A Webinar in Review: Cyber Security and How to Keep Your Information Safe

Contributed by: Clare Lilek Clare Lilek

As more and more of our personal information makes its way onto the web or into our devices, cyber security is a growing concern. Did you know that there are 12 victims of cybercrime per second?! That’s over 1 million victims per day, and 378 million per year! The numbers are staggering and the threat is all too real. That’s why Nick Defenthaler, CFP®, hosted a webinar on cyber security with guest presenter Andy Zopler to help us combat these prevalent fears. Andy Zopler, Chief IT Security Officer with Raymond James, has been doing IT work for over three decades and has been focusing on the financial services for the past 15 years. Over an hour’s time, he explained the growing epidemic of cyber fraud and not only told us how Raymond James combats such attacks, but also gave the attendees tips for practicing cyber safety in their daily lives.

Let’s set the scene: we are currently living the second technology revolution (the first being the industrial revolution). The advancements and growing pervasiveness throughout society has made technology extremely influential in how we live our lives. The technology explosion has changed the way we interact with and conduct our finances, and how criminals can access our personal, financial information. Andy Zopler addressed these concerns by first identifying the threat actors.

Knowing who the threat actors, or bad guys, are is crucial to understanding our own fear and the reality of what type of attacks are most likely to be perpetrated. Andy talked about how external factors such as criminals, spies, and hacktivists are what make up most of our concerns. Of course there are also insider and partner threat actors as well; but of the five mentioned, criminal threat actors are the most common concern. Criminal threat actors want your money, which makes them scary, but also, quite predictable. Raymond James screens about 1.5 million spam and fraudulent emails every day that are sent to their financial advisors across the United States.

The sheer amount of attempts can be worrisome, but Andy explained how Raymond James defends the company and its financial advisors (including The Center) every day. The strategy includes:

  • Protect – using creative solutions to stop attacks from happening.
  • Detect – assume that all protections will fail, so remain vigilant for fraud.
  • Develop – invest in the training employees to cultivate the highest talent.
  • Partner – Raymond James only partners with trusted and well vetted third party vendors.

This is all done at the Raymond James Cyber Threat Center, which is a key component to the cyber security strategy. Andy then explained to all attendees the different layers of defensive measures Raymond James uses to protect financial information.

Finally, Andy gave concrete actions and best practices that all of us can use individually to keep our sensitive and private information safe and out of the hands of criminals. Those tips include:

  • Secure your computers (with Antivirus, firewalls, and software updates).
  • Restrict your browsing behavior.
  • Strongly encrypt the files on your PC.
  • Change your passwords frequently and don’t share passwords among sites. When saving passwords, it’s best to use an application on your phone or put it on a piece of paper – don’t save it as a word file on your computer! Also, when possible, opt for “two factor authorization.”
  • Use multiple personal emails.
  • Use a separate computer for online banking.
  • Insist on having verbal/phone confirmation for “high risk” transactions.
  • Back up your data! On a hard drive or in a secure cloud.

Raymond James and everyone here at The Center work diligently to protect your financial information and to stop fraud and cybercrime from affecting clients. We encourage you to watch the video and rethink your own personal practices. Don’t be one of the victims of cybercrime, instead invest in your cyber security just as you invest in your future.

Clare Lilek is a Challenge Detroit Fellow / Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.

This material is being provided for information purposes only. Any opinions are those of Clare Lilek and not necessarily those of Raymond James.