Cybersecurity for Trust Accounting
Monitor your trust account dailyCheck your account regularly to make sure all transactions posted are ones you authorized. Report any fraudulent or suspicious activity immediately.
Create a strong passwordCreate a strong password for your online bank account. It should incorporate lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and even symbols where allowed. Don’t stop there, though; change the password regularly, and don’t use that same password for any other website or app. You can use a password manager to help you securely generate, store, update and remember a unique password for your online banking account.
Enable two-factor authenticationMany major banks offer an extra layer of security known as two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect account holders. Two-factor authentication requires you to enter an extra verification credential before you can access your account. Anytime someone tries to log-in to your account, the bank will send you a text or email with a unique code that must be entered into the bank’s website along with your username and password. In most cases, 2FA is a free and easy security measure that helps prevent costly identity theft.
Protect your computerUsing an anti-malware program may seem like a no-brainer, but plenty of computers are currently unprotected. Anti-virus software is an excellent safeguard for your computer. A good program will screen your emails, browsers and even pop-up ads to block viruses, malware and drive-by downloads. Don’t forget to keep the software updated to protect against new strains of viruses.
Keep your system up-to-dateNever skip those periodic updates to install the latest edition of your operating system, even if it feels time-consuming or troublesome. These updates include valuable security upgrades that prevent infection by most known malware. Updating your operating system will generally require a restart, but most platforms make the process simple and straightforward.
Do not send personal information via emailYou may receive email updates or alerts from your bank. Don’t click on the links in these emails to access your online banking account. Log into your account manually. This way you can ensure that you are accessing a secure website. Phishing emails will have links that send the user to a malicious version of the bank’s website. Most of these sites are designed to steal your username and password. If an email looks and sounds important, call the bank to ascertain its veracity. Ignore emails that request you to provide your username and password. Keep in mind that banks never ask for such information via emails.
Access your accounts from a secure locationAvoid accessing your bank accounts through public Wi-Fi networks such as hotels, internet cafes or public libraries. Though public Wi-Fi networks are easily accessible, you can’t trust their security. These Wi-Fi networks are often not encrypted, making it easier for hackers to steal information from unsuspecting users. To mitigate this weakness, never log-in to your bank over a public network. Save any financial transactions for browsing at home or the office when you can use your private network. Or use the cellular-data connection provided by your smartphone or your own mobile hotspot. Alternatively, you can subscribe to a VPN service (virtual private network) that creates a secure tunnel through all Wi-Fi hotspots.
Check for encryptionEncrypted sites, which convert data into unreadable gibberish before sending it, keep your private information safe online. Your bank’s website should already be encrypted, although you can double-check by looking for a padlock symbol in your web address bar and the letters “https” at the beginning of the web address. There are also HTTPS browser extensions you can download that will automatically encrypt your web data if the website offers it.
VIEWS AND CONCLUSIONS EXPRESSED IN ARTICLES HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHORS AND NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF FLORIDA BAR STAFF, OFFICIALS, OR BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FLORIDA BAR.