Financial security is something that every modern person needs to have on their mind at all times when operating in the modern market. And yet, it’s a skill that gets underestimated by many, especially those that are still fresh to the field and have the naïve feeling that they already know everything they need to know in order to be successful. The truth is that potential threats lurk around every corner, and new ones keep coming out all the time, requiring you to stay vigilant and pay attention to the way things are developing. Even if you’re the kind of person who likes to stay informed about security issues and similar trends, you never know when you might get hit by something completely new and unknown.
Simple Security Practices
There are some simple things that everyone should be doing to keep their accounts safe, and it doesn’t take much to get started with these practices. For example, don’t reuse passwords between any accounts. If one gets compromised, this can bring down all your other accounts with it as well. The implications of this are hard to overstate. Also, pay attention to who you’re talking to online. Even when you think that the messages are coming from a verified source, the reality might be a bit different. More on that in detail below. Try to keep all software you’re using up to date as well. Sure, this can be annoying, and it can eat into your time if you don’t plan ahead for it – but it’s also one of the fundamental steps towards keeping all of your accounts properly secured.
Sensible Device Use
Smartphones are great, and they can add a lot to your ability to work with your money. But at the same time, they can also introduce lots of potential problems into the mix if you’re not careful. What we mentioned above about keeping your software up to date also applies to hardware, and gadgets like a smartphone can be a prime target for attackers if you’re not careful. Be wary of where you’re plugging in your phone to charge as well. A popular modern trick is to leave freely hanging charging cables in public locations. While it can seem like a nice gesture, what you don’t realize is that the cable doesn’t end up in a wall socket – rather, it goes into a computer, which is loaded with software that will attempt to break through your phone’s defences as soon as you’ve plugged it in, and will try to extract as much data as it possibly can.
Learn About Social Engineering
Social engineering is another big trend that’s gaining a lot of prominence these days, and it’s important to keep it in mind and be on the lookout for warning signs. The basic idea is that you’re being misled into doing something that you normally wouldn’t – like providing a random stranger with your credentials for your online banking. If it sounds like something you don’t think you can ever do, then you’re being foolish about this. There are all sorts of approaches that can be used to get you to divulge this kind of information. For example, people might pretend to be known contacts in urgent need of assistance. They might even use compromised, otherwise legitimate accounts for that! So if you get a message from an old friend telling you they’re stuck overseas and have been robbed, pay close attention to the small details before you jump to helping them. That message might not be coming from the person you think it is.
Be Careful with New Accounts
We often find ourselves opening all kinds of new accounts these days, for various reasons. Even when you want to take out a loan without a guarantor, you might still have to provide enough information to create a new account for you. This can seem harmless enough on its own, but it can be a problem in the long run if you’re not careful. All of those accounts can be a nightmare to manage efficiently as their number keeps growing, and sooner or later you might find yourself at a point where you’re getting compromised simply because you are unable to keep all your accounts in check properly.
One of the biggest mistakes you could make with your personal finances is to rush into decisions. This can be very damaging in multiple ways, especially when we factor in things like social engineering like we described above. In many cases, attackers actually want you to rush, and they are counting on your carelessness to get their job done. With that in mind, your best defence is simply often paying more attention, and ensuring that you have the big picture in mind at every step. If something feels too shady, don’t be afraid to back off. You often don’t lose anything from doing that, and you can only gain something – the knowledge that you’re keeping your accounts safe.