult to guess.
  • If possible, also change the default administrator username to a private username that you keep secret.
  • Make sure you disable any remote management functions. You should be able to do this in the settings.
  • Enable “guest” Wi-Fi network features for other users so you never need to share your Wi-Fi username or password. Even if you trust the other user, you do not know what security safeguards they have installed on their laptop or other device/s.

Upgrade your Internet Connection.

There are several things you can do to upgrade the security of your internet connection. Avoid using public Wi-Fi. And use only private Wi-Fi settings for sensitive communications or any financial transactions.

To bulletproof your wireless connections, use the best encryption protocol possible.

Currently, WPA2 is the most secure encryption available. On your router, check that the device settings are set to WPA2.

If your router/modem is too old, WPA2 may not be available. This means the latest firmware upgrades will also not be available for your router/modem, and this can leave you more open to cybersecurity threats. If this is the case, you will need to replace your existing router with a more modern version for adequate security coverage. Upgrading to a current router model does bring significant other benefits like additional features, advanced configuration options, and faster data transfer speeds which all help increase security.

Software Upgrades

Keep your operating system and applications up to date to protect yourself from potential cybersecurity threats. This includes upgrading operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and any security or antivirus software. Ensure browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari are updated regularly. You may also wish to clear caches and cookies intermittently to maintain a clean browsing history. Web plugins including Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Skype, Zoom, Apple QuickTime, iTunes, Java, and ActiveX also need to be updated regularly.

Key things to remember when updating your software is to

  • Install new software updates as soon as they are available.
  • Check that your settings are turned on for auto-updates.
  • Schedule regular auto-updates.
  • Actively check for and install software updates if auto-updates are unavailable.

As will all security measures, prevention from cybersecurity threats is better than trying to fix damage later. Upgrading your hardware and software regularly and staying informed about new cybersecurity threats is worth the time and effort.

Global Asset Management would like to remind its clients never to share passwords either online or via phone. If you receive any phone calls or emails requesting personal details, please contact your investment advisor immediately.