Today, cyberattacks are a common headline around the world. We are all too familiar with the largest data breaches: Capital One was hacked, compromising 106,000,000 records; Facebook allowed a rouge application to illegally obtain records of 540 million users; and the Equifax leak impacted 143 million people. According to Cisco, ransomware attacks are growing more than 350 percent annually1 and Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that cybercrime damages in general will cost $6 trillion by 2021.2
But the truth is, while attacks on big companies make the news, it’s the private individuals who are most at risk. People like you and me don’t have the same resources as big companies to defend and protect against cyberattacks. By heeding the age-old wisdom that “Knowledge is Power” and by identifying risks, you can take proactive measures to address and respond to these threats. Here are some ways you can recognize and protect yourself against cybercrime attempts:
It’s challenging to differentiate a scam email from a legitimate one; however, most have slight hints of their criminal nature. Here are three tips to help you identify a malicious email and maintain your online security.
1. Watch for companies that ask for your sensitive information via email.
Odds are, if you get an unsolicited email from an organization that provides a link or attachment and asks you to give sensitive information, it’s a scam. Companies will not send you an email asking for passwords, credit card information, credit scores or tax numbers; nor will they send you a link from which you need to log in.
2. Beware of unsolicited attachments.
A legitimate institution won’t randomly send you emails with attachments. Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report identified Microsoft Office file extensions, such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel, as the most commonly used malware files (at 38%).5 Never open attachments from senders you don’t know. If you want to verify validity of the attachments, contact the sender directly to confirm.
3. Make sure links and email addresses match.
Check the sender’s email address by hovering your mouse over the ‘from’ address to make sure no changes have been made. For example, let’s say you see these altered emails: [email protected] and [email protected]. Did you notice the difference?
Also, make sure to double-check URLs. If the link in the text isn’t the same as the URL shown when the cursor hovers over it, that’s a sign you may be taken to a site you don’t want to visit.
There are steps you can take to mitigate the damage if you have been a victim of a cybersecurity breach or other identity theft incident.
At Mercer Advisors, we value the relationship we maintain with our clients. In fact, it’s our most valuable asset. We honor and serve this relationship by maintaining the highest standards of trust and confidence, which includes the safeguarding of client information. We take extraordinary measures to:
1 “Ransomware Lessons for the Financial Services Industry,” Cisco, May 2017.
2 “Cybercrime Damages $6 Trillion by 2021,” Cybercrime Magazine, October 2017.
3 “IBM Security Services 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index,” IBM Global Technology Services, 2014.
4 “Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 23,” Symantec, March 2018.
5 “Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report,” 2/18.
Mercer Advisors Inc. is the parent company of Mercer Global Advisors Inc. and is not involved with investment services. Mercer Global Advisors Inc. (“Mercer Advisors”) is registered as an investment advisor with the SEC. The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements.All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change. Some of the research and ratings shown in this presentation come from third parties that are not affiliated with Mercer Advisors. The information is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed or warranted by Mercer Advisors. Content, research, tools, and stock or option symbols are for educational and illustrative purposes only and do not imply a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell a particular security or to engage in any particular investment strategy. For financial planning advice specific to your circumstances, talk to a qualified professional at Mercer Advisors. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Therefore, no current or prospective client should assume that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy or product made reference to directly or indirectly, will be profitable or equal to past performance levels. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. Changes in investment strategies, contributions or withdrawals may materially alter the performance and results of your portfolio. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will either be suitable or profitable for a client’s investment portfolio. Historical performance results for investment indexes and/or categories, generally do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges or the deduction of an investment-management fee, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results. Economic factors, market conditions, and investment strategies will affect the performance of any portfolio and there are no assurances that it will match or outperform any particular benchmark. This document may contain forward-looking statements including statements regarding our intent, belief or current expectations with respect to market conditions. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. While due care has been used in the preparation of forecast information, actual results may vary in a materially positive or negative manner. Forecasts and hypothetical examples are subject to uncertainty and contingencies outside Mercer Advisors’ control. Mercer Advisors is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice to clients. All estate planning documentation preparation and other legal advice is provided through its affiliation with Advanced Services Law Group, Inc.
You are leaving the Mercer Global Advisors website and will be redirected to the Science of Economic Freedom (SOEF) website. SOEF is brought to you by Mercer Advisors Inc., the parent company of Mercer Global Advisors Inc., and is not involved with investment services. Mercer Global Advisors Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser headquartered in Denver, CO.
The Science of Economic Freedom website should not be construed by any consumer and/or prospective client as Mercer Advisors’ solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, over the Internet. Furthermore, information on the SOEF website should not be construed, in any manner whatsoever, as the receipt of, or a substitute for, personalized individual advice from Mercer Advisors.